The Wallabies were among some fast starters on the Gold Coast Indy track on Monday, and they’ll need to put their foot on the pedal if they want to try and clinch the final Bledisloe on Sunday, playmaker Bernard Foley says.
A diabolical start against the All Blacks in Sydney all but unravelled the Wallabies’ chances of a Bledisloe victory and, by the same token, a shotgun start a week later nearly kept the trans-Tasman trophy alive.
“Whenever we play them, we’ve got to be in it from the get go and they’re too good as ide to give them a lead and try and chase them down,” Foley said.
“For us, it will be about starting well and nullifying their threats."
Australia's backline has shown progress through the Rugby Championship and it will be bolstered by the return of Karmichael Hunt, who hasn’t missed a beat in his comeback from an ankle injury, through the NRC.
Though coach Michael Cheika was quick to say Hunt wouldn't be guaranteed an immediate call-up to the 23, Foley said he would be invaluable to have in the side.
“He was exceptional his first three Test matches this year,” he said.
“He loves the contact side, he loves carrying the ball but he can also ball-play and playmaker.
“That’s a real credit to his skills and a real asset to our team."
Hunt is not the only different backline face on the Gold Coast this week - Queensland's Duncan Paia’aua has come into the Wallabies camp as a development player, with a view to filling a playmaking role for Australia in the Barbarians clash on October 28.
Foley is still the only specialist five-eighth in the squad, and initially it seemed that Reece Hodge might fill the 10 role against the Baabaas.
With the 23-year-old, and second-choice flyhalf Kurtley Beale, both playing the majority of minutes in the championship, though, and Force flyhalf JOno Lance signing a deal overseas, Paia'aua's NRC form was hard to ignore.
Foley has watched Paia’aua’s growth this season, impressed by his versatility.
“Duncan has impressed me this Super Rugby season, his ability to interchange at 10 and 12 , he’s been one of the standout performers in the NRC,” he said.
“ For him to come in and get a chance is great and hopefully we can help him out with his experience.
“Hopefully he really enjoys the week and gets a lot out of it.”
The Wallabies host the All Blacks on Saturday October 21 in the third Bledisloe Cup, kicking off on at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.