No easy beats, warns Chieka

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SYD­NEY: Pun­dits are call­ing it a dream draw for the Wal­la­bies at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but coach Michael Cheika has warned against com­pla­cency in their Ja­pan cam­paign.

The two-time win­ners avoided a ‘Group of Death’ sce­nario, which they had at the 2015 tour­na­ment, when they were pit­ted with Wales and Ge­or­gia in Pool D at the draw in Kyoto on Wed­nes­day.

The group will also con­tain two yet-to-be-de­ter­mined qual­i­fiers from Ocea­nia (Fiji, Tonga or Samoa) and the Amer­i­cas (United States, Canada or Uruguay).

Aus­tralia, Eng­land and Wales had to fight for two spots in the play­offs for the 2015 World Cup be­fore the Wal­la­bies went on to lose the Lon­don fi­nal to the All Blacks.

In two years time they have just the Welsh, who haven’t beaten Aus­tralia in 12 at­tempts since 2009, and Ge­or­gia, who have never beaten a ma­jor Test-play­ing na­tion, to worry about.

Cheika though played down sug­ges­tions of an easy draw, warn­ing to think that way would be a mis­take.

“Truth be told, no mat­ter how the balls got pulled out, you know it’s go­ing to be about get­ting it right, turn­ing up and mak­ing sure you play the best you can,” he said.

“I am say­ing that gen­uinely. You come with a re­ally open mind.

“They won’t be easy games. Ev­ery­one gets asked these ques­tions but when you are out there singing the an­them, it is 0-0 and all bets are off. The minute you stop think­ing like that is the minute you are dead in the wa­ter.”

De­spite be­ing cau­tious, Cheika will be happy the Wal­la­bies are on the other side of the draw from both south­ern hemi­sphere ri­vals New Zealand and South Africa, mean­ing they would not face ei­ther of them in a quar­ter­fi­nal.

“You’ve got to plan with the lay of the land, those teams you’re play­ing, know who the cross­over teams are, do the home­work but at the end of the day, it’s go­ing to be all about how we play,” he said.

“You’ve got to win seven games to get there and you put your best foot for­ward on all seven oc­ca­sions.” AFP

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