Wallabies of today share the spirit of 1999 World Cup winners

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Scent of 1999: The 2015 Wallabies share the spirit of the group that won it all. Photo: Tim Clayton The Wallabies with the Webb Ellis Trophy following their victory over France in the 1999 Rugby Union World Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Wales on 6 November 1999. Australia won 35-12 SMH SPORT Picture by TIM CLAYTON Photo: Tim Clayton
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The Wallabies with the Webb Ellis Trophy following their victory over France in the 1999 Rugby Union World Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff Wales on 6 November 1999. Australia won 35-12 SMH SPORT Picture by TIM CLAYTON

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Former Australian Rugby Union president Phil Harry believes the spirit within today’s Wallabies is similar to what was in those who won the World Cup in 1999.

Harry’s son Richard played loosehead prop in the Wallabies side which beat France 35-12 in the 1999 final at Cardiff during his tenure as ARU president.

“The mood was that Australians can do anything if they get together and try it,” said Harry. “You can be cold-hearted professional and too serious. The team we had together there, the spirit of the people was fantastic.” And, with one eye on the Michael Cheika-coached Wallabies who will play this year’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham on Sunday (3am AEDT), Harry added: “That is about where we are now under Michael.

“I think he has been able to bring into rugby now the same sort of thing – believe in yourselves, be friendly together ??? all of that.”

The years before Cheika took over the Wallabies last November, the side struggled with myriad challenges on and off field.

But Harry believes during the last year the Wallabies squad has developed an internal culture that should remain the template for future generations of Wallabies to follow.

“You have to be very careful about the team spirit. One of the greatest things about rugby and all the team sports I’ve seen around the world is that word – team,” Harry said.

“You can’t make people like people they don’t know very well and they may not like for another reason, but to pull together as a team is the single biggest lesson.

“They are the people who win big things – when they all put themselves into the team situation and do everything they can for each other.

“They have to fit into the culture of the team. Rugby is fantastic in that regard, and Australian rugby is doing very well right now in that regard.”

Harry is also optimistic about international rugby after watching the World Cup.

“You see Japan beating South Africa and all these things, Argentina being there,” Harry said.

“Rugby is levelling out. Everyone is getting up there physically and with their ability to play the game.”

This just in …

Still a chance?: Daniel Lane in his Wallabies jersey. Photo: supplied

MEMO: Michael Cheika

RE: Player availability

Colleague Daniel Lane (above) is still on standby in Sydney and says he is good to go if needed. Yes coach ??? we’ve tried to bring him back to reality for weeks, but you know you can’t keep a keen man down. As for here on Points of Guinness, all I can say is: Have a great final. Go Wallabies!

What’s doing Wallabies

Fortune prevails with an afternoon rather than night-time kick-off for the World Cup final limiting time to think too much about the big game. Players will sleep in, focus on eating, hydrating, undergo strapping and a final team meeting before the very last bus ride to Twickenham – hoping to return as title winners.

Making news

‘Michael Cheika chokes on his own words,’ – In smh南京夜网419论坛 the Wallabies coach finally says the words ‘All Blacks’ at his press conference to announce his team for the final before making strangled noises and putting his hand around his throat.

‘All Blacks continue Wallabies charm offensive,’ – At his press conference, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was glowing in compliments for Australia in stuff.co.nz

They said it

“We’re not all guys who are camped out by the billabong with a cork hat. We’re different people that come together to make our lives better. That’s what Australia is about. In this team all we want to do is just have some of that in us as well as add our own piece to the puzzle, about that identity. Add our own flavour as well, try to add something to it. It’s about putting our bodies on the line for each other in the games and working hard for each other ??? the stuff people won’t see,” – Wallabies coach Michael Cheika at a press conference in smh南京夜网419论坛

What to watch

Saturday: 3rd-4th play-off: South Africa-Argentina at London 7am (AEDT)

Sunday: Final: New Zealand v Australia at London (3am AEDT)

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