Hanigan, Wallabies unwavering in World Cup winning belief

Tue, 25/09/2018, 08:00 am
Sam Phillips
by Sam Phillips

The Wallabies are still daring to dream of World Cup glory despite some disappointing results this year, says flanker Ned Hanigan.

The Australians slipped to seventh on the official World Rugby rankings after their first loss to Argentina on home soil in 35 years but that hasn't deterred the belief of the coaching staff and playing group.

With their Bledisloe and Rugby Championship hopes dashed already the focus on the World Cup - which is just under one year away - has been narrowed.

While turning their form around and stringing together some wins to finish the year is imperative eyes have now turned to Japan in 2019 and the road to glory on the biggest stage of all starts in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

"We've obviously got a dream of winning the World Cup, it's 100 percent what everyone in the room wants to do," Hanigan said.

"But if you just have that dream and no process about getting there you might lose your pathway.

"We've gone back to - starting yesterday - to nailing our processes and that starts individually.

"Making sure our processes are 100 percent clear in mind to deliver outcomes and get to a stage where we can live out our dream."

On a personal front Hanigan is daring to dream about a place in the starting XV this weekend.

He is the most likely candidate to fill the hole left by Lukhan Tui at No. 6 in what would be his first start since the Wallabies lost to England on last year's Spring Tour.

"I honestly reckon, since I came in here last year, there's not much that hasn't improved. I mean that in the most humble way I can," Hanigan said when asked what he had improved since the England Test.

"You're in an environment where you've got 28, 29, 30 players in the country that are the best at what they do.

"Being in that environment for long enough, you learn so many things about every aspect of your game.

"Those players aren't going to give you the opportunities you get in Super Rugby.

"How they manipulate you around in a phase carry, or what they do in a ruck.

"That all comes with experience and making sure that you keep trying to learn those things because the game keeps developing.

"You keep growing as a player."

While the Australians are dreaming of World Cup glory their opponents this weekend are shooting for the stars as well.

The Boks arguably boast the most upward trajectory of all the contending nations.

The return of the European based stars and the eye of new coach Rassie Erasmus has guided the South Africans to a series victory over England and a win against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Hanigan is expecting the Boks side that lines up this weekend to play more like they did in Nelson than the subpar effort in Brisbane.

"They’ll just do exactly what they did leading into that All Blacks Test," he said.

"Beating that side is a hell of an achievement over there.

"They’ll know their processes leading into that week were right, so they’ll make sure they keep nailing that and we’ve obviously got to make a few changes.

"That started this morning but we’ve got to make sure we pick up little things that they might have done in that game we can counteract."

The Wallabies face the Springboks in Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning AEST, kicking off at 1:05am AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
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