Michael Cheika is taking the World Cup day by day but the Wallabies coach says this campaign sits on a larger canvas for Australian rugby.
While the Wallabies have stuck closely to their ‘one day at a time’ mantra, keeping their focus on simply adding to their performances each day and each week, Cheika said this tournament would lay a platform.
It’s been a relatively speedy transition for Australia in real terms since Cheika came on board last November but that they are sitting on the precipice of topping their World Cup pool is indicative of a longer journey that has been rapidly undertaken.
Cheika said the side was appreciative of the distance they’d travelled in less than a year.
“Everyone understands there’s a lot of hard work and a lot of pain to go through on a day to day basis. But we’re so lucky to be here.
“From where we’re coming from 12 months ago, we’re taking nothing for granted.
“I’m not just doing it for now, we’re trying to build a good foundation for our team going forward and the players that play in the team later on.
“You can’t take shortcuts to do that. You’ve got to make tough decisions and work hard, but also enjoy being part of your national team and be proud to represent (your country).”
Asked where a pool win would rank in terms of progress from when he took over, Cheika said it was simply one step in a big picture.
“I just think taking it day by day is good for us,” he said.
“We need to learn more about believing in ourselves.
“The team’s got a long way to go around believing in itself and its capabilities and being consistent so we can transition and lay some good foundations going forward.”
Players like the squad’s youngest in Sean McMahon, starting for the second time this tournament on Saturday, will likely reap the benefits of this view.
For now, the day-by-day approach is firmly fixed on a match with Wales.
“My knowledge of tournament play tells me that the further on it goes the more brutal it gets because the stakes get higher and everyone wants to win more.
“It’s all background to what we’re preparing for on Saturday.