All Blacks great Wilson questions Wallabies' fitness

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

The fitness level of Australia's players is being questioned for a second straight year as they struggle to keep pace with New Zealand.

Former All Blacks great Jeff Wilson believes the Wallabies had either over-trained heading into last week's 38-13 loss in Sydney or are simply unfit.

He couldn't otherwise explain their dramatic drop-off after leading 6-0 until the 39th minute.

The world champions were simply at another level from that point.

"Either they've trained too hard and they've gone into the game fatigued and the legs have gone early, or they're not in the right nick," Wilson told the Sky Sports Breakdown show.Jeff Wilson has taken aim at the Wallabies' fitness levels. Photo: Getty Images"They've had plenty of time to prepare, they've had the benefit of time.

"The All Blacks have had one week, essentially, on the back of a Super Rugby campaign."

Wilson believes New Zealand's detailed player management programme - at Test and Super Rugby level - prevents fatigue from setting in.

Australia's fitness came under the spotlight last year when coach Michael Cheika asked his players to run up steep hills with their mouths taped shut.

He explained Australian players needed to be fitter across the board, starting with Super Rugby.

Wilson can't see the Wallabies threatening to end their 17-match losing streak at Eden Park on Saturday.

They were second-best in too many areas in Sydney to make up, he said.

"The cracks in their game (are evident) particularly when your set piece falters," he said.

"I just think they've got a long, long way to go if they are going to be competitive against this All Black team, given the fact their biggest attacking weapon, Israel Folau, is not available."

The Wallabies face the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, 7:35pm local, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten.