Rugby World Cup 2011
Horwill keen to focus on Wales
October 17, 2011
James Horwill feels the strain during Monday's press conference in Auckland © Getty Images
James Horwill believes that the Wallabies have no other option but to move on after being comprehensively beaten by the All Blacks in their Rugby World Cup semi-final showdown in Auckland on Sunday.
The Aussies never looked remotely like denying their hosts a place in next weekend's tournament decider against France and managed just a penalty from James O'Connor and a Quade Cooper drop goal as they came out on the wrong side of a 20-6 scoreline, All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu scoring the only try of a one-sided contest.
"It's still obviously bitterly disappointing that we didn't get the job done," Horwill said. "But that's sport, that's footy. We were beaten by a better side on the day and that's the reality of it."
The Wallabies would be forgiven for wanting to return home as soon as possible but Horwill is grateful for the fact that they have the opportunity to finish their campaign on a high when they take on Wales in the third-place play-off in Auckland on Friday night.
"I think it's a good thing that we're playing so soon because you can sit and dwell on these things now," he said. "But the fact that in four days' time we get the chance to pull on the jersey and finish this tournament off on a positive note is the thing that's going to drive us.
"A lot of work has gone into to getting to where we now. The whole group has put in a lot of effort and we want to finish this tournament on the right note and that's by finishing third."
Horwill admitted, though, that it will be difficult for him to raise spirits after the demoralising nature of their defeat by bitter rivals New Zealand.
"It's a difficult one. The boys were all visibly disappointed with the result," he said. "We came here to win this tournament and unfortunately that's not going to happen.
"But I was very proud of the guys throughout the tournament with the way they've carried themselves and the effort that's been put in by everyone, not just the players but by the management and all our support staff. "It's a big group here and we've spent a lot of time together..... but the reality is we've fallen one step short to a very good New Zealand side.
"The World Cup's a unique tournament. This is my first experience at it and it's certainly difficult to any rugby that I've played before and so that's probably the thing you learn from it.
"For a number of guys it was our first tournament. It's a different style of rugby and everything is amped up and I think we'll have to learn from this moving forward."
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