I wrote a similar article to this four years ago. It was entitled something like “Let’s sneak up and bite them on the bum”.
It’s not a huge leap of faith to think that your team (whoever it is) can’t win the World Cup, because that is just what the Wallabies nearly did in England.
I’m not saying Australia will win, but I am asking: why couldn’t they?
It’s a pretty simple equation. You can drop one pool game – better if you don’t because that probably means that your journey to the semi-finals is a bit harder and, let’s face it, if you don’t have to meet the All Blacks until later, you just upped your chances.
The team that wins the World Cup is most likely going to be one that doesn’t lose any pool games (plus of course the knockout matches), but that’s not entirely set in concrete.
Now, let’s look at the Wallabies: in 2015 they were rank outsiders, slipped quietly into camp with a fairly together squad and got on with business. They didn’t win the thing, but they did play in the final.
There’s no reason why they can’t go it again. Michael Cheika’s team are at a lowly fifth or sixth (who cares?) – just far enough off the radar that the other more favoured nations don’t think they are a threat.
That is precisely where the Wallabies want to be.
The hardest World Cup fixture will be this Saturday’s opener against Fiji, even though they have to meet Wales later on. The Pacific nation is more an unknown and unpredictable quantity than the Welsh (even if I have them as my 7-1 roughies).
Australia have a reasonably easy pool, but with two major stumbling blocks in Wales and Fiji.
I, for one, will definitely be holding my breath come Saturday. Please, boys, take them very seriously and don’t slack off at any point for the full 80. Just be in their faces and cut down their support play.
I put together my rugby calendar for the next two months, and with the wonderful footy being played in the NRC and the World Cup on the horizon, we are in for a magnificent feast of some of the best rugby we will ever see.
C’arn the Wallabies!