Australia U20s fullback Jack Maddocks says the side needs to bin its respect of New Zealand if it wants to level the Oceania Series this weekend.
Australia U20s coach Adrian Thompson was brutal in his assessment of his charges after a 30-10 loss to New Zealand on Tuesday night and Maddocks said the focus post-match was on losing their fear of New Zealand.
“(The message basically was) pretty much they weren’t that much better than but we paid them too much respect and let them play too much,” he said.
“We talked during the week about not paying them too much respect.
“I don’t know whether it was the fact they’re wearing black jerseys or we didn’t have confidence but we should’ve attacked them a bit more throughout the game,
Australia struggled in the humid conditions in Queensland, racking up the handling errors, though some desperate defence let them off the hook in the opening half especially.
“We just didn’t hold onto the ball well enough,” he said.
“We had a good crack but I didn’t feel like they outplayed us.”
That final try rubbed salt in the Aussie wounds and dented their pride especially, Maddocks said.
“That really hit hard that last one,” he said.
“We kind of held our heads high until that last play where they scored it was our first hit out.”
Maddocks had a mixed return in his U20s debut but said the side wasn’t overawed by the situation, in their first hit out as a team.
“Not at all,” he said.
“It was just hard conditions to play in, it was quite hot, the ball was really, really slippery.
“Our communication and combinations aren’t at a good enough level because we’re pretty new to each other.
“I don’t think the occasion got to us, it’s just we’re pretty early on in our adventure.
Maddocks said he was confident the players could improve ahead of the second match on Saturday, with that harsh lesson under their belts.
“A lot of the boys we only met each other a week ago so actually the combinations are still gelling,” he said.
“It’s early days for the team so there’s a lot of good signs. We’ll definitely be better from that hit out.
The Aussies have a chance to level the series against the Kiwis on Saturday at 4pm, with the match live streamed on rugby.com.au thanks to BAR TV.