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Wallabies primed for World Cup redemption

By Darren Walton 20/09/2011 05:43:55 PM Comments (0)

A brutal truth session has the Wallabies primed for Rugby World Cup redemption against the United States on Friday night.

The Wallabies were forced to relive the nightmare of Saturday's upset loss to Ireland one more time before shifting their focus to another physical encounter with the Americans in Wellington.

Australian selector David Nucifora said analysing the team's failings on video footage of the painful weekend defeat may have been painful but also necessary.

"It's not pretty viewing and not the most enjoyable part of the job for the players or coaches to review those performances but you get a lot out of it and that's important," Nucifora said.

"You don't look to point the finger at anyone. It's a matter of the team collectively understanding what didn't go well and what did go well and fixing the things that didn't work for us.

"It was there for everyone to see - what happened - so we know where we've got to get better...You can't shy away from that."

No doubt players cringed but injured winger Digby Ioane said it was important to be honest with one another during the video session.

"It was a bit hard," Ioane said. "But we deserved it. We didn't match Ireland on the night.

"All the boys are hurting. Of course there's a lot of hurt because it was a frustrating game to watch, also for the coach."

One area of the game where Nucifora didn't agree with the doomsayers was Australia's scrum, which conceded five penalties that ultimately led to Ronan O'Gara and Jonathan Sexton booting Ireland to victory.

"Our scrum's gone well this year. We put the All Blacks and Springboks under a lot of pressure and dominated them in recent matches so that's not an issue for us," Nucifora said.

"The Irish scrummed well the other night, we scrummed inconsistently and what we have to fix is our consistency and our application to that."

The USA pushed Ireland all the way before losing 22-10 in their opening World Cup game and then outmuscled Russia 13-6.

The Wallabies are expecting another committed performance from the Americans on Friday.

"I think they've shown that already - physical commitment, they'll throw everything into us, into this match," Nucifora said.

Deans will announce his team on Wednesday, with first-choice goalkicker James O'Connor (hamstring) joining fellow winger Ioane (broken thumb) on the unavailable list and star flanker David Pocock still in doubt after missing the Ireland loss with back stiffness.

O'Connor had an MRI scan on Tuesday afternoon that ruled out any serious damage and it's hoped he will be available for the Wallabies' final group game against Russia in Nelson on Saturday week.

His unavailability almost certainly means Drew Mitchell, Australia's top tryscorer at the 2007 World Cup in France, will make his first Test start of the year.

Nucifora said Pocock had shown "massive improvement" since last Saturday, but the Wallabies wouldn't risk him unless he was fully fit.

Possible Wallabies side: Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Rob Horne, Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, James Horwill (capt), Nathan Sharpe, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Salesi Ma'afu, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Rocky Elsom, Luke Burgess, Pat McCabe.

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