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Harry reckons Wallabies can party like it’s 1999

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: James Slipper of Australia in action during a training session at The Lensbury Hotel on October 13, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: James Slipper of Australia in action during a training session at The Lensbury Hotel on October 13, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) Dan Mullan

FORMER world champion prop Richard Harry believes this year's Wallabies outfit reminds him of the star-studded 1999 one he was a part of, and has backed Australia to "bring back Bill" in 2015.

In their bid to win back the William Webb Ellis trophy, the men in gold face their next test in the quarter-final against Scotland at Twickenham on Monday morning (AEST).

They are heavily favoured to win and advance to the semi-final, after victories in their past two encounters in impressive fashion against England and Wales.

The Wallabies displayed title-winning qualities in defence in their 15-6 win over the Welsh, which took them to the top of Pool A - known as 'The Pool of Death'.

Winning that group gave the Wallabies a favourable draw in the knockout stages - if they beat Scotland they will also be favoured to beat either Argentina or Ireland in their semi-final.

In the win against Wales, the Aussies made 134 tackles to 84, defending stoutly when reduced to 13 men, after Dean Mumm and Will Genia were yellow carded.

The defence the Wallabies displayed against Wales reminded 1999 World Cup winner Harry of some champion qualities which were evident in that team.

6 Nov 1999: Richard Harry of Australia kisses the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Final of the 1999 Rugby World Cup against France played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Australia won the game 35-12. \ Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport
6 Nov 1999: Richard Harry of Australia kisses the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Final of the 1999 Rugby World Cup against France played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Australia won the game 35-12. \ Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport Ross Kinnaird

"This team's on a great trajectory - can they win it? Yes they can," he told APN. "In 1999 our catchcry was 'our destiny is in our own hands' and this year's team is very similar.

"World Cups are about reaching your full potential in the big games and the Wallabies are building plenty of momentum."

Harry said he wasn't surprised with the dramatic transition the Wallabies had made under coach Michael Cheika in the space of just 12 months after Ewen McKenzie resigned in October last year.

Cheika made the shrewd decision to bring in former Argentina hooker Mario Ledesma as forwards coach and the decision has paid dividends.

The Australians - in particular Brumbies prop Scott Sio - have been particularly strong with their scrummaging at this tournament.

"Sio has been phenomenal and for a young guy (23) he's shown great technique and maturity," Harry said.
"The Wallabies needed a scrum expert and Ledesma has come in and made the tweaks they needed to have."

Harry did warn the Wallabies against complacency against Scotland, which will be without suspended hooker Ross Ford and second-rower Jonny Gray after appeals against a ban for a tipping tackle were thrown out.

"The game is Australia's to lose and Scotland will throw everything at them," Harry said.
"But Cheika has showed he's someone who never lets complacency creep into his teams."

Topics:  rugby wallabies world cup


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