Ashley-Cooper has no doubt around Twickenham test

by Staff Writer

Wallabies vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper will enter Twickenham on Saturday night with no doubt in his mind.

The veteran Wallabies back has already run through almost every Test match scenario, in the side’s last chance to test out the ground before the game, a moment he views as crucial to mentally ready himself.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Friday that Ashley-Cooper’s approach to the captain’s run was such that it had educated him on its importance.

While the final day of preparation is low key physically, Ashley-Cooper said it was up to each individual to use it as psychological preparation before the real thing.

“It’s just a really good opportunity, your last opportunity throughout your prep week to see that match-like intensity and you've got to create that yourself,” he said.

“How you create that is obviously through visualising, going through scenarios that you would be in in a Test match and you do that on the captain’s run day.

“You create that match-like intensity within yourself mentally so it creates no doubt.

“When you get here tomorrow, you’re ready to go. You’ve gone through it all in between the ears and you’re ready.”

The 31-year-old said he backed the side’s leadership to step up against the lesser-experienced England on Saturday night, with almost 300 fewer caps in its line up.

“This week’s been about preparing accordingly, preparing well and the leaders really standing up and leading from example during the week,” he said.

“They want to put their hand up and lead from the front and I think we’ve got enough senior players in this squad to do that.”

Ashley-Cooper will be drawing on all of his three World Cup campaigns when it comes to Twickenham on Saturday, which will rank among the biggest of them all.

“I think to be representing your country against England in that Test match, it’s a very proud moment,” he said.

“We’ve really started to appreciate what it means to represent Australia.

“And just the support we’ve been getting since we got over here, really helps us understand not take the yellow jersey for granted because there are millions of people back home that are counting on us to do them proud and we want to do that.”

Readying themselves for the biggest test of potentially any World Cup pool stage, the team seems far removed from the side that faced England last November and Ashley-Cooper said there was still more growth to be done.

“It’s come a long way, (with) Cheika taking over the reins when we were here last year.

"In that last 12 months we’ve grown a lot, not only on the field but off the field and I think that’s going to help us as we go further down the track in this tournament.”

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