Defeat won't lessen Wallabies long term belief

by staff

Michael Cheika took over the Wallabies just more than a year ago, wanting to re-inject pride into the gold jersey.

it’s been an oft-repeated word of this World Cup and pride is the legacy the Wallabies have wanted to begin to create in this tournament.

Wallabies attack coach Stephen Larkham, the most recent addition to the national coaching staff ahead of the Rugby Championship, said he noticed a change as an external observer when his former Super Rugby combatant took the top job.

The 1999 World Cup-winning flyhalf said he had felt a mixed relationship with the Wallabies from a spectator point of view in recent years.

“I only came on board three months ago (but) prior to that I started to feel a little bit of pride come back into the jersey at the end of last year,” he said.

“I think I probably wavered in my support for the Wallabies as well a little bit (before that).

“Having been a part of this group and seeing what they’ve gone through to get to where they’re at at the moment, I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Larkham said they were disappointed not to be able to deliver their fans, many of whom have begun to rediscover an interest in the 15-man code, the ultimate prize.

“I think a lot of people are getting to be passionate about playing for the Wallabies again,” he said.

“I know the general public are very proud about what the boys have done and we certainly spoke about that before this game tonight but said it wasn’t enough for us.

“I guess Cheik's been involved now for about 12 months and since that time there’s been really clear direction and he’s got a great group of players here that are responding really well to everything that he’s done.”

Cheika has said the World Cup final wasn’t on his radar when he took the reins but always saw a quality in his charges that gave him a contagious belief.

“I know many people didn’t expect us to (make the final) but believing has to start somewhere,” he said.

“One person starts and then (you) get another person believing and another person and you can try and build a bit of a crowd there and when they get together you can build things.

Replacement hooker, Tatafu Polota-Nau said the one thing that needed to be communicated to those outside the inner sanctum would be the significance of the match.

"That’s all we try and do is make sure that, although results may or may not go our way, the fact that we wear the jersey with a huge amount of pride and privilege to represent each and every Australian back home," he said.

"Hopefully they can understand at the end of the day it is just a game but to us it's more than just a game, it’s a way of life."

The 30-year-old said the next move would be one of the most important for the Wallabies.

"I think it was always there, just a matter of different interpretations," he said.

"It's probably how we grab that concept and move on with it.

"Judging from tonight it’ll be no surprise that we, with the amount of talent that we have and the amount of young people that we have a bright future for us."