Connolly: ‘Only the best for Japan’

There will be no let-up for Japan when they face Australia in their opening match of the World Cup, Lyon on September 8. Wallaby coach John Connolly insists he will fielding a full-strength side against the tournament minnows.

The Aussies have not played a Test since the Tri-Nations loss to New Zealand in Auckland on July 21, instead opting for intense training camps and a week-long army-style boot-camp in the Queensland outback.

As a result, Connolly believes Australia’s first XV need to get back into the thick of things against Japan to prepare for Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on September 15.

“We’ll pick close to our best side for Japan and we’ll run with that for the Wales game,” said Connolly.

“We’ll take stock again after that where we go.”

The Wallabies will leave cool and mild conditions in Sydney on Thursday to go to their pre-World Cup camp in Portugal with the aim to acclimatise to the expected warmer conditions in France.

“We expect it to be hot over there at this time of year, about 28 degrees,” said Connolly.

“A lot of the players have had experience over there before, especially at the Stade de France, so they know what to expect and we want to be prepared.”

Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock was impressed with Wales’ performance in the 27-20 win over Argentina on Saturday and claimed his team needed to use the opening Pool B match against Japan to bring themselves up to speed for the crucial preliminary-round clash with Wales.

“In our pool matches obviously our hardest one will be the Wales match at Millennium Stadium so it’s all about making sure in our first match against Japan we hit the ground running and get into our rhythm and then build upon that for that second match,” he said.

“I think the majority of the guys in the squad have had experience playing at the Millennium Stadium but a home match in the World Cup is a massive advantage for them.

“But we’ve had experience there, we’ve had a narrow win and a draw, so we know we have to play very well to get a win there.”


365 Digital

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