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Wallabies are world-beaters: Tuqiri

By Greg Buckle 23/10/2008 07:54:06 PM Comments (0)

Australian rugby winger Lote Tuqiri says the Wallabies are "world-beaters" but need to work on their mental game ahead of their Spring Tour of Hong Kong and Europe.

Tuqiri says the Wallabies are definitely capable of sweeping their six-match tour against rugby's powerhouses, starting with a Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Hong Kong on November 1.

The Wallabies depart on Monday for their Asian stopover and will travel on to Europe for clashes against Italy, France, England, grand slam winners Wales and star-studded invitational side the Barbarians at Wembley on December 3.

Tuqiri is still hurting over Australia's loss in the Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane last month when the Wallabies went down 28-24 to the All Blacks after leading 17-7 during the second half.

"(We didn't achieve) what we should have. That was disappointing," Tuqiri told AAP at the team's Manly hotel.

"The last game was there to be won and we didn't take it.

"That's one thing we've got to learn as a team that is building and maturing.

"At certain times in the game we've just got to stand up and make the play ...

"In the past month, there has been a lot of

work done on our physical ability and our mental ability as well.

"A few things let us down in that last game. Mentally, we let teams back in when we are ahead.

"Dropping the ball, just being focused for 80 minutes of the game."

Tuqiri, a dual international who switched codes in 2003, is driven to claim a World Cup title in 2011.

He says having Kiwi Robbie Deans in charge gives Australia's chances a huge boost.

"He knows and we know that we've got the ability to be world-beaters," Tuqiri said.

"But we've just probably lacked focus at times."

Asked if Australia could sweep the tour 6-0, Tuqiri said: "Oh definitely."

But the former Fiji rugby league captain added: "It's a big start with the All Blacks in Hong Kong. They're going to be really tough."

Tuqiri, 29, was a member of the Wallabies side which lost the 2003 World Cup final to England in Sydney and was also part of last year's failed campaign in France under John Connolly.

"One thing I haven't done in rugby is to win a big competition," the 66-Test veteran said.

"I've been close on both occasions with the

Super 14 with the Waratahs and playing in that final in 2003 against the English team.

"It's definitely a spur to get to New Zealand

(in 2011).

"It's good that we've got a long-term prospect in Robbie as a coach.

"It's good there's not a lot of differing opinions on different things and issues.

"We had John Connolly come in quite late before the last World Cup. It's still no excuse for not doing well.

"But it's good that Robbie is in here now and he's in here for a long time so that's good for Australian rugby."

Tuqiri is making solid progress in a bid to confirm his place on the plane for Monday's flight to Hong Kong.

The 103kg winger is recovering from minor knee surgery and has resumed running in the past week.

Tuqiri didn't train with the main group at Manly's Brookvale Oval but performed well and will need to prove his fitness again later this week.

"It would be nice (to play in Hong Kong) but I'm not going to push too hard," he said."

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