Australia have to be proud of what they do in final: Michael Cheika

Australia know their Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday will not be a walk in the park.

Australia have to be proud of what they do in final: Michael Cheika

Australia know their Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday (October 31) will not be a walk in the park.

But that`s what they had on Thursday (October 29) as they strolled through the grounds of their training centre in London, pursued by photographers.
Contracted to hold a training session, which reporters and photographers could attend, the players were taking it easy before the final with a stroll in the park and a little passing of the rugby ball.

Head coach Michael Cheika, credited with turning Australia around, was also taking it easy on Thursday as he met reporters.

He said he did not feel any pressure and just stuck to the simple tasks he needed to do to prepare his team.

"What we`re trying to do is be as best prepared as possible," he said. "Every day prepare certain things and you just keep adding the next day`s and the next day`s things together so we can be ready to play our best on Saturday. So if I start thinking `oh this is a massive game` and start doing things differently then I`m not looking after my team properly. So I just want to make sure that everything`s, that they`re very well prepared, best they can and then they`ll get the chance to put everything that we`ve done out on the field."

"You`ve just got to do your absolute best," he added. "The only time you feel pressure is if you`re not as prepared as you possibly can. So let`s prepare the best we can and go out there and do our absolute best and I`ve said it before many times, the cards will fall where they fall."

The team lists were posted with loosehead prop Scott Sio returning to the starting lineup at Twickenham after recovering from an elbow injury.

James Slipper, who filled in for Sio, returns to the bench while reserve prop Toby Smith was the odd man out, losing his spot in the 23-man squad.
Cheika said he had no concerns about bringing Sio back from injury for such an important match.

Fullback Israel Folau, who has been battling an ankle injury and only lasted an hour against Argentina, was also cleared to start, as was veteran inside centre Matt Giteau, who hurt his groin playing against the Pumas.

Giteau, 33, is the lone survivor from the last Australian team to play in the World Cup final, in 2003 and Cheika said he could keep playing for years to come if he maintains his great form.

"I think he`s obviously been selected number one by the fact that he`s been selected in the Australian team he becomes a player that is quite important in that role that he`s playing. I think also he`s experienced. Not just his play. He`s experienced as well. And his overall character. He`s tough, but he`s skillful, he`s hungry, he can be angry, he can be funny at the same time, five minutes later. He`s got good balance in his life and he`s projecting that out to his team mates and other guys get a kick out of that.

Just like everyone`s character he`s pushing, you know sort of giving a bit of influence on the other guys. So yeah it`s been good to have him back, obviously playing, and I`ve enjoyed it because I never coached him before. He`s been really good to coach and I know this is going to sound crazy but even for all his experience I still see him as a player with stacks of improvement in him as well."

Cheika said the squad had received goodwill messages from Australians saying they were proud that the team had reached the final, but that was not good enough for the coach, who wants Australia to win the World Cup as they did in 1991 and 1999.

"We don`t want to be proud just to make the final. That`s too comfortable. That`s too easy. So we want to be proud of what we do on Saturday and make Australians even more proud of us by giving everything we`ve got on Saturday," Cheika said.

"Not we`ll see, like I said, you can never guarantee what`s going to happen but by making sure we play in a way that they wake up in the middle of the night or if they`re over here, you know, they can nod their head and say `I`m proud to be a part of that team`."

Cheika also cleared up why he did not describe the New Zealand team as the All Blacks. There had been speculation he had banned the term to make New Zealand less intimidating. Not so, said the coach.

"Oh I read a bit about that where they`re having a bit of a crack at me, thinking that I don`t say that because for a certain reason but if you notice, it`s pretty funny because if you notice I never call Australia the Wallabies either. I`m really a bit old fashioned in that way I think Australia is Australia and New Zealand is New Zealand. France is France and it`s the battle between nations on that stage and that`s why - there`s no secret squirrel if you know what I mean."

A reporter then called on him to say "All Blacks" for the record.

"Can I say All Blacks now for you? Hang on, poltergeist!" Cheika said, pretending he had become possessed, and laughing uproariously.

"I think maybe everyone`s got a little bit too much time on their hands you know what I mean because that`s sort of like making something out of nothing," he added.


1-Scott Sio, 2-Stephen Moore (captain), 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Kane Douglas, 5-Rob Simmons, 6-Scott Fardy, 7-Michael Hooper, 8-David Pocock; 9-Will Genia, 10-Bernard Foley, 11-Drew Mitchell, 12-Matt Giteau, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15-Israel Folau

Replacements: 16-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17-James Slipper, 18-Greg Holmes, 19-Dean Mumm, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Nick Phipps, 22-Matt Toomua, 23-Kurtley Beale 

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