Rugby World Cup
Tough love what Wallabies needed before Rugby World Cup
September 9, 2015
The Wallabies have been pushed through their paces at Notre Dame University © Alyssa Schukar for ESPN

Adam Ashley-Cooper has played 108 Tests over a decade and never experienced a tougher preparation with the Wallabies. But the evergreen outside back says the intense work, coach Michael Cheika continues to pour into his squad in camp at Notre Dame University in the US is boosting confidence that they can produce something special at the Rugby World Cup.

As well as the gruelling physical work, the coach has been stressing mental strength to ensure his team can play through the tough moments in big games.

"This is certainly the hardest I've worked in preparation for Test match footy," said Ashley-Cooper on Tuesday. "I'm very familiar with it, obviously with the NSW Waratahs [under Cheika] and it got me to a [Super Rugby] premiership, so you can't really doubt the program or doubt his coaching approach because they certainly work."

Cheika's Wallabies: Hope of a nation

The work done on the Wallabies' mental game has already served them well in winning the Rugby Championship this year with wins over fellow World Cup powers South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand.

"That's something that's very important," he said. "It serves teams very well in World Cup stages when there's a lot of pressure and you're in those dark places in terms of moments in Test match footy. It's something that the squad is improving on and it's going to help us later on."

While Cheika's consistent changing of the starting lineup, in order to assess players and combinations has made selection predictions more difficult than usual, Ashey-Cooper seems certain to command a wing starting spot after again excelling in 2015. Heading to his third World Cup at age 31, Ashley-Cooper dares to dream of leaving the biggest stage victorious.

"Obviously with my two previous World Cups [2007, 2011] there's been a lot of disappointment there. I think for me it would would just be like a fairytale ending."

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