‘I’m confident in my speed’ – Adam Ashley-Cooper

Date published: September 16 2019

Australia centre Adam Ashley-Cooper is confident that he can still handle the rigours of Test match rugby as prepares to play in his fourth World Cup.

The back turned 35 in March but Wallaby head coach Michael Cheika has faith in the former Brumbies player to do a job at the highest level.

Although Ashley-Cooper didn’t feature in the Rugby Championship, the utility player has been part of the 23-man squad for the past two games.

Both times he lined up at centre but since 2014 the Waratahs man has tended to be on the wing, including the 2015 World Cup.

Cheika, however, has a plethora of options at his disposal in the outside channels, which means that Ashley-Cooper is highly unlikely to be first choice, but the 35-year-old insists that he is ready should the head coach need him.

“I’m confident in my speed and my game at the moment, regardless of how old I am,” he told reporters. “I know I can still contribute in this environment so we’ll have to wait and see.

“I guess for me, more than anything in this World Cup, it’s just about making sure I’ve got my own game right.

“Making sure I remain competitive, making sure I have a mindset to grow and develop and get better and improve each day – that’s how I can contribute to the team building, making sure I’m taking care of my pieces of the puzzle.”

Australia have struggled for form since the last World Cup but there were signs against New Zealand, in a match they won 47-26, that the Wallabies were starting to get it right.

They are masters at peaking for the global tournament having won it in 1991 and 1999, and Ashley-Cooper is confident that the team are on the right path.

“We’ve got to win seven in a row to win a Rugby World Cup,” he added.

“I think if we focus each game on building momentum, what we’ve created so far and building on each performance, getting better each game and saving our best for last, that’ll put us in the best shape possible to win a Rugby World Cup.”