Australia coaches accidentally reveal game-plan notes for World Cup final
Australia have blundered on the eve of Saturday's World Cup final by accidentally revealing elements of their game-plan for dethroning New Zealand.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika and his assistant Mario Ledesma gave away the information at the captain's run at Twickenham by conspicuously holding pieces of paper carrying details that were intended to remain secret.
Among the instructions to their players are to "expose" wings Nehe Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea under the high ball or in the backfield and "rattle" number eight Kieran Read at restarts.
The notes, which cover both sides of the sheets of paper although only one page is visible, are broken up into different sections that cover kick-offs, defence and attack.
Influential number eight and World Rugby player of the year nominee David Pocock is told to hold off when Australia are taking a kick-off by not targeting All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter - "no Carter rage".
The looming aerial battle at Twickenham - New Zealand's tactical kicking led by Carter is outstanding - is teed up by the words "own the air space, catch everything, chase everything, escort wingers!!!".
Australia's coaches have also poured over their Rugby Championship rivals' attacking game in pursuit of becoming the first nation to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a third time.
The notes state that Carter runs "right to left", "Nonu steps back on the inside" when defensive line speed is rapid and calls for a "turnover spark in attack and defence".
A string of words illustrate Australia's focus when in possession, although several of the instructions are fairly generic.
The Wallabies are urged to attack the gain-line and generate speed when on the front foot, to keep their shape and, should they plunder a turnover, to kick long if there is space available.
Milner-Skudder and Savea are clearly thought to offer profitable avenues for exploitation on New Zealand's flanks.
The wings are devastating with the ball in hand, but the notes outline the belief that they can be targeted with high balls or through kicks to the backfield.
Australia are New Zealand have each lifted the World Cup on two previous occasions, resulting in Saturday's winners being recognised as the most successful nation in the tournament's history.