Michael Cheika (Gallo)
Twickenham - Australia
boss Michael Cheika maybe the new boy among the major rugby players but he has
proved that he learns fast.
The Wallabies have won
the southern nations' Rugby Championship and reached the World Cup semi-finals
in less than a year.
Foley's last-minute penalty saw Australia to a 35-34 win over Scotland and a
World Cup last four place at Twickenham on Sunday after a major scare for the
two-time world champions.
Cheika's men now face
Argentina in next weekend, with defending champions New Zealand taking on South
Africa in the other last four clash at Twickenham.
With no Northern
Hemisphere team in the last four for the first time in Rugby World Cup history,
the tournament now becomes a repeat of the Rugby Championship, which was
shortened this year to make room in the calendar for the World Cup.
"It does mean
everyone knows each other very well," said Cheika, thrust into the job of
Australia coach last year after the resignation of former boss Ewen McKenzie.
"I am the junior
member of the Rugby Championship, the other coaches, Daniel Hourcade
(Argentina), Steve Hansen (New Zealand) and Heyneke Meyer (South Africa) have
all got more experience than me.
"But we will
prepare as best we can and put a performance together on Sunday."
Australia pulled off
one of rugby's great escapes Sunday, although they outscored Scotland five tries
Things were looking
bleak for the Wallabies at a rainswept Twickenham when, with barely six minutes
left, Scotland centre Mark Bennett's intercept try under the posts and the
ensuing conversion left the Wallabies 34-32 behind.
"Usually if you
kick a goal at the end of the game to win, it's a pretty good escape,"
said Cheika. "Saying that, if you score five tries, then you expect to be
near the winning side.
shouldn't have opened it up for them but we wanted to play to our identity
which is to play running footy," he added.
"When the goal
(conversion) went over for Scotland, many teams would have thought 'let's go
home, we have had a good run'. I just liked the way we got back into the game
any way we could."
Australia prop Sekope
Kepu said: "It's funny, it's just dawned on me that it's now a Rugby
Championship affair. But it's irrelevant what we did in the Rugby Championship,
this is a whole new beast. We're very excited."
Wallaby wing Adam
Ashley-Cooper, a try-scorer against Scotland, warned an improved performance
was needed to tame the Pumas next weekend.
presents you with areas you need to address," he said. "We need to
tidy up our exits, get out of our half a lot better.
"I think the most
important thing is to know that we're in a semi-final and be happy about that.
They don't come around often."
The Wallabies beat the
Pumas 34-9 in Mendoza in July.
But Argentina served
notice of their World Cup quality with a convincing 40-23 quarter-final win
over Six Nations champions Ireland in Cardiff on Sunday.
a lot," said the 31-year-old Ashley-Cooper of Argentina. "They have
the ability to tackle all over the field now.
"We know they've
got a dominant forward pack. They've got great set-piece and now they've got
outstanding backs," added Ashley-Cooper, a veteran of 112 Tests.
"They're a threat
from one to 15 so we're going to have to look very closely at their game and
formulate a strategy that we think will beat theirs."