Fitness the key – Connolly

Australia head coach John Connolly is hopeful a punishing boot camp in the rugged Queensland terrain will give his side a winning edge heading into next month's Rugby World Cup. [more]

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Australia head coach John Connolly is hopeful a punishing boot camp in the rugged Queensland terrain will give his side a winning edge heading into next month’s Rugby World Cup.

The Wallabies squad are being pushed to the extreme in the same week-long army-style training camp the Australian cricket team endured before going on to claim glory in the West Indies earlier this year.

And Connolly is hoping that testing the entire squad, players and management included, will yield a similar result for his team in France.

"I think the players have done well so far," said Connolly. "It is only their third day and they have been put under a fair bit of mental and physical stress.

"But it is something that they will recover from fairly quickly and I think as a team exercise it has been worthwhile.

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"The coaches and the players are all in it together as in any team environment, and the interaction has been very strong.

"We changed the team captains everyday so we had junior players like Berrick Barnes as well senior players like (George) Gregan and (Stirling) Mortlock becoming squad captain, and they have been interacting very well."

With the Wallabies divided into six teams, individuals have had to rely on team-mates to achieve problem solving and physical tasks including midnight swims, abseiling and pushing an old car for a mile along an undulating sand trail.

Gregan indicated it was a valuable exercise to build confidence across the entire World Cup squad as they continue their preparations for the tournament.

"Straight away it builds spirit – not that spirit was lacking in this team – we have a special spirit within this group, but this will harness it more," said Gregan.

"We will have to wait and see (what effect it has) but we will be able to deal with adversity and we will have the confidence in each other to be able to do it.

"They (the Wallabies support staff) are the unsung heroes of the team, I know from experience that I wouldn’t be where I am without the great medical staff here.

"All of those guys have been in there doing all the hard work, the push-ups and stuff, and it means a lot because you know that they will be able to do what they have to do at the World Cup – they will be working hard."

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