Newly anointed Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has vowed to usher in a new era of standards-driven culture to return Australia to No.1 in the world rankings.
Moore was named coach Ewen McKenzie's long-term choice as captain on Monday and immediately cut to the chase, making little concession to personal satisfaction aside from an emotional tribute to his mother, Maureen.
The 91-Test stalwart said his goals as the 81st Australian Test captain extended no further than the Wallabies' first match against France on Saturday, but were also underscored by a belief that Australia could reach No.1 in the world.
"If I didn't think we could, I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't sign up for it," Moore, 31, said.
"There's no point trying to stay where we are. Other teams are moving forward – England are chipping away, Wales are improving and Ireland had an outstanding Six Nations – we have to get better in everything we do.
"As will the All Blacks and Springboks – don't for a second think that they're just going to be sitting there thinking 'we'll just stay here and be fine', they're trying to get better as well. We need to improve, we all know that, so the key for me is coming up with a way we can go about that."
Moore said NSW's State of Origin preparations this year, which netted them an against-the-odds 12-8 victory last week, had crystalised a few ideas about high performance.
"They're largely in a similar position to us. You think about the Bledisloe Cup, they're in a similar position [having not won a series in eight years]," he said.
"They took their preparation to a new level. It wasn't about getting a bunch of guys in a room and having a drink for two days then running out and playing. If you develop some good habits then eventually you'll get to where you want to go. There's been some good signs there for them, and hopefully we can build on that."
Moore's appointment, and McKenzie's choice of NSW leaders Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper as his deputies, severed the Wallabies coach's remaining ties to Queensland, the province he coached to a Super Rugby title in 2011.
McKenzie had inherited a side from Robbie Deans whose leadership structure of Queensland captain James Horwill and Will Genia had been fostered by his predecessor when the Reds were the dominant Australian province.
McKenzie spent his first four months in charge last year working through his options, naming Horwill and Genia as captains in the Rugby Championship before settling on Brumbies captain Ben Mowen for the back end of the season.
After an off-season to think through his options, the Wallabies coach settled on a hard-nosed statesman-like figure in Moore and confirmed he had the job for as long as he was capable of delivering results.
"The 12 Test matches I've had so far has been very much a melting pot for me to understand where the team was and get to know people better," McKenzie said.
"Consistency is a very important part of what we need to do ... so for me it's important to choose guys who can take us forward. This isn't a one-week appointment, and it can be as long as it needs to be. I haven't put any limitations on it."
The hooker's more abrasive edges and high standards, coupled with an eye for technical detail, convinced McKenzie he was the right fit.
"There's nothing stopping the Wallabies being number one in the world in terms of how they function," McKenzie said. "No opponent can stop us doing that, it's something you can live every minute of the day, 24-7."
"[Moore] understands that and [I think] the team needs a strong focus in that area. We're good but we want to be great and there is great opportunity on a thousand fronts where you can do slightly better and they'll all add up and give you a better outcome."
The story Stephen Moore wants Wallabies to take inspiration from NSW Blues first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.