The World Cup omens are good for the Wallabies according to Adam Ashley-Cooper, as he seeks a fairytale ending to a story that started in similar fashion.
Preparing for his third and “last hurrah” at a World Cup, the utility back is bullish about Australia’s prospects in the quadrennial tournament to be played in Britain through September and October.
“This probably will be special for me, it might be the last time I put on the green and gold jersey and it will be my last World Cup,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“With the excitement of the talent and the shape of the squad at the moment, it’s an exciting time for everyone involved, particularly myself.
“If you look at the history and how I’m tracking – it was a quarter-final in 2007, a semi-final in 2011 – it’s going to be a final in 2015.
“Mate, I’m all about the omens, so there you go – you heard it here first.”
Those kind of breezy remarks are typical of the knockabout bloke from the NSW central coast, who has accumulated 108 caps and become an indispensable part of the Wallabies’ backline over the past decade.
The lead-up to his Test debut against the Springboks is Perth in 2005 has become the stuff of legend.
It centres on being yanked from the grandstand and a beer and a pie and being rushed into the match-day squad after Elton Flatley pulled out during the warm-up.
“It’s kind of like that fairytale that every kid dreams of,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“Every kid has had that dream of being at a stadium or watching the Wallabies play and, for some reason, the coach picks him out of the crowd and asks him to play or train with the Wallabies.”
Asked if he ever visualised a dream-ending to his story, Ashley-Cooper said “there you go, I think it started with a fairytale. It’s going to end with a fairytale.”
Before the World Cup, Australia play the United States next weekend in Chicago.
Ashley-Cooper expects the Wallabies will only benefit from the seemingly widespread misconception among Americans that former NRL star and NFL aspirant Jarryd Hayne is a product of the 15-a-side code.
“It certainly won’t be a distraction. More than anything, it’s going to bring a lot more support to the game over there,” Ashley-Cooper said.
Coach Michael Cheika worked his players hard in the final phase of their Australian preparations, but Ashley-Cooper dismissed any suggestion they might get burnt out.
“Not at all, because this is a team that bases itself on working hard and enjoying the hard work,” Ashley-Cooper said.