Wallabies determined to put sluggish Bledisloe starts in the past

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies are determined to put a history of slow starts behind them in next weekend’s Sydney Bledisloe, Kurtley Beale says.

Lopsided opening half tallies of 72-9  in Sydney's past two Bledisloe Tests have put Australia on the back foot from the get go.

Improved performances in the rest of those series have not been enough to break a 15-year Bledisloe drought after those disappointing beginnings.

This year, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika brought in a Wallabies trial to give his players a tune up and the Waratahs contingent were in finals action until just a fortnight ago as well, giving the squad vital match practice before the opener.

The importance of jumping out of the blocks in Sydney has not escaped the Wallabies and star Beale said it would be a priority for them.

“It's definitely been a big focus for us,” he said.

“Certainly in the last few training sessions, it's been spoken about a lot so I'm sure throughout the preparations this week would be focusing on trying to start the game with a bang and i'm sure that focus is going to put us in a really good position.”

Beale said he felt the team was in better shape to make a strong impression in their first outing than the same time last year.

“I think so,” he said.

“It's exciting, it's Bledisloe Cup, it's the best of the best and it's going to be a great opportunity to strive to do something special and we know there's a process in place and if we stick to that, we'll be able to hopefully put ourselves in a position to do something with it.”

A key to ensuring the Wallabies start on top is drawing on the confidence they gained from last year’s third Test, a 23-18 win in Brisbane, Beale said.

“I think Brisbane was a huge game for us and we turned things around after the second game last year,” he said.

“You've always got to take a lot of confidence into playing the best team in the world, otherwise I think you might see yourself on the back foot a lot.”

Much of the external attention will be on the midfield selections for both sides after a host of injuries.

Australia's no. 13 jersey has been up for grabs after injuries to Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi and it appears to be going Reece Hodge's way.

The All Blacks have their own centre question mark after Sonny Bill Williams was ruled out of the first two Tests with injury.

Whoever Beale finds himself up against next weekend, he was sure they wouldn’t be any weaker without Williams in their lineup.

“They're the number one team in the world for a reason,” he said.

“Whoever they put in any position, they step up and they get the job done.

“The big focus has just been on us at the moment and obviously we're well aware of the capabilities that they will bring on the weekend but we know we have a full focus on what we want to deliver out there that will allow us to get the result we want."

The Wallabies host the All Blacks in the first Bledisoe on Saturday August 18, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO, with the Wallaroos taking on the Black Ferns from 5:15pm AEST as well. Buy tickets here.