European energy lifting Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

After a long season, the Wallabies have welcomed the injection of some fresh energy as the Rugby Championship creeps up.

Captain Stephen Moore said the side was already noticing an energy lift with the addition of France-based players Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Will Genia and Quade Cooper, none of whom were around in June.

“I think when we came out of June we identified  a lot of things that we need to improve on or some new ideas that we could put in place and the players that have come back from Europe have already injected some energy,” he said.

“Having Drew Mitchell around you know what he's like, he's good value and he's always upbeat and really positive to have around.

“Those individuals that come back contribute something to the team and you can really feel the impact that's had already.”

The Wallabies blooded five new players in the June Test series and there are four more uncapped in the Rugby Championship squad, but Moore said the return of experience was invaluable.

“It's been noticeable out in the field the extra voice and the experience - it's hard to replicate that,” he said.

“The guys that have come in this year so far and made their debut have done a great job and they'll learn a lot from these players coming back over the next month.

“It's good to see their desire to play for the Wallabies is still very strong and I think they really appreciate coming back after being away outside of Australia, what it's like to come back and be part of the group again.”

Of the Wallabies squad, none has tasted Bledisloe success, with Matt Giteau the closest to a win, debuting in the 2002 Spring Tour.

Moore said the biggest challenge for the Wallabies would be clinching a win in New Zealand, something they will have to do this season with two Bledisloe games across the ditch.

“It comes down to playing well on the day and we've done that reasonably consistently in Australia, we just haven't been able to do it over there,” he said.

“It's playing well on the day and being as well prepared as you can be.

“Both teams will be well prepared and then it comes down to who can go out and execute it under pressure on the day.”