Wallabies to add final World Cup bricks in "City of Ceramics"

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Ebetsu, a town just outside of Sapporo city, is dubbed the "The City of Ceramics" for its production of red bricks through centuries gone.

It was only fitting then, that the Wallabies were officially welcomed into the Rugby World Cup by the town, looking to add the final pieces to four years of building.

That specialty wasn't far removed from the formalities of the ceremony, held in the city's Ceramic Art Centre, with the local mayor gifting the Wallabies a football-shaped ceramic brick.

As part of the ceremony, players and staff were given their World Cup caps and participation medals, with a traditional drum performance to open proceedings.

The Wallabies were treated to a traditional drum performance at the welcome ceremony. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIn an address to the audience, the Wallabies team manager said Ebetsu was the perfect place for the team to add to their preparation "brick by brick".

Building is a term the Wallabies have referred to often this season, and in recent years, and yet another brick will be added this weekend against Fiji.

It was a word veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper when talking about his team's aspirations for the tournament after the ceremony.

"We want to show the Japanese people how we play, how Australians play and being Australian being represented in how we attack and how we defend and how we never give up," he said.

"We've been preparing for a long time now, been building really now, now it's time to start playing.:

Adam Ashley-Cooper speaks to fans outside the Wallabies' official World Cup welcome ceremony. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleySpeaking after the ceremony, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the final two days of training before Saturday's opener against Fiji at the Sapporo Dome.

"I came to Ebetsu last year and looked over the facilities and we see them now, they're excellent indoor training the gym and the condition of the field," he said

"The climate is great for training and what we want to do - we've worked very hard over the last four weeks, we want to have the best two days of preparation here so we can be at our best on Saturday."

Asked his expectations of the Wallabies in the tournament, Cheika said they had two goals.

"I don't expect anything, we are hungry to play our best rugby, we want to do two things," he said.

"To do our best to win the tournament and we also want to show young people in Australia how beautiful rugby game can be and to play rugby in the future."

The Wallabies take on Fiji at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday September 21, kicking off at 1:45pm local, 2:45pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.