Cheika wants Wallabies to keep smiling

by staff

Many coaches have close to four years to prepare for a World Cup.

Michael Cheika has had less than one to prepare the Wallabies for their World Cup assignment.

The Wallabies coach said there would come a time to analyse on how things had changed since he was appointed to the job but now was not it, with the four-year cycle at its peak.

“There was obviously a few things I felt were necessary (to change),” he said.

“I think we’ll leave that to the reflection piece later on. We’re in the middle of what we’re trying to do.

Cheika said his priority had been to inject enjoyment into Australian rugby for players and fans.

“I think the smile had gone off a lot of the faces of the people involved on both sides of the paddock," he said.

“And number one was just to get ourselves enjoying our work again and get people enjoying watching the rugby again.

“When that happens you’re more likely to do something of better quality.

“So I think we’re enjoying ourselves along the way.”

The Wallabies have certainly been doing that for spectators, with Cheika's attacking style obvious through their Rugby Championship winning run, including an upset over the All Blacks in Sydney, but Cheika said they didn’t read too much into those results.

“It was a good day but one win doesn’t maketh the man,“ he said.

“We made a plan after the spring tour … we sat down and thought about what was required.

“(We’re) trying to feed all those requirements along the way as well as get to here and give it as good a shake as possible.”

The Wallabies’ World Cup pool will be the hardest to crack, with three of the world’s top five sides and another in the top 10 to fight for two knock outs spots, courtesy of a draw done in December 2012 when many teams' rankings were different.

Cheika said the difficulty of the pool meant there would be no wins handed out for free, everything would be a reward for hard work.

“It‘s the World Cup and it’s going to be tough every game and we’re going to have to earn everything we get and that’s certainly something that we want to do.

“We want to earn things, we don’t want to be given anything.”

If Australia’s World Cup lead in has gone under the radar, then Fiji are almost the forgotten team of Pool A.

The Fijians play England in the tournament opener on Saturday morning, Australian time, and back up five days later to face Australia.

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore said the Wallabies would be wary of the island nation, when they meet next Thursday, Australian time.

“I think they’ve played a fair few warm up games and they’ve been really impressive so I would’ve thought they’re coming into the tournament with fair bit of confidence about how they’re playing,” he said.

“They’re a dangerous team and they’re an exciting team to watch.

“They’re a big team physically, so (there are) a hell of a lot of challenges there across the park for us.

Moore conceded England would likely be the favourites to top Pool A as the host nation.