Sport: Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title - PressFrom - Australia
  •   
  •   

SportAustralia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title

18:00  15 september  2019
18:00  15 september  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Rugby-Pocock returns as Wallabies down Samoa in Sydney

Rugby-Pocock returns as Wallabies down Samoa in Sydney Rugby-Pocock returns as Wallabies down Samoa in Sydney

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has revealed furious fans personally threatened him at matches after he ruled out selecting controversial fullback Israel Folau over his "disrespectful" anti-gay social media posts. Cheika 's revelations about the attacks from some Wallabies fans demonstrate how divisive the

Michael Cheika has revealed a different side this year: more balanced, with an appreciation of the big picture. And that must be a concern for rival As a consequence, there wouldn’t be much shock among rugby folk if Cheika inspired the Wallabies to go well as this Rugby World Cup : in some

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australia possess an immensely talented squad but appear to lack team cohesion and unity

Mere days from their opening game, it is very hard to judge exactly where the Wallabies are at the moment; a record 46-13 win over New Zealand in the Rugby Championship demonstrated their ability to mix it with the best.

That it was sandwiched between a 35-17 humbling by South Africa and the All Blacks' 36-0 avenging suggests they have a long way to go and although a talented core gives them hope, a lack of team unity may be their downfall.

Sportsmail runs through everything you need to know about Australia ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

'This team has been exposed to ridicule - but it's made us stronger'

'This team has been exposed to ridicule - but it's made us stronger' Wallabies coach Michael Cheika opens up about the criticism levelled at he and his team and insists it has helped them ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

While Australia have rebuilt swiftly and astutely under their new coach, England still seem to be learning on Michael Cheika says Australia will be underdogs against England. Everyone knew that in David Pocock and Michael Hooper Australia had two of the best openside flankers in the world .

Michael Cheika has dismissed suggestions that smaller countries have got a raw deal from disciplinary hearings at the Rugby World Cup . Australia appeared fortunate when their flanker Michael Hooper was banned for only seven days following an aggressive clearout of the England full-back Mike Brown

KEY PLAYER

DAVID POCOCK

Despite a reduced role for his country, spending time in Japan with the Panasonic Wild Knights, David Pocock remains the heartbeat of this Australia side when fit.

Originally an openside flanker, he has grown into arguably the best No 8 in the world, combining ruthless jackalling skills with effective ball-carrying and leadership from the base of the scrum.

Injuries and a managed schedule have seen him miss several Wallabies Tests this year, but if he reaches the World Cup fit and firing, he could bring his irresistible will to bear once again.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Having reached the 2015 final, where they were comfortably seen off by their trans-Tasman rivals 34-17, the Wallabies appeared ready to consolidate their place as best of the rest and build another challenge over the next four years.

Wallabies coach Cheika reveals threats over Folau stance

Wallabies coach Cheika reveals threats over Folau stance Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said he was personally threatened by fans after vowing not to select Israel Folau over his "disrespectful" anti-gay comments. 

Michael Cheika ’s enlightened persona has transformed the mood in an Australia camp preparing to face New Zealand in the World Cup final and not long ago described as toxic.

Cheika is disappointed not to have Folau in his Rugby World Cup squad, but has no issue with the 30-year-old expressing his opinion. "I'm not disappointed in the individual because if that's what he believes, and that's where his passion is, I will never tell someone to hide it," he added.

Then came a 0-3 series whitewash at the hands of England on home turf, and since then they haven't quite looked like hitting the heights.

Last year was poor by their usual high standards, with four wins – against Ireland, South Africa, Argentina and Italy – out of 13 Tests, and has put a big handbrake on any hopes of World Cup success.

World Cup selection a headache: Cheika

World Cup selection a headache: Cheika Coach Michael Cheika insists he has numerous selection dilemmas less than a week out from Australia's Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji.

The former Leinster and New South Wales Waratahs coach used a sense of fun to set the Wallabies on a run of six wins from their last seven matches.

World Rugby has announced a minor amendment to the Television Match Official (TMO) protocol Man-of-the-match McMahon was particularly impressive, leaving Cheika with some big decisions to make before his side take on the hosts, after resting the likes of David Pocock, Michael Hooper and

They have also seen neighbours New Zealand win every Rugby Championship from 2016 to 2018, with South Africa claiming this year's prize.

Coach Michael Cheika's efforts have been undermined by a string of off-field issues during the last few years.

These have ranged from Israel Folau's sacking over a homophobic social media post to Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper being dropped from the 2018 Autumn tests over breaches of curfew.

The team do, however, have plenty of tournament pedigree.

They have appeared in every World Cup since it was founded in 1987, winning in 1991 and 1999 while reaching a further two finals, in 2003 and 2015.

They have also never failed to make the quarter-finals of the tournament.

It is also worth noting that both of their victories and their runners-up spot in 2015 all came in Britain.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australia last won the World Cup in 1999, beating France 25-12 at the Millennium Stadium

COACH

Michael Cheika

There remains doubt over Cheika's future after five years in the role, with the coach widely expected to stand down after the World Cup. Victory may see him stay on, but such confusion is unlikely to help in the build-up.

'I don't agree, to be honest' - Michael Cheika fires back at Stirling Mortlock's Wallabies criticism

'I don't agree, to be honest' - Michael Cheika fires back at Stirling Mortlock's Wallabies criticism Michael Cheika has described the Wallabies' lead-up to the Rugby World Cup as "perfect" but that has only muddied the selection waters for their opening test against Fiji. Cheika insists there are a host of contestable positions in his starting XV to face Fiji on Saturday and believes the pressure on selectors will be a constant throughout the tournament. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia , is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands.

