Stephen Moore’s head, or more specifically the top of it, shows everything you need to know about the brutality of the Rugby World Cup.
The Wallabies captain carries the cuts and scars of a rugby career, a bloodied scalp has become a regular appearance.
Moore said the side’s final two pool games had been among the most combative, ahead of what will continue to be a hard-fought knock out series.
“I think the last two games in particular have been really tough test matches,” he said.
“The one on the weekend was a genuine dog fight for the whole time, there wasn’t many points in the game and we really had to fight hard to get field position,” he said.
“These games are really tight and it’s the small margins that are going to be important so that’s important that we prepare that way.”
The intensity is something that the Wallabies had expected and prepared for and Moore said their performances had been a reflection of the discovery of a new identity.
“I think that’s a core of what we’re about as a team and part of what we did as a group was identify what our own identity was as a team and what we wanted to stand for,” he said.
“Just a set of values I suppose or key areas that we wanted to be identified with and people that watched us would be able to resonate with that sort of thing."
A major factor in the Wallabies’ cohesion this World Cup was the meetings during Super Rugby season that sometimes included up to 60 players.
It’s the first time Australia has been so active with their national strategy during the Super Rugby season, with players from competing franchises able to get to know each other.
One of those players who hadn’t been a part of many of those meetings was Matt Giteau, who joined the squad in August from Toulon.
Giteau said the team bond had shone through in that time and improved his own game as well as the team’s, embodied in the hearty defensive effort the Wallabies showed against Wales.
“If you’ve got a really tight team , you’ll go that extra yard, I suppose. You’ll make that extra tackle where normally you might stay down,” he said.
“I think you saw on the weekend the way we defended with 13 men.
“It shows we’re a tight team and we’re happy to work for each other.”