Panic? What panic, says Larkham

Outsiders may be alarmed about their World Cup chances, but the Wallabies are refusing to panic heading into the World Cup quarter-finals, fly-half Stephen Larkham said on Tuesday.

There has been considerable concern in the Australian press about the Wallabies’ prospects after their backs-to-the-wall 17-16 win over Ireland to set up a sudden-death quarter-final with Scotland in Brisbane on Saturday.

Larkham said it was those outside the team’s inner sanctum who were panicking, not the Wallabies.

“That’s the way it appeared ... what we talk about is the fact that it’s the World Cup, a one-point victory is good enough to go through to the next round and that’s all we have to do, keep winning matches,” he said.

“Obviously, there were a couple of aspects of our game (against Ireland) that we’re disappointed with, but it’s nothing to get bogged down on.

“We have to look at the positives and the positive is that we’re through to the quarter-finals, we didn’t come second in our pool, and we’re playing Scotland instead of France.”

Larkham admits Australia are struggling to adjust from the multi-phase style of play which won the 1999 World Cup.

“It has been difficult and that’s been shown in the results. We haven’t had the results we had leading up to last World Cup,” Larkham said.

“At times we feel that we need to get back to that multi-phase game but the refereeing and laws of the game won’t allow us to do that.

“You get frustrated at times in the fact that everything is so basic out there on the field but, at this stage in the World Cup, we’re just happy winning games and it doesn’t really matter how we play.”

Larkham said the Wallabies were wary of the under-performing Scots.

“We had a team meeting and were saying that these teams that hadn’t had the best form leading into the competition can certainly lift for these one-off games,” said Larkham.

“We’re expecting Scotland to be very difficult and we’re certainly not going to take them for granted.”

Coach Eddie Jones is expected to resist calls for major changes when he announces his team on Wednesday.
- Sapa-AFP

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