The Wallabies will attack Saturday’s season-ending clash against England with the same ferocity as they would’ve if the grand slam had still been alive, according to vice-captain Michael Hooper.
The motivation of avoiding a calendar cleansweep at the hands of England will also ensure they have no trouble picking themselves up to finish the year strongly after having their grand slam dream crushed by Ireland.
Michael Cheika and his players had hoped next Saturday’s season-ending clash at Twickenham would double as their grand slam finale.
That won’t be the case, with Ireland ruining those plans with a brave 27-24 win in Dublin on Saturday.
A desire to finish the season off the right way will trump whatever hollow feeling they’ll be taking away from the Ireland loss.
That the match will double as a farewell to champion ball-hunter David Pocock before his year-long hiatus from the game will only strengthen Australia’s will.
They will know by Monday whether halfback Will Genia will be released by French club Stade Francais for the Test – which falls outside the official international window.
“We’ll take this game just as hard as we would’ve had there been a grand slam on the line,” Hooper said.
“Every Test match is massive for us. We want to play the best we possibly can in this jersey and do better than we did (against Ireland).”
Experienced forward Dean Mumm, who is in danger of missing the game after being cited for a lifting tackle against Ireland, admitted the team was hurting as a result of missing out on the grand slam – but said motivation wouldn’t be hard to come by.
“It’s a pretty jagged pill and the fact that, we weren’t shying away from the fact that we came here to have a go at a grand slam,” Mumm said.
“You obviously need to get all of them to have the chance to do that so the team’s hurting, as am I, that we can’t get an opportunity to do that.”
“We love playing England, it’s a massive match.
“We’ve lost a goal in the grand slam but there’s still a tremendous amount to offer in next week’s game.”
The Wallabies are still smarting from a 3-0 series defeat to Eddie Jones’ England on home soil in June.
But Mumm says there’ll be more to their preparation than a simple revenge mission.
“You can’t help but be a little bit disappointed in the way June panned out, three-nil series losses hurt and it actually wasn’t that long ago but we won’t be focusing on that as a motivating factor,” he said.
“If you look backwards, then you end up tripping over.
“So, we’re going to look forward and look forward to what we can do and get excited about what’s a tremendous match.”