Wallabies eye undefeated tour run - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies eye undefeated tour run

By Darren Walton 17/11/2009 07:08:13 AM Comments (0)

With no time to mope, the Wallabies have arrived in Edinburgh vowing to become only the second Australian side to complete an undefeated tour of the UK and Ireland.

Fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper still can't quite believe the grand slam dream is over following Australia's heartbreaking 20-20 draw with Ireland on Sunday, but says the Wallabies will quickly regroup and are already aiming for "second best".

Of the seven Australian teams to have attempted the grand slam, the Andrew Slack-led 1984 tourists remain the only Wallabies outfit to achieve victories over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Australia have a short six-day turnaround before facing Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday and then rounding out their British Isles campaign with a mid-week clash with Cardiff and the last Test against Wales at Millennium Stadium.

"It was not the result we were looking for on the weekend against Ireland, being a draw and having that empty feeling of no result," Ashley-Cooper said on Monday.

"It's been very quiet since the game. No-one officially has told me that it's over. I don't want to hear it and that's the way I'm approaching it - the grand slam's not over.

"It will be a second Wallaby team to go through undefeated and that'll be us.

"We've still got three games to play and we're undefeated and that's the way we want it to finish. It's very important to me and it's very important to everyone else in the squad." Ashley-Cooper is convinced the Wallabies are at the dawn of a special new era under coach Robbie Deans, who has rebuilt the side to the point where only five players remain from the infamous 2007 World Cup quarter-final loss to England in Marseilles.

Ashley-Cooper, five-eighth Matt Giteau, flanker and captain Rocky Elsom, hooker Stephen Moore and prop Benn Robinson survive in a touring group where the average age of the 35 players is just 24.

"The footy we're playing we're very happy with and we're building on that and we can feel it coming together," Ashley-Cooper said.

"Scotland is our next opportunity to keep building and progressing because this is the start of something. We all believe that.

"Hopefully we will keep improving as individuals and hopefully that will benefit the team in the long run."

Ashley-Cooper admits the Wallabies played more conservatively than usual against Ireland, kicking mostly for field position, rather than chancing their arm on counter-attack, in an attempt to keep the Six Nations champions at bay.

The classy fullback cut straight through, beating about four defenders, on the one occasion he ran the ball back, but says Australia's primary goal was to limit Ireland's attacking opportunities inside the Wallabies' red zone and to take five-eighth Ronan O'Gara out of the game.

"I thought we played smart footy," Ashley-Cooper said. "We kicked when we should have and ran when we should have."

"There was obviously an approach that we had against the Irish because we know how good they can be in our half, so field position was an important aspect of the game.

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