Tokyo — Australia’s under-fire coach Michael Cheika insists that the Wallabies will come out firing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, despite a wretched year of results. The two-time champions won just four of 13 Tests in 2018, but Cheika — who led Australia to the 2015 final — once again shrugged off criticism. “We will be in good shape when we need to be,” he said at the Australian embassy in Tokyo. “It’s going to be an open World Cup for sure, not just because of how the teams have performed leading up to here, but also because it’s in Japan. “It’s going to be very different, a different atmosphere at the games,” said Cheika, whose side have slipped to sixth in the world since he steered them to the 2015 World Cup final. “We’ve got a bit to do before then, but the players can’t wait and the lucky ones who get picked can’t wait to get on the plane.” Australia take on Fiji in Sapporo on September 21 in their pool D opener, before facing Six Nations grand slam winners Wales, Uruguay and ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now