Australia focused on World Cup opener against Fiji

Australia's assistant coach Nathan Grey

Australia’s assistant coach Nathan Grey says that they will not be under-estimate
Fiji in their Rugby World Cup opening match on Wednesday next week.

Fiji will start the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham in London on but then face
a sharp turn around to face Australia at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium next week.

Grey was part of the Rugby World Cup squad that won the world cup in 1999 and
he says that it is to Australia’s advantage that they start late and are given
a chance to gauge the level of Fiji.

Fiji go into the tournament as Pacific Nations Cup winners and in 2007 they
reached the quarter-finals.

“We get to have a good look at them,” the 35-time capped centre acknowledged.

“They’ve also had a couple of warm-up games as well with the Pacific Nations
Cup, there’s a lot of footage for us to have a look at and in terms of any surprises,
we’ll see what happens on Friday night, which will be a great opener for the

“It’s a positive to watch them play before us.”

Grey added that the Wallaby analysts would be busy after Friday’s match.

“There’s no doubt their game will be watched and cut up so we have the
benefit of watching all that,” he said.

But Grey warned that Fiji would be a handful for any side, adding that it made
for a tough Pool A also including Wales and with only two teams automatically
qualifying for the quarter-finals.

“Fiji’s history at the World Cup speaks for itself,” he said.

“They’ve obviously got a lot of skill across their whole side.

“Some guys who you think haven’t got a lot of skill, when they do put
on that white jersey they become freaks!

“And they’ve got a lot of experience in their team around guys playing
in Europe, having that experience of Super Rugby-level at European rugby over

“They’ve got a real strength of experience in their team and then a few
guys who can come in and light things up.”

Grey said that not too much would be given away as regards gameplans, with
most teams already playing set patterns available for all to see, and with most
of their star players also being fielded.

“There’s obviously going to be tweaks in terms of gameplans, but overall
all sides in their preparation leading into this World Cup are going to have
90 percent of their game set in stone and then it’ll just be a matter of tinkering
here and there,” he said.

“And I don’t think we’re going to be any different.”

Toulon playmaker Matt Giteau, back in the Wallaby mix after Australian rugby
chiefs relaxed eligibility rules on overseas-based players, said having Grey
and fellow World Cup winner Stephen Larkham on board as assistants under head
coach Michael Cheika was a real bonus.

“They add a lot and they know what it’s like to win a World Cup,”
Giteau said.

“We are chasing that. The biggest thing for us is consistency. To be good
at training and consistently playing well.

“To have those guys around with their knowledge and expertise, even the
smallest details that they train and give us, adds a lot.”

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