SHOWS: TOKYO, JAPAN (JULY 18, 2019) (REUTERS -ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY UNION CAPTAIN, RICHIE MCCAW, SAYING: "Knowing Australians like I do, they are competitive, hugely competitive and they will get themselves in a good situation to compete.
They have got ability to win games against everyone.
So, you don't want to write them off at all.
And I think sometimes where people have not talked about them a lot leading up to this (the World Cup), that's the best thing you can be.
You just come in and surprise everyone.
But from a New Zealand point of view, you're never a surprise that they front up.
It's their competitive nature or something; they always come out and show that four years ago that they made it to finals, probably out of a pool that was really tough and it was a big final for us (in 2015)." 2.
FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY UNION CAPTAIN, RICHIE MCCAW, ON STAGE DURING JAPAN TOURISM EVENT 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY UNION CAPTAIN, RICHIE MCCAW, TALKING ABOUT FORMER AUSTRALIAN PLAYER ISRAEL FOLAU, SAYING: "Without getting into the debate around who is right or wrong, I just think it is sad for Australian rugby that you are not talking about what Wallabies are going to do, you are talking around things and probably taking that away.
But hopefully once the Wallabies get playing, and they get into Rugby Championship and then to the World Cup, talk around what they are doing from rugby point of view then, as I say, without getting into who is right or wrong or whatever, it is just sad for rugby in general." STORY: Australia have the potential to cause yet another Rugby World Cup surprise later this year in Japan, according to former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.
Speaking on Thursday (July 18) at an event looking ahead to the tournament, McCaw, a two-time World Cup-winner, said he expects Australia to come good at the tournament, despite having won just four of their 13 games last year.
"Knowing Australians like I do, they are competitive, hugely competitive and they will get themselves in good situation to compete," McCaw told Reuters.
Australia have been drawn in a potentially tricky Pool D with Six Nations champions Wales and the vastly improved Fiji in Japan and will enter the tournament without the country's three-time player of the year Israel Folau.
Folau was sacked after being found guilty of a high-level breach of Rugby Australia's code of conduct after he posted on social media that hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, among other groups.
New Zealand begin their quest for a third consecutive Rugby World Cup against old rivals South Africa in a titanic opening Pool B clash in Yokohama on Sept.