BIRMINGHAM, 27 Sept – Michael Cheika enjoyed a worry-free afternoon at Villa Park on Sunday as “It’s my first World Cup game. It’s like dreams becoming reality for me. "Now to get to the World Cup “We have to take into account that Uruguay has not played in the World Cup in 12 years so

Having led his side to one World Cup final there is no doubting Cheika's pedigree or ability in the role but the ongoing indifferent form has caused many to turn on the former No 8 and question his ongoing suitability.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Key men from the 2015 World Cup campaign have retired or been cast aside, with Scott Fardy, Stephen Moore, Ashley-Cooper and the controversial Folau among those departed.

The fact that, at 35, Ashley-Cooper has been summoned back from the Japanese league indicates the problems Cheika is facing in terms of personnel. A talent drain to the Northern Hemisphere has also robbed them of the likes of Will Skelton, now starring for Saracens.

Of those lost, Fardy – now with Leinster - was perhaps the least heralded but the hardest to replace.

His work at the breakdown was crucial in allowing key men David Pocock and Michael Hooper to thrive in one of the great back-row combinations.

The emergence of 22-year-old Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Isi Naisarani at No 6 has seemingly helped fill that gap after three years of searching, while relief has been found elsewhere also.

Young back Reece Hodge has looked the part immediately, with lock Izack Rodda and wing Jack Maddocks suggesting there is hope for the future.

Pocock and Hooper to both start for Wallabies against Fiji

Pocock and Hooper to both start for Wallabies against Fiji Selectors are set to name both Michael Hooper and David Pocock in the same starting XV to face Fiji on Saturday.

Wallabies' coach Michael Cheika is wary of Argentina threat as his team bid to reach their fourth final. One of the key developments of Rugby World Cup 2015 has also been the improved performances of the emerging nations.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be the ninth edition of the tournament and will be hosted by Japan from 6 September to 20 October 2019. Matches will take place in 12 cities – from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south – with the RWC final now scheduled to take place in Yokohama after the

There is also the stunning story of fly-half Christian Lealiifano, back in the squad after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2016.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australia have struggled to replace blindside flanker Scott Fardy since he left in 2015

There have been a few personnel changes, with 103-cap Will Genia - set to retire after the tournament - apparently now second choice scrum-half behind Exeter star Nic White.

The dilution of eligibility rules have also enabled the Wallabies to expand their selection options, with several overseas players - including White and Pocock -picked as the criteria gets increasingly watered down.

There is also still a lot of experience within the squad, with three centurions in Genia, Ashley-Cooper and Sekope Kepu; Michael Hooper and lock Rob Simmons are poised to reach three figures during the tournament

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Exeter scrum-half Nic White appears to have taken possession of No 9 jersey from Will Genia

AUSTRALIA SQUAD

BACKS: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, James O'Connor, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Will Genia.

FORWARDS: Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (captain), David Pocock, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga'a, Jordan Uelese.

The team's sheer unpredictability may yet prove to be an advantage.

Cheika savages Fiji over Hodge World Cup citation

  Cheika savages Fiji over Hodge World Cup citation Reece Hodge could miss Australia's crucial pool game against Wales and his coach was scathing about Fiji's handling of the incident.Michael Cheika has blasted Fiji for escalating the Reece Hodge dangerous tackle incident but backed World Rugby's judicial process to treat the Wallabies winger fairly.

Australia has rarely given away easy points by failing at a scrum this tournament. The head coach of the Australian rugby team, Michael Cheika , left, with his assistant coach, Mario Ledesma You have to have a different mind-set and a different approach. Australia have certainly benefited from those

Australia ’s new head coach, Michael Cheika The two countries are in the same World Cup group but Cheika said Saturday’s result would have no bearing on next year’s match at Twickenham. “He is the only coach who has won a European Cup and a Super Rugby title : he turned around Leinster

The way they were able to adapt their tactics and see off the All Blacks – White carrying heavily and stretching their defensive line – suggests Cheika and his staff will have plenty of plans up their sleeve for the World Cup.

The lack of team cohesion – particularly the propensity for poor discipline as much off the field as on it – may ultimately prove to be their undoing in such an intense and emotionally demanding environment.

The banishing of Folau – though utterly necessary – has robbed them of the world's best full-back, while Beale remains unreliable after a string of team rule violations.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australia have also sacked controversial full-back Israel Folau and are in legal proceedings

POOL D FIXTURES

Fiji, September 21, 5.45am

Wales, September 29, 8.45am

Uruguay, October 5, 6.15am

Georgia, October 11, 11.15am

*All times BST

The Wallabies have been given one of the kinder groups for the World Cup, although they will face Wales for a second tournament in succession.

Opening against Fiji on September 21, Cheika and Co must be wary of an upset by the side who won Olympic gold at Rio 2016 in the sevens format.

Uruguay and Georgia are also unlikely to provide a particularly stern examination, so the risk really is complacency and ensuring the side is not undercooked for the latter stages.

The clash against Wales, in Tokyo on September 29, is likely to decide which of Argentina, France or England the Wallabies will face in the quarter-final.

Beating Wales and thus topping Pool D would also have the added benefit of probably avoiding New Zealand in the semi-final.

Australia Rugby World Cup preview: Michael Cheika has a talented group but disunity threatens bid for title© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Australia will face Wales in a crunch Pool D clash at Tokyo Stadium on September 29 Read more
Read more

Wallabies confident Hodge can be cleared .
The Wallabies believe they can get winger Reece Hodge off his dangerous tackle charge at the Rugby World Cup ahead of Sunday's clash with Wales.Hodge will face his moment of truth on Wednesday afternoon, the hearing scheduled for later in the week than Australia wanted but were forced to propose, to ensure they have their chosen legal representative.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 4
This is interesting!