Captain James Slipper has warned his Australia team that they will face “a world of hurt” if they fail to learn from their defeat to South Africa and underestimate the stuttering All Blacks on Thursday.
Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks have struggled for consistency this season, but New Zealand will enter their Rugby Championship match in Melbourne on a high.
“It was very difficult for us two weeks ago against South Africa.” “We reviewed it and had open discussions,” said the 121-Test veteran, who is filling in for Michael Hooper, who is on mental health leave.
“After the game, I said that we just needed to be better, and we’ve found ways to do that in practise and in our reviews.”
“In rugby, you have to dust off because the All Blacks are right around the corner, and if you’re still thinking about South Africa tomorrow, you’re going to be in a world of hurt.”
“For us, we must move forward and ensure that we perform tomorrow.”
The southern hemisphere Rugby Championship is one of the tightest in recent memory, with only one point separating all four teams in the table, and Thursday’s clash is crucial to both teams’ title hopes.
The Bledisloe Cup, which New Zealand has hosted since 2003, is also in play.
To change that, Australia must win at a sold-out Docklands Stadium before repeating the feat nine days later at Eden Park in Auckland.
When asked if this could be their best chance in years to end the drought, Slipper responded, “I’ve heard that commentary a fair bit.”
“However, history tells us they’re a tough team to beat.”
“Historically, they’ve had the upper hand on us for 20 years, so as a playing group, we know what’s coming and it’s going to be a difficult task to win the Bledisloe, and it starts tomorrow here.”
The All Blacks, like the Wallabies, have struggled to string wins together this year, losing twice to Ireland and once each to South Africa and Argentina.
All Blacks captain Sam Cane said the team’s confidence had been boosted by their thrashing of Argentina in Hamilton, and it was now time for the team to back it up.
“We’ve been dissatisfied with our consistency this year,” he admitted. “Australia is a tough place to play, but we’ve always had great success here.”
New Zealand has won 16 of the last 20 Tests against Australia by an average of 24 points, but Cane is wary of a team that always “fronts up.”
“They have a great pack, and they’ve had a lot of success with their driving maul.” “They can score points quickly once they get going,” he said.
“No matter what happens, the Aussies always have plenty of confidence in themselves and their ability, and they’ve shown time and time again how they can front up.”
“I expect the intensity to be high right from the start.”
The game on Thursday begins at 11:45 a.m. (SA time).
14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 15 Andrew Kellaway Bernard Foley, 10 Jake Gordon, No. 9 Rob Valetini, 8 Pete Samu (7th), Rob Leota (6th), Matt Philip (5th), Jed Holloway (4th), Allan Alaalatoa (3rd), David Porecki (2nd), James Slipper (1st) (captain)
16 Folau Fainga’a (substitute), Scott Sio, 17, Pone Fa’amausili, 18, Darcy Swain, 19 Fraser McReight, 20 Nic White (21), Reece Hodge (22), and Jordan Petaia (23).
14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 15 Jordie Barrett David Havili, 12 Caleb Clarke, 11 Richie Mo’unga, 10 Aaron Smith, 9 Hoskins Sotutu, 8 Sam Cane 7 (captain), Scott Barrett, No. 6, Sam Whitelock, No. 5, Brodie Retallick, No. 3, Tyrel Lomax, No. 2, Samisoni Taukei’aho, No. 1, Ethan de Groot
Substitutes: Dane Coles (16), George Bower (17), Fletcher Newell (18), and Aikira Ioane (19). Dalton Papali’i 20, Finlay Christie, 21. Beauden Barrett, 22, and Quinn Tupaea, 23
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