The Cheika mantra that's key to Wallaby success
Forget the performances and results from any Wallabies Tests this year, former captain Stephen Moore says their World Cup hopes will hinge on how well the players come together.
Moore was the skipper of the 2015 Australia side that exceeded all expectations by reaching the final at Twickenham, where they came up short against the All Blacks.
The veteran of 129 Tests said that campaign was the perfect example of camaraderie eclipsing talent and he expects coach Michael Cheika to adopt the same mantra in Japan.
Moore reckoned Cheika will have made team bonding a priority during their 10-day pre-campaign camp in Noumea and it will be the same again this week in Odawara, south of Tokyo, where they’ll prepare away from the tournament limelight.
“Four years ago we worked really hard at the camps and, out of that, we wanted to play for each other,” Moore told AAP.
“The most important component to team success is how it gels. Then once you get a few wins together you get confidence in what you’re doing and everything is reinforced.”
The Wallabies flew out of Sydney on Monday, 14 hours later than planned.
The delay was caused by a typhoon lashing Japan which made landfall near Tokyo on Monday.
Moore was unconcerned by the erratic nature of Australia’s Test performances in the lead-up, saying little should be read into all matches over the past seven weeks as teams were at different points of preparation and motivation.
A good example was last month’s 0-36 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park, which Moore attended.
He said the hosts came out steaming and wondered if Australia may have been subconsciously distracted by all the glowing press after their big Bledisloe Cup win in Perth a week earlier.
“I don’t think anyone bar New Zealand would have won that game, they were obviously very desperate,” Moore said.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it – that’s as hard a Test match as they’re going to play and probably as close as you’ll get to a World Cup final-type scenario.
“So it will be a good experience for those young Wallabies players to have been under that kind of pressure and hopefully they’ll learn a fair bit from that.”
Moore hoped critics would write the Wallabies off en masse, making it easier for Cheika’s men to harness a siege mentality that was a pillar of Australia’s campaign four years ago.