Kurtley Beale is seeking World Cup redemption.
Kurtley Beale is seeking World Cup redemption.

Beale: All Black day still haunts me

FOUR years ago, I went to bed the night before the Rugby World Cup final believing the Wallabies' destiny was to be world champions the ­following day.

It still sticks in my mind to this day that we came up short against a great All Blacks side in that final.

Motivation? Sure it is.

I'd be lying not to say the dream is to make sure we go one step further this year but my mind is all about today, all about playing Fiji on Saturday in Sapporo.

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Kurtley Beale hits the gym in Odawara, Japan. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Kurtley Beale hits the gym in Odawara, Japan. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

You can't think any other way because a World Cup tournament is a completely different beast to anything else we strike in rugby.

All the hard training, all the tight bonds you must develop as a squad, all the hunger to play for each other and all the mental rehearsal to live in the moment, not just talk about it, has been taking shape for this exciting challenge over the next seven weeks in Japan.

Our only focus now is on game one and then it's all about momentum, all about being physically and mentally tougher than we were the game before.

 

Kurtley Beale says the Australians are relishing the underdog tag. Picture: Getty Images
Kurtley Beale says the Australians are relishing the underdog tag. Picture: Getty Images

 

There's a sense of being underdogs with all the talk about where we sit in the world rankings (No.6) as we enter this World Cup.

It's not a bad tag to have, I reckon.

Within the squad, there is a level of belief we are a great side but also an understanding that we must be better than the one that struggles with consistency in Tests back-to-back.

We are aware of that but you come to a World Cup and the past doesn't matter. Like I said, it's about momentum.

One of Michael Cheika's great strengths as a coach is to build "focus", so we are living in the present because the distractions of the World Cup can rattle any team if you let them.

Our pre-Cup camps in New Caledonia and at our Japanese base at ­Odawara were intense but always with times to switch off for enjoyment.

The Japanese are such lovely people that enjoyment will come easily.

Australians don't understand how rugby-mad the locals are.

We had fans come down from the former Japanese clubs of Adam ­Ashley-Cooper and Bernard Foley just to give them a small gift and support them at training.

Cheik said before our big win over the All Blacks in Perth last month that we should enjoy and embrace the Wallaby way and play with a smile on our faces. We do.

I've only seen Semi Radradra play on TV until now but we all know he has flair, size and speed.

 

Fiji's Semi Radradra will cause plenty of headaches for the Wallabies. Picture: AP
Fiji's Semi Radradra will cause plenty of headaches for the Wallabies. Picture: AP

 

Radradra is one threat but there are 14 other Fijians with the same capabilities.

That's how much respect we have for Fiji and playmaker Ben Volavola because he's had a good head on his shoulders since we played together at the NSW Waratahs.

It's a huge Test for us.

And believe me, whoever of our own Fijian-born players (Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Isi Naisarani and Marika Koroibete) get to play, they will be 100 per cent pumped for this.

I can't wait. Let's get the World Cup started.

News Corp Australia


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