(The Australia players and head coach Michael Cheika pose for a group photo before the captain's run ahead of their match against Georgia)[Getty/Kyodo]
SHIZUOKA, Japan - With Georgia's bags already packed for home and Australia staring down a likely quarterfinal with old foe England, Wallabies players have knockout stage playing time on their minds in Shizuoka.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has endeavored to build a competitive environment within his squad as he looks to get the best out of a team that, by their lofty standards, have underperformed.
"Consistency is something that has eluded us in the last few years and I feel like the competition between players has kept our standard of play (up)," said Cheika.
With a lot of first-15 turnover, including now three different combinations in four games at the key scrumhalf-flyhalf positions, the Australians have been kept on their toes.
"There is no lack of competition, guys have been really working hard, pushing for selection every day at training," said David Pocock, selected as Wallabies captain for the game on Friday at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.
"As players, you just see it as an opportunity. Someone might miss out but someone gets an opportunity to play in a Wallabies jumper and to stay there."
The halves this time are Nicholas White at No. 9 -- his third game starting behind the pack -- with Matt To'omua at No. 10. The player most likely to slot into flyhalf for the quarterfinals, Christian Lealiifano, is on the bench.
With the chance to take a swing at traditional rivals and Pool C winners England awaiting, there is no lack of motivation.
"Competition is tough." said Pocock. "It is exciting having depth and it is something that we are going to need over the next few weeks."
Although Georgia have only one win and are coming off a heavy 45-10 defeat to Fiji, they will not be push-overs by any means.
Their robust scrummaging and generally hard-hitting forward play could leave some bruises on an Australia team with tournament-winning aspirations.
"You take any team lightly at your peril, as you have seen at this tournament," said Pocock.
"We know how good they are around the set piece, they relish it. Their forward pack likes to rumble it forward and that is a big threat for us to deal with."
The Georgians' tendency to keep it close may also prove an advantage with the weather likely to be getting a little wild on Friday with Typhoon Hagibis bearing down on this part of Japan.
Kiwi coach Milton Haig, who is piloting Georgia for the last time in Shizuoka, recognized how important forward play is, but said there is more to the equation.
"We're renowned throughout the world as a team that likes to scrum so that's going to be a key, important factor in the match," he said. "But it's one component of a match."
Making reference to Georgia's history of defending itself from powerful neighbors, Haig said Australia are in for a fight.
"The history of our country is around defending our country, so when that aspect of the battle on the field comes out, we're known for that."
"We are known as a team that battles well in defense."
Clearly a theme that has been discussed within the team, Soso Matiashvili picked up his coach's point and ran with it.
"In all of Georgian history we have been fighting, we've had wars and have been defending our country all the time, so it's quite natural for Georgian people," the starting fullback said.
"We have it in our genes to fight, to wrestle, so I think that's why Georgian people are strong people."
"I think that's why we are good in the scrum. We love to wrestle and to win the fight, so I hope tomorrow we will dominate this part of the game, and if we do that we will have a good chance to win."