Michael Cheika has invited David Campese into the Wallabies camp in Cardiff this week and the veteran wing has told his former team-mate that "Wales are there for the taking" in tomorrow's opening autumn international.
Campese was instrumental in getting Cheika into coaching, when he urged the former No 8 to apply for the post at Padova in 1999. From there, Cheika forged a garlanded career, becoming the only coach to win both the Heineken Cup (with Leinster) and the Super 15 (with the Waratahs) before stepping up into his country's hot seat after the abrupt departure of Ewen McKenzie three weeks ago.
Campese welcomed the appointment but believes success in the Millennium Stadium could be critical to his friend's hopes of making Australia a dominant force in next year's World Cup.
"Cheik's got a tough job - it's a year out from the World Cup and beating Wales will help," Campese said. "You don't want them to get a sniff. England is going to be a lot harder because we play them at the end of the tour. Wales are there for the taking. But you've got to make sure of the players and the depth, you need world-class players in every position."
Wales coach Warren Gatland himself spoke yesterday of the dangers of Wales being caught cold, saying "the jump from regional rugby to international rugby is massive and that's why we have shown an improvement in the past against the southern hemisphere sides as the weeks have gone on".
Cheika, however, was not about to fall into the trap of favouritism and rejected that notion and the fact that Australia have won their last nine matches against Wales. "I am not too worried about that record," Cheika said. "I am just looking at one win in a row. There is probably a bit of a consensus that it is not a matter of if it will happen, it is when Wales will beat us. A lot of people are not giving us much of a show in these matches if you read around through the UK. It is up to us to dig our heels in."
However, the 47-year-old was keen to emphasise that this will be his first match in charge in a "proper" Test after presiding over the 40-36 win against the Barbarians last Saturday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)