Mental battle will decide semi-finals

by Staff Writer

World Cup semi-finals are physically draining but ultimately decided by the mind, Wallabies lock Rob Simmons says.

With just four teams left vying for the Cup, Simmons said the mental aspect of the game owuld become ever more prevalent. as the numbers whittled down.

“That’s where I suppose the biggest gain this team’s made over the last probably 11 months and in these next couple of weeks, where this game’s going to be won," he said.

“Everyone’s got good players, it’s about getting that side of the game right."

Australia has certainly had plenty of practice in that over the last three weeks, with every game holding high stakes and going down to the final minutes.

Simmons said those situations were things that they had trained for every week and clarity became their friend on game day.

“I think there’s a lot of calmness that comes into it,” he said.

“We’ve done a lot of mental preparation. Whenever we get into a tight spot, everyone knows what their job is.

“They stick to it and they don’t stray from the game plan. We play for the full 80 minutes.”

The Wallabies have a history of getting out of tight binds and Simmons said it came down to preparation.

“Not every game’s going to go your way and you’ve got to work your way out of that,” he said.

“I suppose on the other side of that, maybe we’re getting ourselves into those situations too much.

“We train hard and we try and play hard.

“We get into some sticky situations and we just stick to our game plan and try and get out of it.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika took some responsibility earlier in the week for not getting the mindset right heading into the Scotland game but said that had changed this week.

“I think that there’s a lot of really motivated people involved with everything we’re doing,” he said.

“Not just for what the end prize is but for what we’ve been growing our team around, the things that we’ve wanted to grow our team around and what that means to not just us but to others.

“It’s good in that way because we’re doing it for very good reasons.

“We want to put ourselves out there, take ourselves to the maximum we can for reasons that really mean something for us.”

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