Rugby World Cup 2011

Wallabies 'care' about bronze

2011-10-18 12:36
The Wallabies will have to pick themselves up for the third place playoff (Getty Images)





Auckland - Australia players insisted on Tuesday they want to come away with something to show from their flawed Rugby World Cup campaign and deeply care about winning this week's third place playoff with Wales.

The Australians took their semi-final drubbing by the All Blacks hard and face the mental challenge of recovering their motivation for Friday's playoff, largely viewed as an irrelevance at the tail end of a demanding six-week tournament.

New Zealand outplayed Australia 20-6 in Sunday's semi-final, while the Welsh, a man down following skipper Sam Warburton's early dismissal, missed several goal kicks in a 9-8 loss to France in the weekend's other last four clash.

Amid widespread apathy over the 'bronze final', senior Wallaby back Adam Ashley-Cooper said the opportunity to repay their fans and the likelihood Australia lock Nathan Sharpe would play his 100th Test were driving the Wallabies.

"We care and if they (Australia supporters) care about us, they would care. They need to know that the collective group here that are representing the country care a lot," Ashley-Cooper said Tuesday.

"Obviously, we suffered a pretty significant loss at the weekend and we were all very upset, everyone took it personally, so we've got an opportunity to turn things around and we really want to win this game.

"Especially, coming off a loss, the potential that Nathan Sharpe will represent his country for the 100th time, something that's a milestone and is a great achievement and everyone wants to share that with him, so there's motivation behind that.

"I hope all the support back home is still with us and I'm hoping they care, like we do."

Ashley-Cooper, who has played every minute of his team's six games at the tournament, paid tribute to 33-year-old Sharpe, who is in line to become only the fifth Wallaby to play 100 Tests.

"Only four other players have done it before and that's just an incredible achievement," Ashley-Cooper said.

"I'm not sure how he's (Sharpe) feeling, but to put on the jersey once is enough, to put in 100 times that's amazing.

"So to share that not only with a teammate, but a really good mate you've shared years with is special, you want to share that experience with him so there's a lot of motivation behind that."

The Wallabies will be without four players from last weekend's All Black battering for Friday's game.

Lock Dan Vickerman (shoulder, leg and broken nose), prop Sekope Kepu (eye), centre Pat McCabe (shoulder) and hooker Stephen Moore (sternum) have all been ruled out, a team spokesman said.

Prop Ben Alexander is another Wallaby anxious for redress this week.

"I'm not sure how he's (Sharpe) feeling, but to put on the jersey once is enough, to put in 100 times that's amazing.

"So to share that not only with a teammate, but a really good mate you've shared years with is special, you want to share that experience with him so there's a lot of motivation behind that."

The Wallabies will be without four players from last weekend's All Black battering for Friday's game.

Lock Dan Vickerman (shoulder, leg and broken nose), prop Sekope Kepu (eye), centre Pat McCabe (shoulder) and hooker Stephen Moore (sternum) have all been ruled out, a team spokesman said.

Prop Ben Alexander is another Wallaby anxious for redress this week.

"We do care, we want something to show for this campaign," he said. "We've put in a lot of hard work over the last few years leading up to this tournament and to walk away with nothing would just compound the pain we're already feeling now.

"We will be getting up and putting on a good show and hopefully we'll walk away with the bronze medal and say we were beaten by the best, we can handle that, but we still put in and we're going to put in again this week."

 

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