Wallabies need 'something extra'

2015-10-26 14:23
Michael Cheika (Gallo)

Twickenham - Australia will need "something extra just to be competitive" in their Rugby World Cup final against defending champions New Zealand, coach Michael Cheika said.

READ: Boks need to change their game style

The Wallabies have won just one of their last 12 Tests against the All Blacks, with two drawn.

The lone victory, a 27-19 success in Sydney, came in August. And Australia again demonstrated their attacking threat in their 29-15 World Cup semi-final win over Argentina at Twickenham on Sunday.

They ran in four tries, with wing Adam Ashley-Cooper grabbing a hat-trick after lock Rob Simmons took just 68 seconds to cross the Pumas' line.

New Zealand, who edged out South Africa 20-18 in the first semi-final, start as favourites in the final on Saturday.

"They are obviously the world's number one, aren't they?," said Cheika.

Highlighting Australia's win rate in recent games, he added: "They'll be feeling they've got our measure and it's going to be up to us to do something special, something extra just to be competitive."

"We've got to improve massively from what we did today, to even be in the hunt next week.

"When you've got a team like New Zealand with so many threats, who are so well-drilled and have such a great coach (Steve Hansen) you have to be working hard all the time."

Australia won this year's southern hemisphere Rugby Championship.

They then beat England and Wales to top a World Cup 'Pool of Death' before surviving a huge quarter-final scare with a last-ditch 35-34 win over Scotland.

By contrast, it was not until the All Blacks faced the Springboks that the defending champions were given a truly tough 80 minute match at this tournament.

"New Zealand have had a very different path from us to here," said Cheika.

"But it's a World Cup final and the adrenaline's going to be pumping and anyone who's a little bit sore will forget all about soreness next week."

As a backrow forward, Cheika was uncapped by Australia.

But the 48-year-old has since carved out an impressive coaching career and is the only man to have guided teams to both the European Cup (Ireland's Leinster) and Super Rugby titles (New South Wales Waratahs).

Cheika, who also had a spell in charge of Paris-based Stade Francais, was parachuted into the Australia coach's job on the eve of a tour of Europe in October last year after the shock resignation of Ewen McKenzie.

Australia lost three of his first four Tests as coach and, for all their talent, were riven by off-field splits and disciplinary problems when Cheika came on board.

Now they are a form team, rated as worthy opponents to New Zealand.

Cheika, however, said the transformation in Australia's fortunes was down to the players.

"I'm not taking credit for any type of that stuff," he said.

"I don't know if we're turned around or anything, I just know guys are playing for each other, want to play for Australia and are committed when they take the field."

Cheika promised Australia would remain true to their running rugby brand, even against a side as dangerous on the break as New Zealand.

"I've been brought up I suppose with attacking footie, but you've still got to have the rest of it as well," said Cheika.

"It does leave you open, on the counter-punch sometimes. But I think that's how Australians want us to play.

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't: we didn't score (a try) against Wales, but like you've seen it's not always the magic formula either.

"So you've just got to get the right balance," he added.

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