No lack of Bledisloe desire for Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies want the Bledisloe Cup just as much as their Kiwi opponents, coach Michael Cheika says.

Australia has not held the Cup since 2002 and are looking to break a 15-year winless drought in New Zealand to even things up in the current series, after a 42-8 loss to New Zealand in Sydney.

Last week, New Zealand fullback Israel Dagg described the Bledisloe series as ‘life and death’ for the All Blacks and when asked whether the Wallabies felt it was up there with a World Cup, Cheika was frank.

“As happy as they are about winning it, we're hurting about not,” he said.

“People's intent can never be judged always by just what happens in the end and sometimes it doesn't mean that you want something any less.

“We've got to be better. We understand that what's inside of us about wanting to win that trophy and probably New Zealand people enjoy that.

“They'll be able to laugh at us or give us a boot if we don't win it, you know what I mean?

“But that's not going to change how much we want to win it. For this generation or for this season's team or for the seasons after.”

Stephen Moore addresses his troops at today's captain's run. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyWallabies skipper Stephen Moore bristled at the suggestion that the Bledisloe Cup was more significant for the All Blacks.

“Of course... It's no less important to us than them,” he said.

Moore said the opening loss had made every player look at themselves as well as the entire team.

“I think after a performance like that it really forces you to look hard at your performance, probably more individually than collectively,” he said.

“Everyone's got a really clear picture this week about their role in the team and what they have to do to make sure the performance is good, because that's what it's about this week.”

The Wallabies will have to battle against Wellington’s challenging conditions on Saturday night, with rain and a high of 11 degrees forecast for match day.

Those are weather phenomena that the All Blacks, especially Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett, are well-used to, but Cheika said he wasn’t worried about that.

“It's the way it is, that's the way rugby's always been, whatever weather it is you've got to play in it,” he said.

“It's quite irrelevant what the weather is.

“It's a great game and we're looking forward to being involved in it no matter what.”

All Blacks captain Kieran Read said they would be prepared to adjust to whatever conditions came about when it came to trying to score points.

"If it's like this tomorrow night, we'll have to adjust," he said.

"Hopefully it's clear as the forecast is meant to be but you've just got to adapt to whatever's thrown at you.

"You're not going to start the game and expect things to be like it was last week.

"If we do that, we're in a bit of trouble.

"So, we know we've got to completely start again, you've got to win battles first in Test matches especially up front before you can think about scoring tries or getting points."

The Wallabies did their captain's run slightly differently in Wellington, with the full dress rehearsal at Porirua early on Friday, before the kickers went to acclimatise to Westpac Stadium around the middle of the day, a process that could prove crucial in the second Test.

Australia takes on New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST.