Wallabies not satisfied just by making #RWC2015 final
Australia & New Zealand might be friendly neighbours but when it comes to sport, they are fierce rivals.
LONDON - Australia may have defied the gloomy expectations of a year ago to reach the final of the Rugby World Cup but they won't be satisfied unless they win it.
The Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been branded a saviour for taking a team that was in disarray 12 months ago to the final, but he insists that's no cause for celebration.
As his team begin their final preparations for Saturday's showdown against New Zealand at Twickenham, Cheika told reporters his players faced a simple question.
"If you want to be happy with just (making the final), yeah okay that's good, and we can go home and everyone will pat you on the back and say 'well done'. Or do you want to something different?"
"Do you want to go and have something you've got for the rest of your life? They're the choices to be made and I know what choice this team will make."
Cheika, the only coach to have won the major club or provincial tournaments in the northern and southern hemispheres, is acutely aware of the hype surrounding the match.
Australia and New Zealand might be friendly neighbours but when it comes to sport, they are the fiercest of rivals.
"That's what you play the game for, to sit in the dressing room and have that feeling of satisfaction that you all put in a massive shift for one another," he said.
"Whatever you play, you're not going out there to lose. That's the joy of the game. There are going to be 46 fairly pig-headed players out there on Saturday, trying to get the outcome they want."
Cheika did however warn his players not to get too caught up in the hype over the teams' rivalry, sticking to the coach's mantra of taking things one day at a time and focussing on their own performance.
"I'm still very new to the international coaching thing so I don't know if the rivalry is going to make any difference. It's the World Cup," he said.
"Any match you play and you are playing for your country, you are going to be doing your best. It's nice for all the supporters and everything but for us, it's about getting our own stuff right.
"We've stayed relatively introverted throughout the whole tournament in what we are doing. Getting caught up in all the other things just takes the impetus away from what we are trying to build up for ourselves."
The Wallabies are likely to go into the final as underdogs, having beaten the All Blacks just once in the 11 matches they have played since the last World Cup in 2011, which New Zealand won after defeating Australia in the semi-finals.
Apart from Saturday's semi-final where they beat South Africa 20-18 in a tense encounter, they have cruised through the tournament while the Wallabies have done it the hard way after being drawn in the same pool as England and Wales then battling past Scotland and Argentina in the knockout stage.
"We've been pretty much going knockout every week since we got here," Cheika said. "We understand we've got to play better, that's part of it.
"What we need to do is make sure when we talk about improving we know how to make that happen."
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