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Why ‘fearsome Wallabies’ can win Rugby World Cup

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Convinced Australia has the talent to win the Rugby World Cup, new forwards coach Neal Hatley has welcomed the Wallabies’ daunting trip to Pretoria as the perfect season starter.


Australia open their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld on July 8 in the much-anticipated first game of Eddie Jones’ second tenure as Wallabies coach.

The Wallabies have lost their past seven Tests in South Africa and have never conquered the Springboks on the high veldt since first facing them in Pretoria 60 years ago.

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But Hatley, the South African-born scrum guru hand-picked by Jones to join his coaching team, is relishing the challenge and believes win or lose the Springboks will provide the Wallabies with an important barometer in this all-important World Cup year.

“It’s a great test,” he said.

“The Springboks, of course, always have two sets of front-rowers and are always ready to roll on and off so it’s pretty much as much in the deep end as you could get for this first Test.

“It’s probably what we would have wanted, to go away to Loftus, which is a real fortress for them. A game where Australia haven’t won before and take on the world champions.


“Yeah, it’ll give us a real good bar mark of where we are, what we need to do and where we need to keep improving. It’s fantastic.”


Hatley is adamant the Wallabies pack can take it to the very best in the world but consistency and mongrel is the key to providing the up-front platform to win the Webb Ellis Trophy.

“Eddie’s expectations are really clear. He wants a fearsome Wallabies pack,” Hatley said.

“He wants a pack that can scrum – and more – with the best of them.

“We don’t need any angels. We need to be attacking every set piece that we can.”

Hatley worked under Jones with England for four years leading up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

He’s been privy to what gives the 63-year-old the Midas touch when it comes to mastering tournament play.


As well as guiding the Wallabies to the 2003 extra-time final loss to England in Sydney, Jones helped mastermind the Springboks’ 2007 World Cup triumph in France, plotted Japan’s historic victory over South Africa in 2015 and took England to the title match four years ago.

“I’ve never worked with anyone who’s more fastidious and analytical in his preparation and his planning,” Hatley said.

“In the previous World Cup that I worked with him there, the, the planning going into it was just next level.

“I want to work with people like that, somebody who pushes me every day to get the most other players every day.”

While there’s no doubting Jones’ coaching credentials, it’s the depth of the playing squad that continues to be the big question mark around Australia’s ability to contend for World Cup glory.

But Hatley also believes the Wallabies have the cattle on that front too.

“I know (Wallabies attack coach) Scott Wisemantel really well,” he said.

“I worked with ‘Wise’ so he was the first bloke I phoned and I asked what he thought (after being approached by Jones).

“And he said ‘100 per cent we can win the World Cup’. Otherwise he would’t have been involved.

“I look at the players, I see players who are really hungry. I think we’ve got the class.”


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Owen 399 days ago

Did I see Zane nongorr

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