Wallabies more 'connected' than ever, Adam Ashley-Cooper says

Backline veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper is excited about Australia's prospects, describing the 2019 group as the most connected of the four Wallabies World Cup squads in which he's been selected.

The 35-year-old utility back will win his 119th cap against Samoa in Sydney on Saturday, when Australia play their last Test before the World Cup starts in Japan in two weeks.

"We're much more connected as a group and really excited about the potential that this group can achieve," said Ashley-Cooper, the second Australian after George Gregan to be selected for four World Cups.

"I'm really enjoying the company of the group, we're building a really good culture and I feel there's a deeper desire to do really well."

That connection was forged in New Caledonia where the squad has been in camp since it was selected.

"The boys were ripping in, it was tough, but the guys were stepping up each day, wanting to work really hard," Ashley-Cooper said.

Coach Michael Cheika declared himself happy with where his squad was at after some challenging times.

"I'm really pleased with the way the team has blended together considering a lot of the things that have happened around us over the last little while, the last year, and we've kept a pretty steady course," Cheika said.

"A lot of good relationships have been built there between staff and players and also the playing group together have been led very well by the captain and his crew, so we're building."

Cheika said Saturday's game would offer an opportunity for some players who hadn't had many this year.

That would include Ashley-Cooper, who has made just one brief cameo appearance off the bench this season.

Incumbent outside centre James O'Connor is on the bench and two other candidates for the No.13 jersey, Tevita Kuridrani and Jordan Petaia, are injured.

"I think it's important to push your claim in any position that you are given or selected in," said Ashley-Cooper, who has also played fullback, wing and inside centre for Australia.

"I've been playing 13 this year with the Waratahs, so I'm very comfortable there.'"

Ashley-Cooper is one of five members of Saturday's squad who were part of the side beaten in Samoa in a lead-up match to the 2011 World Cup.

"They are a physical beast, a tough outfit and I'm sure they are going to gear up for a game against the Wallabies," Ashley-Cooper said.

He felt working in the heat and humidity of Noumea could prepare the Wallabies for similar conditions in Japan, where he has played two seasons of club rugby.