McCalman confident in squad mentality

by Staff Writer

Wallabies back rower Ben McCalman says the Wallabies have always had a squad mentality, with training to start on Tuesday ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final.

An eight-day turnaround will be vital for Australia, with two full days’ rest after their gruelling clash with Wales.

With Michael Hooper missing Saturday’s match, the Wallabies’ back row depth got a glimpse of the pressure that their upcoming knock out matches would provide.

The fitness of David Pocock (calf) is likely to be confirmed later this week, along with that of Israel Folau (ankle) and Matt Giteau (ribs).

Ben McCalman came off the bench in the second half and would be a likely replacement for Pocock if he is injured this week.

The back rower said it wouldn’t change his approach to the week, which always comes with a goal of starting.

“I want to play,” he said.

“We prepare every week as though we want to start the game, if not then get the chance to come off the bench or support the boys wherever you are.”

McCalman has played in three of the four World Cup matches, with a starting spot in the Wallabies’ win over Uruguay, and said the side benefitted from everyone having opportunities to play.

“I think Michael Cheika’s shown over the last three to four months that everyone’s going to have game time at some stage and we have at different stages through the competition.

“It’s a seamless transition. Any player goes down and someone can step in and do the job, great to know that.

The Wallabies will welcome vice-captain Hooper back this weekend, a prospect McCalman said he was looking forward to.

“He’s a very energetic player, he runs all day so it will be great to have him back in the side.”

The Wallabies will move from their London base to Teddington on Monday, with their knock our preparations to gear up from Tuesday.

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