New York - Australia can make a strong Rugby World Cup bid next year behind new coach Michael Cheika as long as all the off-field drama is over, according to injured Wallabies' hooker Stephen Moore.
"I really do believe we've got the players to do really well. What we do need to get right is that off-field piece," Moore said on Thursday.
"We just can't have any more distractions off the field. It just slows you up. You see the amount of time been spent on the latest thing, it's just ridiculous."
Australian rugby was thrown into turmoil last month with coach Ewen McKenzie resigning amid a furore following a in-flight row between utility back Kurtley Beale and a member of McKenzie's staff that evolved into an investigation into 'highly offensive' text messages sent by Beale to the staff member.
The Waratahs player was fined almost A$50 000 for the two incidents but cleared to play for the national team again if Cheika, who replaced McKenzie less than two days before they left for their current tour, wanted him.
"It's obviously not ideal. You don't want to be changing coaches this close to the match," said Moore, who was not on the Wallabies' tour of Britain and France due to a season-ending knee injury he sustained in June.
"Ewen was only in the job for 12 months. It was disappointing and a bit of a shame to see how that all panned out," added the hooker, who was in the US to promote a scholarship fund to send promising players to the University of Queensland.
Despite the off-field issues, Moore said Cheika was the right man at the right time and would be a good fit.
"I think Michael Cheika will do a really good job now. He's the right type of character we need in the team at the moment.
"He's very clear about what he wants, very clear about the boundaries and I think that's something we've probably lacked a little bit in the last five to seven years.
"It's been a bit of a grey area, what the standards are, the whole discipline side. I think Cheika will make sure that's very clear. He wants things done in a particular way and if you don't tie into that you won't be part of the team."
International Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Michael Lynagh, who was with fellow World Cup winner John Eales and Moore in the roundtable discussion before a dinner to announce the scholarship, considered Cheika to be a rugby throwback.
"He plays a good brand of rugby, he sort of goes back to old school values," Lynagh said.
"Demands a lot of loyalty from his players but he gives it back as well. I think that's the sort of environment Australia needs at the moment."
Australian Rugby Union board member and former captain Eales predicted the teams would be closely packed heading into the World Cup in England next year.
"I think one of the things worth recognising is that there's never been a more even spread of talent in the world in rugby I believe," he said.
"You have the All Blacks, who have been very consistently number one for a number of years but they're not winning all their games by that much.
"They're still clearly number one but they're not miles away.
"Then you've got probably six, seven or eight teams any of which could beat another team one on the day, so we're getting this really good depth in international teams."