Wallabies coach Michael Cheika embraces tag as enemy No. 1
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants his team to embrace its tag as the World Cup enemy, insisting they won't be distracted from their mission by the hype of their clash with hosts England.
The Wallabies were welcomed to their Bath base at a function on Wednesday morning New Zealand time.
But the well-wishes from locals only extended so far, constantly reminding the players they'll have their support until they play against England.
It has become a theme just two days after arriving in the United Kingdom, but the Wallabies continue to deflect the hype.
"We've taken everything in our stride so far, all the little challenges that have come our way," Cheika said.
"It will be a little bit different for us because we are in England's pool. Everything welcome and good luck will be tempered a bit. That's the way it's going to be on the field as well, we may as well get used to it.
"You're not going to sneak through this pool. If anything, it's more focused towards England. [People] are asking us about England, but all we're thinking about is Fiji."
The Wallabies started training at the University of Bath as they prepare for their opening clash against Fiji on September 24 New Zealand.
Players were presented with World Cup caps and participation medals at a ceremony in the Bath Assembly room before moving to the historic Roman Baths to kick-off their campaign.
Cheika is implementing morning meetings to ensure all his players are on the same page and monitoring training sessions to manage workloads.
"We've got a daily briefing every morning to tell the guys what we want out of the day," Cheika said.
"Just 10 minutes at the start of every day, making sure we're on top of requirements as well as footy outcomes. Right now it's about refining the small things.
"The groundwork has been done, it's about getting ready to be top performers on match day."
Cheika is aware of criticism of his team's forward pack, in particular the Wallabies' performance at scrum time.
"I think [England's World Cup-winning coach] Clive Woodward said there were four or five [English] club rugby props that would make the Australian team before our props," Cheika said.
"The perception is there, it's up to the opponents to [try to] push us around on game day."
The Wallabies rested their first-string line-up for the one-off Test against USA two weeks ago to ensure he has a fully-fit roster for the opening week.
Cheika said having 1999 World Cup-winners Stephen Larkham and Nathan Grey as part of his coaching staff provided a massive benefit for the team's preparation.