Larkham looks for spirit of 1999

Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham believes their current crop of World Cup-bound players possess similar qualities to the triumphant 1999 side. [more]

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Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham believes their current crop of World Cup-bound players possess similar qualities to the triumphant 1999 side.

The 33-year-old, who will play in his third World Cup, is currently preparing with the rest of the squad at a five-day training camp in Faro, Portugal, ahead of the France showpiece.

While over half the squad have not appeared at a World Cup before, 14 players have experience of playing on the biggest stage of all.

Scrum-half George Gregan takes part in his fourth World Cup and dynamic full-back Chris Latham will play in his third, while at the opposite end of the spectrum number eight Wycliff Palu and winger Adam Ashley-Cooper will play key roles in their first trip to the event.

Larkham is adamant the make-up of the squad is perfect for them to launch an assault similar to the one eight years ago.

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"I think there’s a good blend of experience and youth in the team at the moment. I think it’s very similar to the 1999 campaign," he said.

Along with Gregan, Larkham will retire from Test rugby at the end of the tournament and although not renowned for outward expressions of emotion, the fly-half admitted the realisation his career is about to end is a lot to take in.

He said: "Certainly after the tournament it’s going to be quite emotional, reflecting on the last 12 years and realising that I’ve been part of something very special which I’m well aware of at the moment."

The Wallabies play their first Pool B match against Japan in Lyon on September 8 – with matches against Wales, Fiji and Canada to follow.

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