KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika was taking nothing for granted after being handed what looked like a peach of a draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup on Wednesday, when his team was grouped with Wales and Georgia.
The Wallabies have beaten Wales in their last 12 tests but Cheika, who led his country to the final in England two years ago, said complacency could be fatal in tournament rugby.
“When you’re standing out there and singing the anthem 0-0, all bets are off,” he said.
”The minute you stop thinking like that is the minute you get in the water.
“You’ve got to be targeting putting a team on the paddock that plays the absolute best in every game because that creates what we love to call momentum,” he said.
Australia have never previously played Georgia, who are renowned for their abrasive forward play. But Cheika said they were “on the up-and-up”.
The other two teams in Pool D are not yet known for certain but will be one of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa as well as either the United States or Canada.
Wales coach Warren Gatland, taking a break from preparations for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand that he will lead in June and July, was relieved that the twice semi-finalists had an easier pool than in England two years ago.
Then, they faced Australia, England, Fiji and Uruguay and reached the quarter-finals in second place behind the Wallabies at the expense of the host nation.
“Everyone is pretty much in the same boat, the sea looks rough, there are pros and cons about every group,” the New Zealander said.
“We’ll probably end up with Fiji or USA or Canada, so it will be a competitive group, but it will be a little bit better than 2015.”
Georgia coach Milton Haig, another New Zealander, said his side would need to learn to play a more expansive game if they were to get out of the pool stage for the first time.
“We are traditionally strong in scrums and line-outs,” he said.
“But to win three games, we need to win against the big boys and attack.”
Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by Hugh Lawson