Chasing glory: The Wallabies have a chance to make World Cup history this weekend when they face arch-rivals New Zealand in the final. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty ImagesEvery Wallabies player has their own story to tell about making the final against the All Blacks.
1. Scott Sio: “It’s crazy that 24 years ago I was being born during a World Cup and now I’m playing in the Rugby World Cup final. Back in 2003 I was just a young kid going up to the likes of George Gregan, Stephen Larkham, Lote Tuqiri and asking them for their autograph. Now I’m here in the Olympic gold medal match of rugby.”
2. Stephen Moore: “I am excited. It’s a dream to get this opportunity. A lot of work goes into getting this opportunity. But the minute that you’re looking back at that, you’re standing still. I’m not allowing myself to do that. We’ve got a clear road map for how we go about it.”
3. Sekope Kepu: “The team’s grown and I feel there’s a lot more love in what we do. Now, it’s about putting on the gold jumper and doing Australia proud.”
4. Kane Douglas: “We’ve come through some really tough games, but there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s a World Cup final and obviously all the boys are going to be up for it more than ever before.”
5. Rob Simmons: “It’s another knock-out round, winner takes all. That’s what we did and for people who played in other ones, that’s what you focus on. You don’t try to look at the bigger picture or it will overwhelm you.”
6. Scott Fardy: “Belief is a big part of the game and you’ve got to go there with the utmost belief that you’re going to walk away with the trophy. That’s what we’re going to do.”
7. Michael Hooper: “There’s 31 guys here who would give their left leg to be playing on Saturday. That’s been the mentality from the word go. Even the coaches would probably run out there if they could.”
8. David Pocock: “The 1995 World Cup final really did something for me. For me, as a kid watching the World Cup was such a big thing and those are the guys you idolise and you love watching in every game. Now I’ve got an opportunity to be here playing and be a part of that history. It’s such an amazing opportunity.”
9. Will Genia: “I never had ambitions, I never realised I wanted to be a rugby player until one of my high school coaches, Chris Lane, said to me: ‘You could actually make a go of this’. I laughed at him and said: ‘You’re kidding, I’m just a battler’. My journey has taken me this far and presented me with this opportunity so I want to make the most of it.”
10. Bernard Foley: “I think this will be the highlight of my rugby career. It’s something I’ll look back on and as a kid when I was growing up during the 1999 World Cup, I was really inspired by the Wallabies. For me, it’s replicating that and hopefully I can inspire 12-year-olds to get up, get them excited and passionate about the Wallabies.”
11. Drew Mitchell: “There’s a lot going on around it in the periphery, but when we’re here it’s all very matter of fact. Just because it’s a bigger stage doesn’t mean to say you’re a different player. It’s a pretty cool sort of position to be involved in, but you’ve got to make sure you take the opportunity that’s in front of you.”
12. Matt Giteau: “It’s a journey we have been set on for some time now. Every match at this Rugby World Cup has been a final, so not a lot changes in terms of our preparation and how we go about things.”
13. Tevita Kuridrani: “There’s a good feeling in the team and something we are all working hard to create right now. Cheik has really made us feel this way. You see it in games, we really work hard for each other and our families back home.”
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper: “It means everything. It’s the biggest tournament of anyone’s career. It’s the pinnacle of the game and to be part of a Rugby World Cup final, there’s no bigger moment.”
15. Israel Folau: “The beauty of this is that you forget about injuries. This is the experience of a lifetime. To be a part of this, I feel pretty lucky to be one of many players to say that I’ve been part of a World Cup final. This is the biggest game of my career, it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”
Coach: Michael Cheika: “We want to make it the game we want it to be. If you soak it up, that means we came here just to be happy in the final. If you want to be happy with that that’s good and we can go home, everyone will pat you on the back. Or do you want to do something different? Do you want to go out there to create something you’ve got for the rest of your life? I know what choice this team will make.” ???
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