Sydney - Australia's
new director of rugby Scott Johnson on Friday said there was no reason why
the Wallabies can't win the Rugby World Cup despite coming off their worst
season in decades.
Johnson was recruited to the newly-created role from a similar
position with Scotland after mounting criticism of under-siege coach
Michael Cheika, who managed just four wins from Australia's 13 Tests
Johnson was upbeat about the task ahead for the 2015 World Cup finalists after officially taking up the job on Friday.
"We're not a million miles off," he said, about going one better and winning the title at this year's tournament in Japan.
"We have as much chance as anyone else. We have a pretty formidable record but we can't rely on that, and don't expect to.
"We are trying to get prominence in a very dynamic sporting landscape
and we want to stand for something. Our rugby DNA is acumen and skill
and that's what I want to be."
Australia, beaten in the 2015 World Cup final by New Zealand, have
fallen to number six in the world and few give them much chance of
lifting the silverware in Japan.
While Cheika survived the axe last season, his powers have been diluted.
He now has to answer to Johnson and sit on a three-man selection
panel - himself, Johnson and the recently appointed Michael O'Connor.
But Johnson insisted the relationship would be "dynamic" with Cheika
focused on coaching the team while he assumes responsibility for
management of the Wallabies' off-field programme.
"Cheik has got great drive, great passion to get a team going good
and I understand that," said the Sydney-born 56-year-old, who became
Scotland's director of rugby in 2013 and oversaw a renaissance.
"You're going to get times where we disagree and that's fine. If you
always agree you've got one too many, haven't you?" he added.
"So it's going to be dynamic because we both want the best for the game and for the team. It'll be good."