The Wallabies insist last year’s World Cup final heartbreak has no role as they look to catch the All Blacks on the hop in Saturday night’s Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.
Backline ace Israel Folau – who played the entire World Cup hampered by an ankle injury – says Australia’s 34-17 loss to New Zealand at Twickenham last October is history to the Wallabies and they are not casting back to it for motivation.
“I mean, for us, that’s in the past and as a team everyone’s just looking forward to the weekend,” Folau said on Tuesday.
“I’ve said in the past that I was a little bit frustrated obviously because of injury during that World Cup.
“I haven’t even thought about it at all that much, to be honest. It’s been an enjoyable year for myself and I look forward again to the weekend.
“It’s very exciting.”
After undergoing off-season ankle surgery, Folau returned to his brilliant best following his move to outside centre for the NSW Waratahs, topping the Super Rugby tryscorers’ list and featuring in the top three for line breaks and tackle busts.
But the dual John Eales Medallist insists he still doesn’t know if he’ll run out onto ANZ Stadium at fullback or in the No.13 jumper, with coach Michael Cheika not due to name his match-day 23 until Thursday.
“Cheik likes to keep us on our toes, which is a good thing. The guys are training really hard and fighting for those positions,” Folau said.
Nor is it clear what game style the Wallabies will apply as they bid to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.
While playmaker Bernard Foley said the Wallabies planned to employ more tactical kicking after being too predictable during their 3-0 series loss to England, Cheika has shot that theory down.
“As a team, we don’t want to change too much. We like the way we’re playing at the moment, that attacking style but also just being smart at the same time,” Folau said.
“So that’s up to us as players across the board to read that during a game and what’s best to us at the time.
“You don’t want to go into a game pre-planning anything or being too structured.”