Cheika not buying into 'dream draw'

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

When the Wallabies had Georgia and Wales pulled out of their 2019 Rugby World Cup pot on Wednesday night, fans might have been justified in letting a smile out.

Four years after the Wallabies became the ultimate survivors of the 2015 ‘pool of death’, their 2019 rendition looks a far sight different.

Their Japan fixtures will also eventually include an Oceania qualifier likely to be Samoa or Fiji and the second-highest Americas qualifier, most likely to be the USA.

Australia has won its past 12 matches against Wales, as well as wins in the past three World Cups, but have never played Georgia in the tournament.

Wallabies veteran Matt Giteau took to Twitter after the announcement, saying it was a ‘decent draw’ for his former teammates.

Cheika, though, unsurprisingly wasn’t having a bar of suggestions they would have any easy ride into the quarter-finals.

“When you’re standing out there and singing the anthem 0-0 all bets off,” he said.

“The minute you stop thinking like that is the minute you get in the water.”

“That’s how you got to chart a course in tournament play.

“That’s something that’s different in competition, regardless of who the draw is against.  You’ve got to be targeting, have a plan and target the team you put on the paddock plays the absolute best in every game, because that creates what we love to call momentum.”

The top two in Australia’s Pool D will cross over with the top two in Pool C, that includes England, France and Argentina, arguably the toughest group assignment of the tournament.

Australia and England were the final two teams pulled out on Wednesday night, but Cheika said he wasn’t crossing his fingers either way when it came to the final one.

That’s what people would’ve said maybe four years ago at the same time when we got drawn out with wales and england in the same pool but it turns out it was a good formula for us,” he said.

“You’ve got to plan with the lay of the land, those teams you’re playing, know who the crossover teams are, do the homework but at the end of the day, it’s going to be all about how we play,” he said.

“You’ve got to win seven games to get there and you put your best foot forward on all seven occasions.”

Australia will play Wales and Georgia in Japan 2019. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile they haven't played Georgia, Cheika said the improving European nation, that has been pushing for inclusion in Six Nations, would be a threat.

"Australians probably won’t know a lot about them but they’re a team being run by a few Kiwi lads and they’re on the up and up," he said.

"Strong forward play, they’ve got some gas out wide and between now and 2019 we’ll learn a bit more about them.

"The reality is just how big an event the World Cup is and how important it is for us to go one better in 2015."

The biggest heavyweight clash in the World Cup draw was that of New Zealand and South Africa, with the Springboks’ slip to the second band of teams putting them against their arch rivals for the first time.

Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Play-Off Winner

Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage Winner

Pool C: England, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2

Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2