Noumea - Australia
coach Michael Cheika has plumped for a slice of South Pacific paradise
shorn of any daily distractions to fine-tune his Wallaby squad ahead of
the Rugby World Cup in Japan starting on September 20.
The Wallabies will be based in the French South Pacific archipelago
of New Caledonia until September 5, returning to Sydney for a final
warm-up match against Samoa two days later before heading to Japan.
"The physical proximity to our country helped our decision to come
here," Cheika said in Noumea, capital of the French-administered
territory located 2 000km northeast of Sydney.
"We wanted a place where the players are far from their daily lives
and distractions so they can concentrate on one thing: training and
Cheika added that the only game his team had in mind was their World Cup Pool D opener against Fiji on September 21 in Sapporo.
The Wallabies will then take on Wales on September 29, Uruguay on
October 5 and Georgia on October 11. The top two teams in the pool
advance to the quarter-finals.
"I've been Australia coach for five years and I've never seen such
great team spirit and desire for collective effort," said Cheika, who
was named 2015 World Rugby coach of the year after leading the Wallabies
to the final of the World Cup won by New Zealand that same year.