One step at a time towards Grand Slam goal

Mon, Oct 31, 2016, 11:03 AM
by AAP
One year on from the 2015 World Cup Final and the Wallabies have plenty of new faces. The young group is building into the Spring Tour with a the first game against Wales this Saturday in Cardiff.

Michael Cheika is happy for his players to have a big picture goal, but the Wallabies coach is keeping things microcosmic for now.

Wallabies flyhalf Bernard Foley said after the third Bledisloe that the team was optimistic it could pull off its first Grand Slam since 1984 but we was quick to keep the five-Test tour in perspective, in his first media session in London.

“I think that it's very important for players to have dreams of achieving the bigger picture items. I really do, I believe that's important,” he said.

Kane Douglas wants to keep improving. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsleyu“If you don't have those dreams inside of you, then what are you doing it for?

“But the reality is that in a series like this and a tour like this it's only the next day that counts.”

“That's in the background but that will only come to fruition when we're excellent every day and our players are learning.”

While the wider view is the Grand Slam, the panorama is the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with the Wallabies in the midst of a cycle, plenty more of which has left to play out.

Eleven debutants in 2016 was a ‘renovation’ of sorts for the team, but Cheika said it was far from the end of the tweaking.

“I would say over this year and next year...the team will be changing its components, not its identity. The identity will always stay the same," - Cheika

“Those guys will learn how to live that identity and play that style of rugby and then after '18, we'll start consolidating ourselves into a group of what we think's going to take the team forward from there.

“We're looking to win Test matches too and make our country proud when we play the game.

“It’s a super interesting balancing act of trying to do both but [we’re] quite enjoying that challenge.

The Wallabies’ journey took a sharp downward turn in results after the World Cup and Cheika said he hoped fans could see the longer-term objectives.

“I think we play good footy, that's always important too, I do believe that the Australian public understand when you're putting out your best for the country,” he said.

An Australian fan takes an England supporter to task during the second Test at AAMI Park, but we know who had the last laugh. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley“They understand, they see the change and there'll always be detractors and people but that goes with the territory.

“As long as we believe we're doing the right thing and…[we’re] not falsely motivated or not looking for a sideline here or there.

“We're really trying to do the right thing, not just for the short term, but also for the medium term.”

The first leg on the Wallabies’ Grand Slam Spring Tour is against Wales, a team they have beaten in each of their last 11 encounters, though many have gone down to the wire.

The Wallabies take on Wales this Sunday morning, 6 November from 1.30am AEDT on BeIn Sports Channel 513, as part of your FOXTEL subscription.


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