Wallabies have learned from Dunedin pain

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Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Kurtley Beale says the pain of defeat in Dunedin has only made the Wallabies better, in the ensuing eight weeks.

Where some teammates pushed the defeat out of their minds, and others might be hanging onto that feeling for motivation, Beale said he had taken belated confidence out of the match.

The Wallabies’ 12 was among the best that night, and was visibly emotional speaking after the match, but on reflection he said the match gave him more faith in the team’s potential.

“Even though it did hurt in the end, I think individually in my own game it felt good to be part of a huge game like that,” he said.

“I think looking how far we came from the week before gave me a lot of confidence in guys around me.

“It allowed me to look forward with excitement and enthusiasm to keep building and learning off each other to try to reach that No.1 spot that we want.”

Kurtley Beale was hurting after that second Bledisloe loss. Photo: Getty ImagesThe centre said whatever an individual’s approach, this Wallabies outfit had taken positive steps since that night in New Zealand.

“I think that (Dunedin) was a huge game for us to get a good understanding of where we are at as a playing squad,” he said.

“That's definitely given guys an understanding of what's required to play at this high level, especially  against the All Blacks

“You can't lose focus for a second or they'll come back and pounce on you and take that opportunity and turn it into points.

“That's exactly what happened in Dunedin.

“The more we play, the better we are getting.  That's the positive. We're still building towards what we believe we can achieve.”

Beale was impressive defensively that night, laying some effective hits on opposite number Sonny Bill Williams, and he said the team would have to bring the same mentality to defence that they did that night.

“I think if guys are ready from the first whistle I think we'll put ourselves in a really good position to aim up in our defence,” he said.

“I think that's what happened in Dunedin and probably the second half in Sydney to an extent.

“Guys got an understanding of what was required to stop the threats that the ABs give.

“If we are urgent around that from the start I feel like we have got the confidence in our defensive structures to be able to shut them down

“It's easy to say that but it's a matter of getting out there and doing it.”

Damian McKenzie will start for the All Blacks. Photo: Getty ImagesThe All Blacks might be a slightly different prospect defensively on Saturday, with flyhalf Beauden Barrett in serious doubt with a lingering concussion, opening the door for Lima Sopoaga or Damian McKenzie to step into 10.

Beale said McKenzie would be a threat wherever he played, with his pace and X-Factor.

“He's got a lot of speed, good vision, good feet and able to read the game,” he said.

“Speed is probably his biggest factor where he can take on those tired forwards in and around the rucks and maybe one on one on the edges.

“He has sharp feet he's definitely a danger man we are ware of. I'm sure we'll be able to back our defensive structures to stop that threat.”

The All Blacks will name their team on Thursday at 2am AEST, 3am AEDT, while the Wallabies will announce their side later in the morning.

Australia hosts New Zealand in the third Bledisloe on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7pm AEST, 8pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.