Rugby World Cup: Assistant coach says Portugal have to play ‘almost perfect game’

Portugal must play “an almost perfect game” to achieve “very good things” against Australia at the 2023 Rugby World Cup France, assistant coach Luis Pissarra said on Saturday in Saint-Étienne, moments after the Portuguese team’s ‘Captain’s Run’.

In a press conference in Saint-Étienne, the coach recalled that at the beginning of the World Cup “this was a game that the rugby world questioned how many Portugal would lose” and acknowledged that “with the (eventual) departure of Australia many questions arise” but insisted that the ‘wolves’ have to “keep their feet firmly on the ground”.

For very good things to happen in this game, we had to make our game almost perfect, with very few flaws. We have to minimise our mistakes as much as possible, because Australia is going to punish them a lot. If they can do it with their game alone, if we make mistakes and help them, then it will be even worse,” Pissarra said at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Portugal’s opponents may enter the field already away from the quarterfinals, for the first time in 10 editions of the World Cup, but Pissarra has “no doubts” that “for all the attack that has been made on the Australian team, they will have to attack” the Portuguese team.

We’re going to have to be very strong, very aggressive. We have to be able to hold them as much as possible so that then we can have some peace of mind in our game and be able to do what we know how to do well,” said coach Portuguese.

On the other hand, Pissarra admitted that “when the competition started”, this was a game that the Portuguese team would “take differently”, but due to “how things went not only for Portugal, but also for Australia, everything had to adapt”.

Fortunately that did. It’s a good sign, especially for us. So let’s face this game like the others. We’ll go to compete and then we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Alongside the coach, winger Rodrigo Marta recalled that “Australia is a great power” but took on the personal goal of “winning a game”.

I don’t know if it’s going to be against Australia or Fiji, it would be a big dream. If it has to be against Australia, it will be, because we worked really well this week, we analysed the weaknesses and we will attack them hard. But we know they’re going to do the same, so it’s going to be a big game,” the future Coulommiers player predicted.

For his part, third-row David Wallis admitted that Australia “mentally, as a team, are not at their best” and that if Portugal “come in well” and the Australians “can’t play their game, they won’t be as good as they could be” if they were still fighting for qualification for the quarterfinals.

We’ll work on their weaknesses, which we looked at during the week, see if they stay there. If we can get inside their heads and be on top of the game, then we can think further and, if possible, win,” the striker admitted.

Portugal face Australia on Sunday in the fourth round of Group C of the Rugby World Cup France 2023 scheduled for 16:45 (Lisbon time) at the Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium in Saint-Étienne, refereed by Georgian Nika Amashukeli.

The Portuguese team, guided by Frenchman Patrice Lagisquet, ‘off’ in the first round of the competition, lost to Wales (28-8) in the second round and drew with Georgia (18-18) in the third.

After the game with Australia, the ‘Wolves’ still have a match scheduled with Fiji on October 08, which closes the group stage of France 2023.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup France started on 08 September and runs until 28 October.