Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants to turn hopers into believers for Australia’s Rugby World Cup campaign and has consulted several of his predecessors to ensure their preparations are thorough.
The Wallabies squad left Sydney on Saturday morning with the first port of call the United States.
Australia will play the US in Chicago next weekend before heading to Britain where the World Cup will be staged from mid-September.
Cheika revealed he had sought advice on tournament play from several people including Australia’s World Cup-winning coaches Bob Dwyer (1991) and Rod Macqueen (1999) and other Wallabies mentors John Connolly, Eddie Jones and Alan Jones.
“I’ve been given excellent advice from many of the players and coaches who have been involved in successful World Cups and did successful coaching around tournaments,” Cheika said at Sydney Airport on Saturday morning.
“They’ve really given me advice of taking one game as it happens and be in that moment, and I’m going to do that.”
“I’m not going to live the cliche of one game at a time but then not do it. We are going to look just at the next game because that’s where our status allows us to be.
“We know we’re in a tough pool and we know that by genuinely focusing on the one team that we need to play next in tournament play is the real way to approach it.”
The Wallabies recently beat major southern hemisphere rivals New Zealand and South Africa and won the Rugby Championship, but Cheika recognised not all Australians were confident about he team’s World Cup prospects
“One of the big things for coaches is they don’t want to go out there spruiking and say ‘how good are we’ and all this,” Cheika said.
“I think there’s a lot of people who are genuinely hoping we do well. Our objective is to turn a lot of the hopers into believers.”
He said lock Rob Simmons, who missed both Bledisloe Cup Tests with a scaphoid injury in his wrist, should be right to return against the US.
“They (the US) are an improving side, but they play with big physicality and they have got some pace out wide and you’ve got to be really mindful of that,” Cheika said.
“It’s a really good game for us because we’re going into someone else’s backyard.
“They are a team on the rise, they just disposed of Canada, who are no mugs.”
Cheika stressed Australia were still working on improving in a number of areas heading into their World Cup pool opener against Fiji in Cardiff on September 23.
“We want to keep improving scrums, lineouts, driving mauls, a kicking game, possibly the things where we haven’t eulogised about in the past,” Cheika said.
“We try to keep improving those and then there’s a couple of important (things to) work on that we think we can improve over the next few weeks to get us into a good space for the World Cup.”