A confident John Eales says he can see parallels between the current Wallabies and the two Australian sides he captained to separate World Cup triumphs.
Eales, who helped guide the Wallabies to the Webb Ellis Trophy in both 1991 and 1999, said Michael Cheika’s men have an unwavering self-belief that he reckons will be key ahead of this weekend’s historic trans-Tasman World Cup final.
“The key ingredient which makes this team similar to and is the belief it has and the faith that they seem to have in each other,” Eales told the Queensland Reds website.
“It’s that faith which gives them a chance to win those close games at the end.
“When Scotland scored that intercept try at the end it would have been easy for them to drop their bundle, but no, there was this straight focus – ‘what do we have to do to win this game.'”
Queensland and Wallabies legend Eales is one of just five players to have played in both of Australia’s World Cup-winning sides, also captaining the team in the 1999 tournament on home soil.
He believes the biggest challenge faced by Cheika’s Wallabies ahead of their clash with New Zealand, who are also vying to become the first nation to win three World Cups, will be keeping their focus.
“It’s a week of a lot of emotions. At the end of this week you’re either going to be world champions or you’re not – one road is good and the other isn’t,” he said.
“You have a lot of anxiety and how do you deal with that stress? How do you sleep?
“They can’t dwell on it, they can’t relax because they got through. They’ve got to maintain the rage and just focus on what it’s going to take (to win).
“For this Wallabies team, really, from when they played England, they’ve pretty much been playing knockout football for the last five weeks.
“The good thing is it’s been all at the same ground, so Twickenham will start to feel like a home ground for them, they’ve got very familiar surroundings now and that’s going to be positive for them.”