Playing in his third and final Rugby World Cup, Adam Ashley-Cooper is setting his sights on the top prize. The veteran outside back will be making his way to Top 14 French club Bordeaux in 2016, to undertake the next stage of his career.
“I guess being beyond 30 and playing for a while now I guess the number of Tests in the Green and Gold jersey could be slightly numbered now, so this is potentially the last few games I get to play in the Wallaby jersey and it means so much to me.
“It being my last World Cup, I’m hoping to go out certainly a winner.”
Reflecting on the recent Wallabies win over the USA Eagles, Ashley Cooper believes that there’s a lot the team can build on heading into the Rugby World Cup in just over a week.
“I guess for us it’s just being very clinical in our set piece, how important it is to hold onto the ball.
“In that first half the conditions were against us, it was hot and humid which made the ball slippery and our skills weren’t of world class standard, which certainly isn’t us and where we want to go.
“So more than anything just being clinical in our skill with ball in hand and making sure that we’re patient and we’re completing sets, which is so important going over to a World Cup.
With Michael Cheika keeping his starting line-up under wraps, Ashley Cooper believes the team is in a good position ahead of their first match-up against Fiji in Group A.
“I think [Cheika’s] allowed a lot of guys to play in a number of positons, play a lot of football, so he’s got to see a lot to see what certain players are capable of.
“It will be interesting to see what he finally goes with for the first game against Fiji. I think with the turn around you can certainly expect every player in the squad to see some game time within those first two games, Fiji and Uruguay, which will be a really good experience for everyone that’s involved.”
Having experienced some great wins and tough losses from the two previous Rugby World Cups, Ashley Cooper is encouraging his younger teammates to play hard and enjoy the moment.
“I think just looking back, something I could share with the younger guys is that it can be over in a matter of minutes, you’ve really got to remain focused and also just being focused how you go about your daily routine, how you go about preparation and how you go about your job on the field.
“World Cups don’t come along every year, and you might not get another opportunity so you’ve got to really enjoy the atmosphere and what a World Cup’s all about.”
The Wallabies will take on Fiji in their first round match on the 23rd of September at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.