At a time when Australian rugby stumbles from one disaster to the next, avoiding the pool of death at the 2019 Rugby World Cup is welcome relief.
Unlike 2015 when Australia had to overcome England and Wales in their pool, the thought of facing Wales and Georgia this time around in Japan is not so confronting.
However, it is not exactly the “dream draw” some are making out.
A threat to Australia could come from one of the teams not yet qualified. The last two spots — Oceania 1 and Americas 2 — will not be known until next year, with the most likely scenario being that Fiji and either the U.S. or Canada will fill those spots.
Oceania 1 is where the problem could arise — as Fiji, Samoa or Tonga each will look upon Australia as the game in which they can show they deserve better status than their current position whereby they are constantly ignored by their nearest big neighbours. It will be Oceania 1’s grudge match, and one Australia should never take lightly.
Admittedly Australia beat Fiji 28-13 during the 2015 pool stage, but an Oceania team should never be underestimated. Remember 1991 Wales and Samoa.
Where there is comfort in the fact that Australia have beaten Wales on the past 12 occasions, seven of those victories have been tight. And Georgia, whom Australia have never played, are an unknown.
Michael Cheika speaks to the media during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw at the Kyoto State Guest House. Dave Rogers – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images
That’s why Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wasn’t hitting the sake after the draw, held in Kyoto. He kept pushing the point that it wasn’t as fantastic a draw as some were making out.
“They won’t be easy games,” Cheika said. “Everyone gets asked these questions but when you are out there singing the anthem, it is 0-0 and all bets are off. The minute you stop thinking like that is the minute you are dead in the water.
Michael Cheika is refusing to take comfort after his Wallabies were handed a seemingly saloon passage through to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Eddie Jones’ team will have to do it the hard way if they are to win the Rugby World Cup in two years time.
“Four years ago, people might have said when we were drawn against England and Wales that we had a tough draw, but as it turned out that turned out best for us.”
Cheika has to take that line. His Wallabies are so unpredictable, often losing the easy ones, and picking themselves up to win the supposedly un-winnables. And when a coach has only a 55 percent Test success rate, he can’t beat the drum too loudly because his players will let him down when least expected.
News, exclusive opinion, video to your inbox
Sitting next to Cheika at the draw was England coach Eddie Jones, whose team are again in the pool of death — with France and Argentina. But that’s the way Jones likes it. Doing it the hard way, and so being able to keep the pressure on his players.
The World Cup draw wasn’t the only highlight of the Kyoto visit. World Rugby also wisely decided to extend the eligibility waiting period for Test nations from three years to five.
The regulation change from 2021 will stop numerous northern hemisphere countries from luring those from the south for a relatively short time before making them Test representatives. Now those wanting to switch nations must spend 60 consecutive months in their new country. Good move.
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/19353495/wallabies-rugby-world-cup-draw-welcome-relief-no-dream-run-greg-growden
RWC draw welcome relief but no dream run
www.espn.co.uk – RUGBY