Wallabies not satisfied with World Cup final spot

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Michael Cheika says his team won’t be satisfied with just being in the World Cup final.

The Wallabies have a choice to make this week and coach Michael Cheika is confident they will make the right one.

Australia has surprised some with its run to the World Cup final but Cheika said a final spot would not satisfy his team.

When asked whether he would be using the occasion of a final berth to motivate his team, Cheika posed a question.

“That means we came here just happy to be in the final, that’s the thing,” he said.

“If you want to be happy with just (that and say), ‘Yeah okay that’s good,' and we can go home and everyone will pat you on the back and say well done,” he said.

“Or do you want to something different?

“Do you want to go and have something you’ve got for the rest of your life?

“They’re the choices to be made and I know what choice this team will make.”

The Wallabies have maintained a self-acknowledged inward approach to their run through the World Cup so far and Cheika said they felt no need to change that in the final week.

Having played five top 10 sides in their run to the final, Cheika said they simply had to keep their concentration on improving on their semi-final appearance.

“We’ve been pretty much going knock out every week since we got here,” he said.

“We understand we’ve got to play better, that’s part of it.

“What we need to do is make sure when we talk about improving we know how to make that happen.

“It’s not, ‘Oh, we’ve got to improve because it’s a big game,’ .

“If we’re going to improve, it’s how (are we) going to improve in whatever training we do during the week and our preparation.”

While the rivalry between the Wallabies and their Trans-Tasman opponents makes for good fodder with fans, Cheika said that wouldn’t affect it.

“It’s world cup and any match you play and you’re playing for your country, you’re going to be doing your best,” he said.

“It’s for all the supporters and that sort of thing, it’s great for them but for us it’s just about getting our own stuff out.

“We’ve stayed relatively introverted throughout the whole tournament in what we’re doing and I think that’s the only way we can continue to improve if we do that."

Cheika was cautiously optimistic on the fitness of Matt Giteau (groin), Israel Folau (ankle) and Scott Sio (elbow) on Monday, with full training yet to begin.

Folau came off in the 62nd minute after falling awkwardly in a tackle, though Cheika said that sub was planned before the match.

“He actually got caught under a tackle as we were taking him off,” he said.

“We felt that 60 was about his duration with that ankle injury, just the fatigue.

“We thought the way the game was there, they were manoeuvring around the back field a fair bit so we didn’t want him limping around.

“As it turned out it was the right time too because he got caught out of his tackle.”

Sio missed the game against Argentina but Cheika said his condition had improved after a week off.

“I would say he’ll be back on the training paddock this week,” he said.

“We’ll just see how he goes. He’s been running already and he’s got movement back in his elbow.

“We’ll just see how that that applies to some of his specialties like scrummaging and mauling and go from there.”

The Wallabies face New Zealand in the World Cup final on Saturday at Twickenham at 4pm (Sunday 3am AEDT).