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Sharpe on alert for French sequel

Date

Georgina Robinson

"We know Italy is a very proud and passionate nation and a bloody hard team to beat" ... Nathan Sharpe, pictured in blue headgear.

"We know Italy is a very proud and passionate nation and a bloody hard team to beat" ... Nathan Sharpe, pictured in blue headgear. Photo: Getty Images

FLORENCE: The Wallabies will turn teetering faith in their ability to back up one good performance with another into motivation against Italy this weekend, Nathan Sharpe says.

As the search continues in the Wallabies camp for the key to long-term consistency at Test level, the veteran Australian captain indicated he was prepared to use good old-fashioned reverse psychology to prevent another ''France moment''.

''That's the reality of the situation for us, we know Italy is a very proud and passionate nation and a bloody hard team to beat,'' Sharpe said. ''But at the same time we realise there's expectation for us to go backwards and that's good for us to work with. The way we've come here, the guys are stuck into their work already.''

It worked against Argentina in Rosario last month and again two weeks later in Brisbane, when the Wallabies drew with an All Blacks side that had humiliated them twice earlier this year. Most recently, it worked at Twickenham against England, after a dismal outing against France. Sharpe said it was crucial players understood what motivated them personally and as a group, but were also prepared to show true grit when the going got tough.

''I thought we started really well against France, the first 30 minutes felt like we were in a good space, but particularly in Test matches when that moment comes and you can choose to come again, that was the difference,'' he said.

''On Saturday against England we played well at times, they played well at times too, but when things got hard we pushed back, whereas I think against France we probably weren't in the head space to do that.

''That's a reality of Test football, we've got a lot of young guys in this group and each week there's going to be times when things do get hard, but that's got to be when you push back at it.''

Sharpe said he was delighted by the Wallabies' show of character against England, where the Australian backs were able to move the ball around. ''First and foremost [there were] great conditions, but our breakdown was very good and we knew that going at what they perceived to be their strength would take a ding out of them,'' he said.

''The forwards were outstanding at scrum time - there was probably one or two scrums that we missed the hit a little bit and paid for - but our set-piece laid that foundation. We made them a bit weary and then when that happens there's a bit more space out wide.''

Sharpe also revealed he had had no contact with controversial teammate Quade Cooper, who this week has been the subject of speculation he was leaving Australian rugby after a tumultuous three months.

The 114-Test veteran said he was focused on solving the Wallabies' on-field problems and let Cooper's close friends within the team deal with the Reds five-eighth.

''I guess I thought there's more pressing issues within the team at the moment that we needed to get on top of so it wasn't for me to go down that path,'' he said. ''There's other guys in the team that fulfil that role, they're good mates with him and catch up with him regularly. The way that they handled that has been good up until this stage.''

Sharpe also said he had taken seriously Cooper's accusations of a cultural problem within the Wallabies.

''We spoke to a few people and had a look at the environment, we made our own assumptions and assessments, then we responded the way that we thought we needed to,'' he said. ''After that we had a couple of pretty good performances against Argentina and then New Zealand, so it's a shame that Quade felt that way.

''Certainly you don't want any player ever feeling like that, but that's the way it rolled out.

''And that's the thing about the Wallaby jersey, it's going to go on no matter who's wearing it.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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