ARU boss happy with Wallabies' progress - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARU boss happy with Wallabies' progress

By Adrian Warren 13/09/2010 07:43:15 PM Comments (0)

Buoyant Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill says the Wallabies have overcome their perceived weaknesses and he is very positive about their World Cup prospects next year.

Australia finished their 2010 Tri-Nations campaign in second spot with a mediocre 2-4 win-loss record.

However the development of some exciting young backs and the encouraging performances in Australia's last two Tri-Nations games in Bloemfontein and Sydney have convinced O'Neill the Wallabies are on the right path.

"I think from where we were to where we've come, the improvement is quite distinct," O'Neill told AAP on Monday.

"As a collective they are really coming together. Rocky Elsom is growing in the captaincy job extremely well.

"Given the injuries we've had, some really significant impact players were not available.

"But look at Quade Cooper, look at James O'Connor, look at Kurtley Beale, throw in Matt Giteau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Drew Mitchell.

"And the forwards ... a lot of our perceived weaknesses have been overcome.

"The scrum is good, the lineout is good, the restarts are getting better.

"All the signs are very positive. I'm very proud of them and I think we're heading in the right direction."

The normally forthright O'Neill was a little less bullish when asked whether Australia could win the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

"We are going to be very competitive," was O'Neill's succinct reply.

He was optimistic about rugby's future, with an expanded 15-team Super tournament starting in 2011 following a year of more entertaining Super and Tri-Nations competition.

"I think the timing of this (the Super expansion) is perfect, it's in a World Cup year," O'Neill said.

"We've got a marvellous opportunity set up for us in 2011 for rugby to make a significant move."

Asked if the increased quantity of Super games would be matched by a rise in quality, O'Neill said: "We will soon find out. I believe it will, the quality of rugby this year has been outstanding."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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