The Wallabies had a brush with World Cup espionage after security was forced to chase off a man hiding in bushes with a long-lens camera next to their training ground.
Australia have felt removed from all the serious World Cup hype in tranquil Bath, but that was shattered yesterday when a man with a long-lens camera was spotted by World Rugby security lurking in bushes adjacent to the field where they’ve been training at Bath University.
The session was private and the training field is surrounded by high fences with hessian. But the man was spotted in one mangrove-like area that has a view of the field.
The security officer alerted Wallabies staff who returned to the spot, but the camera-toting interloper scurried away before he could be spoken to.
The Wallabies were more bemused than outraged – no secret tactics were being used during the session – but with spying a reasonably common occurrence in international rugby, it provided Michael Cheika’s men with a timely reminder to remain vigilant.
Australian players are itching to get their World Cup campaign started after their first opponents on Thursday, Fiji, began their tournament with a gallant effort against England at Twickenham.
Fiji pushed England hard and trailed by only 18-11 in the second half.
England’s bench helped the hosts push away late in the game to secure a bonus point win.
With tier 1 nations almost feeling like endangered species, Australia saw enough of Fiji to know they’ll be hunting them with confidence in Cardiff.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game,” Wallabies lock Will Skelton said. “They threw a lot at England – some of it came off, some of it didn’t. I assume they will bring the same team against us.
“It’s going to be fast in the forwards, damaging carriers, and in the backs you’ve got guys like Nems [Nemani Nadolo] and Benny Volavola who really shift the ball and have a great kicking game. It’s going to be a good game.”
Asked if it was England stepping up or Fiji’s fitness failing them late, Skelton said it was “maybe a bit of both” and pointed towards Australia’s strong second-half efforts this year as being potentially important at Millennium Stadium.
* The Daily Telegraph UK