World Cup not a Wallaby focus

Two of Australia's star men insist the Tri Nations is currently their sole focus. [more]

World Cup not a Wallaby focus

Two of Australia’s star men insist the Tri Nations is currently their sole focus.

The World Cup kicks off in a fortnight’s time, with the Wallabies due to face Ireland Italy, Russia and the United States in Pool C.

But before they head to New Zealand for the latest global gathering, Robbie Deans’ men hope to celebrate a major milestone in their long-term aim to become the best side on the globe.

Victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane would hand the Wallabies a first Tri Nations title in 10 years. And after a decade of playing second and third fiddle to New Zealand and South Africa, new skipper James Horwill and star scrum-half Will Genia insist success on Saturday is all they are thinking about.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing against, the focus hasn't really been on the World Cup at all this week," said Horwill, who took over from Rocky Elsom as Wallaby captain eight days ago.

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"There's been nothing mentioned on it. It's about the Tri Nations.

"This is a massive tournament and it's probably the biggest tournament in the world, bar what is happening in a World Cup year, so it's a big tournament for us."

Those sentiments were echoed by Genia, who is desperate for his team to end their spell in the Tri Nations wilderness by producing a performance that matches some of the hype that preceded their recent defeat to the All Blacks in Auckland.

"There has been no mention of the World Cup within the camp," added Genia.

"We really want to win this tournament. We haven't won it in 10 years. We're in a very unique position in whoever wins this game wins the tournament.

"I don't want to come out and say 'we'll be better, we'll do this, we'll do that', we've just got to go out and do it.

"Sometimes we get caught up with saying too much and talking to much, rather than just going out and doing it."

The All Blacks head to Brisbane still reeling from defeat to South Africa last time out, although coach Graham Henry rested a host of big name players such as Dan Carter and Richie McCaw for the penultimate round in Port Elizabeth.

Australia’s most recent outing saw an impressive victory over the Boks on South African soil but a record of just one win in their last 12 encounters with the All Blacks points to an even tougher test this weekend.

With McCaw back on the openside flank for the All Blacks on Saturday, one area the Wallabies know they will need to make major improvements in is the breakdown.

"We spoke about that the last time we played in Auckland – that was an area we were pretty poor at and they got the better of us at," continued Horwill.

"They got a lot of front-foot ball from it and so that is any area we need to improve on and we did improve in our last outing against South Africa.

"But we feel that we need to be better again, because it has such a significance on the result of the game."

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