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Australia's tactics blunder hands All Blacks advantage for World Cup final

Australia go into today's World Cup final against New Zealand having accidentally revealed elements of their game plan for the Twickenham showdown.

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 were 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 was visible, were broken up into different sections that covered kick-offs, defence and attack.

Influential number eight and World Rugby player of the year nominee David Pocock was 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 - was 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 stated that Carter runs "right to left", "Nonu steps back on the inside" when defensive line speed is rapid and called for a "turnover spark in attack and defence".

Shortly before Australia's blunder was exposed, Cheika had urged his team to leave their comfort zone and achieve greatness by toppling the All Blacks.

The rivals clash at Twickenham, with the winners to be recognised as the competition's most successful team by lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third time.

The Australian nation have thrown their weight behind the quest for the sport's biggest prize, with the Wallabies' green and gold colours projected on to the Sydney Opera House, accompanied by a call-to-arms of 'Go Wallabies'.

"You feel the support and have to make sure that you use it to push you on from being just comfortable," Cheika said.

"You can think, 'I'm in the final so it's all good', or you can go out and do something great. We don't want to be comfortable."


From Belfast Telegraph