Wallabies embracing "privilege" of chance to break Eden Park hoodoo

International
by Emma Greenwood

The Wallabies will embrace the pressure of playing at Eden Park as they attempt to overturn Australian rugby's 33-year drought at the venue.

Far from banning talk of the hoodoo, Australia has welcomed the challenge that lies ahead at the All Blacks fortress, wanting to become the first team since Andrew Slack's Wallabies to win at the venue.

Coach Michael Cheika has made just one chance to the starting XV that won the opening Bledisloe leg in Perth last week, with the Wallabies to take the rare opportunity to win the prized trophy.

"There's no point in hiding from it," Cheika said of the Wallabies' Eden Park record.

"We know that that's a big challenge but if you want to make change, one person has got to say, 'okay, this is going to change'.

"Then the next person will join in and the next person will join in.

"You're allowed to understand the history of the event and also the game, the trophy and also the venue, to make it ultra important."

And Cheika does not see that as pressure.

"The way I see it is as a privilege," he said.

"If that's what pressure is, then it's a privilege to be a part of it and make sure that we go out there and do our country proud."

Cheika had had little time to digest the All Blacks changes before he and the team boarded a flight for Auckland late on Thursday afternoon.

But he said the Wallabies knew the hornets' nest they would arrive in after causing a rare All Blacks loss.

"It doesn't matter who they roll out, honestly," Cheika said.

"When you can leave out a player like Ben Smith and bring in a guy like (Sevu) Reece, who's been one of the outstanding players in Super Rugby all year, you could roll with anyone.

"I'm not surprised by anyone they bring in and I know that they've got quality in all of their departments, that's where they've done a great job in building that depth and that's what they can do, they can just bring in players and move them around."

Captain Michael Hooper said the players openly discussed the opportunity at hand while remaining focused on themselves.

"These are the game you want to be a part of … it's just an amazing opportunity to be a part of," Hooper said.

"You go down to a place where many a generation of Wallaby hasn't won.

"You're coming up against a great New Zealand side with some silverware on the line. It's fantastic being on the other end.

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, August 17, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST (7:35pm local) following the Wallaroos match against the Black Ferns at 3pm AEST (5pm local). The Wallabies are LIVE on Network Ten and WIN, with both matches LIVE on Fox Sports, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.