Australia Ready to Match Powerful Georgian Forward Game

REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
Rugby Union – International – France v Australia – Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France – November 5, 2022 France’s Gregory Alldritt in action with Australia’s Dave Porecki

Australia are not thinking about their five-match losing streak as they head into their Rugby World Cup Pool C opener against Georgia in Paris on Saturday, with hooker Dave Porecki declaring that the squad environment “feels like a winning one”.

The return of coach Eddie Jones to the helm of the team at the start of the year has yet to bear fruit and having dropped several established players for the World Cup, he has chosen to blood a number of youngsters.

“It doesn’t feel like an environment that is 0-5 right now,” Porecki told reporters on Monday. “I guess we all understand the assignment for this year, which was to build and gel a new group.

“I genuinely feel like we are moving in the right direction. It doesn’t feel like a losing environment, but rather a winning one.

“We have a good group of young (players) in their first year and they are the ones you keep your eye on to make sure they fit into the system well. And they have so far.”

Australia lost 41-17 to World Cup hosts France in their final warm-up fixture late last month, but Porecki believes their forwards can take confidence from the performance as they matched the French at the set-pieces.

“We did well against France as a pack, which was a confidence booster,” he said.

“What would be better now is if we can back it up. Not just in the scrum but build up performances consistently to the point where we get into the final stages here (at the World Cup) hissing.”

Georgia, renowned for their strong forwards, will present an immediate challenge to that.

“A lot of their game is direct, set-piece, and they love the physical battle and close contact,” Porecki said.

“For us as a forward pack specifically, we have to be up for the fight.

“They are building in confidence as a team and why wouldn’t you, they have a good pack and can get front-foot ball and a clean set-piece. That is how you disrupt teams.”

Australia also have Wales, Fiji and Portugal in their pool.