Jersey launched, Wallabies set course to 'move as one'

Move as one: It's a slogan that carries plenty of significance for the Wallabies after what has been a testing couple of months.

But as they emerge from the other side of Israel Folau fracas, a pre-World Cup camp where the issue was widely discussed now behind them, the attention is finally turning toward the tournament in Japan itself.

And the timely shift in narrative went up a gear on Wednesday as the Wallabies unveiled their World Cup strip at Sydney's Carriageworks; an alternate Indigenous jersey, which is Australia's away jumper for the tournament, was also revealed online.

While the "MOVE AS ONE" campaign, a representation of the "sheer grit and determination that it takes to achieve your goals", is the brainchild of apparel sponsor ASICS, it ties in nicely with an extended squad that was divided by the Folau episode but one that now hopes to set course for a successful tournament in Japan.

"Yeah the camp was really good, it was great to see the boys again in that light, being around each other and we had a really honest conversations with the whole situation with Izzy and that," Queensland Reds and Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi told ESPN. "We all obviously still care about Izzy a lot, and I've been a big voice in that, and I think it's important that we all shared that and we did.

"Obviously we all have different views on how things unfolded but we've spoken about it and we're trusting for all that to be sorted on its own timing. And for us it's about us moving forward now to this Rugby Championship coming up; obviously finishing the Super Rugby season really strongly and trying to get our Australian conference teams into the finals series...that build-up is going to be important for us."

Kerevi pointed to veteran Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu and his role in healing a previously fractured playing squad, and declared it was time for the team to come together as Australians.

"Like I said, it's really important for us to look forward; we're still hurting that we've lost a three-time John Eales medallist in our team, in terms of rugby," he said. "Izzy's a great player for us and you can't replace him, but we're trusting in the next guy in the team to do his job in terms of rugby stuff.

"Keps [Kepu] is a positive light for us [Polynesian players] and it's hard for him Izzy not being there, one of his closest mates. But it's not just Pacific Islanders, we're all Australians, in the Wallaby jersey, so it's [about] us being aligned for the goal that we do have this year."

Incumbent Wallabies captain Michael Hooper was front and centre at the jersey unveiling as he prepares to lead the team to a World Cup for the first time. Hooper admitted the Folau saga had been "hard to work with", given his role as captain of both the Wallabies and Waratahs, but he was confident it had been put to bed from both teams' perspective.

Hooper was also adamant back-row teammate David Pocock, who on Tuesday announced his immediate retirement from Super Rugby, will be right to lace up a new pair of ASICS boots -- which will buck the trend and be predominantly black if Wednesday's launch is any guide -- come September in Japan.

"Yeah I'm fully confident, the sacrifice he's [Pocock] making to make sure he's ready for that that is not a light one, particularly where the Brumbies are at with their season," Hooper told ESPN. "So it's pretty short odds that he'll be there; he always keeps himself in great knick and he'll be playing great rugby there. It's something that man can do is, off the back of not much rugby, is play outstanding rugby."

Australia's unlikely run to the final of the 2015 World Cup is proof that a strong showing is not beyond the Wallabies once again. Rocked by the Kurtley Beale WhatsApp scandal a year out from that tournament, and the coaching change that followed, Australia eventually fell just one win short of a third Webb Ellis Trophy.

Central to that success was fly-half Bernard Foley, the Wallabies playmaker ready to relay the experiences of four years ago should he earn selection later this year.

"What we take from it is that the World Cup is a different style, it's a tournament-style game and you just have to beat the teams in front of you; you don't have to be the No. 1 team in the world for four years, you just have to win seven games," he told ESPN.

"And that's what I'll be stressing to the lads and I'm sure that the coaching staff will be putting in the best program for the next three or four months to make sure that we are best prepared going into this World Cup."

While the jersey launch certainly makes the World Cup that little bit more real, there is the Super Rugby season, a shortened Rugby Championship and a final hit-out against Samoa to be played before Michael Cheika's final 31-man squad heads off for Japan.

Just how well the Wallabies are "moving as one" come September remains to be seen, but after Wednesday's unveiling they can at least begin to sense the looming excitement.

"As a rugby player, it's so clich├ęd, but we are week to week," Hooper said. "Yes, we're wearing the World Cup jersey here today, but there's still a lot of rugby and a lot of touring, a lot of travelling, to be done before we get there.

"My mindset is, and I'm sure the other players' mindset is, getting on that plane. So excited to play our best rugby; excited as an individual to play their best rugby on a great stage. I'm not worried about anything else."