Aus­tralia’s plan for the big match is re­vealed: get Read

Cheika pho­tographed with key tac­tics sheet Plan to ‘rat­tle’ Read and ‘ex­pose’ All Black wings

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport Rugby World Cup 2015 - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Twick­en­ham

Aus­tralia ap­peared to score a mas­sive own goal on the eve of to­day’s World Cup fi­nal against New Zealand at Twick­en­ham af­ter coaches Michael Cheika and Mario Ledesma ac­ci­den­tally re­vealed key de­tails of their game plan dur­ing their team’s cap­tain’s run yes­ter­day.

De­tails of Aus­tralia’s at­tack, defence and line-out strate­gies were caught by a pho­to­graph, which is sure to have caused em­bar­rass­ment in the Wal­la­bies’ camp and handed New Zealand valu­able insight as well as an ex­tra mo­ti­va­tional edge.

Notes from a tac­tics sheet were cap­tured by a pho­tog­ra­pher which in­cluded the in­struc­tions to “rat­tle” All Blacks No 8 Kieran Read from kick-offs and “ex­pose” wingers Nehe Milner-Skud­der and Ju­lian Savea.

The most eye-catch­ing is the tac­tic re­gard­ing Read, one of New Zealand’s most dan­ger­ous play­ers. The note reads: “Kick­off re­ceipt #4 Kieran Read ( get him rat­tled).”

The notes con­tinue: “Line-out at­tack, gain-line front foot speed. Ex­pose Milner Skud­der and Savea un­der ball or in back­field.”

Aus­tralia’s anal­y­sis of New Zealand’s back play is also re­vealed, with the coaches urg­ing their play­ers to pre­pare for moves by Dan Carter and Ma’a Nonu. The notes state: “Carter run­ning right to left” and “Nonu steps back on the in­side when line-speed against”.

There was a prompt too for David Po­cock, Aus­tralia’s out­stand­ing No 8 and the player of the tour­na­ment, to stay back from kick-offs to avoid “Carter rage”, an ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to keep­ing com­posed and not tar­get­ing the All Black fly-half.

Other memos in­cluded to “own the air space, catch every­thing, chace [sic] every­thing, es­cort wingers!!!”.

The in­struc­tions ap­pear to have been or­gan­ised into four sec­tions – ‘K’,‘D’,‘T’,‘A’ – which could be seen as rep­re­sent­ing kick-off, defence, turnover and at­tack.

There were sug­ges­tions last night that such an ob­vi­ous use of brief­ing notes by Cheika and Ledesma, the former Ar­gentina hooker cred­ited with trans­form­ing Aus­tralia’s scrum into a ma­jor force at this tour­na­ment, were a de­lib­er­ate bluff.

Nonethe­less the in­ci­dent added to the drama ahead of to­day’s match, the first Trans-Tas­man fi­nal in the 28-year his­tory of the tour­na­ment as both sides seek to be­come the first team to win the Webb El­lis Cup three times.

If Aus­tralia feel they may go into to­day’s game on the back foot, the su­per­sti­tious among the squad might draw com­fort from the fact that some of New Zealand’s high­est pro­file de­feats have come on Hal­lowe’en. Oct 31 had dawned in New Zealand when New­port de­feated the tour­ing All Blacks 3-0 in 1963, while Llanelli beat the Ki­wis 9-3 at Stradey Park on this day in 1972.

Mun­ster won 12-0 at Thomond Park on this date in 1978 and most mem­o­rably of all, France shocked John Hart’s side in the great­est ever World Cup con­test with a 43-31 win in the World Cup semi-fi­nal in 1999.

Aus­tralia have lost 20 out of their past 25 meet­ings against New Zealand, but won their last meet­ing 27-19 in Syd­ney in Au­gust.

Cheika was dis­mis­sive when asked if that re­sult had any sig­nif­i­cance on to­day’s game: “Ah mate, they say if you look back­wards you’ll only get a sore neck. I have got a lot of be­lief in the team. We had a short space of time be­tween the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and this. We know it’s go­ing to be ex­tremely phys­i­cal and we have pre­pared ac­cord­ingly.

“We want to bring phys­i­cal­ity to the game too. It is also how you bring it tech­ni­cally and why you are do­ing it. It will be an in­ter­est­ing part of the game.”

Above all, Cheika wants to make his na­tion proud. “We have got our sup­port­ers in Aus­tralia en­joy­ing the game again and that’s not mar­ket­ing,” he added. “It is good for them to feel that they are at­tached to the team. We want to give them more to be proud of to­mor­row.”

Steve Hansen, the New Zealand head coach, warned that his team have yet to reach their po­ten­tial in this tour­na­ment as they aim to be­come the first side to re­tain the Webb El­lis Cup. Nor, he said, would they be over­awed by the oc­ca­sion.

“I be­lieve we can get bet­ter,” said Hansen. “Will they do that on Satur­day? The op­po­si­tion has a lot to say on that. I know we’ve had a re­ally good week. I know, win or lose, we’ll put in a per­for­mance we’ll be proud of. If that’s good enough to win, great; if not, we’ll look at our­selves and ask what we need to do bet­ter.

“But we won’t be in­hib­ited by the oc­ca­sion. This group is in a good place and ex­cited about what’s com­ing, and we’ve got a bit of tal­ent, so if we play well, the re­sult might come our way.”

The VIPs at­tend­ing the game in­clude Prince Harry, who will present the tro­phy, along with Rugby Foot­ball Union pres­i­dent Ja­son Leonard, Prince Al­bert of Monaco, and John Key, the New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter.

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