Underdog Wallabies looking to pressure fast-starting All Blacks

Sun, Jul 23, 2023, 7:03 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Wallabies coach Eddie Jones is eager to put the All Blacks under pressure as he looks to spark his side into form.

Jones and the Wallabies returned to camp on the Gold Coast, hungry to turn around their season after two disappointing defeats to South Africa and Argentina.

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They face the prospect of facing a red-hot All Blacks, which Jones notes is unconventional for the Kiwis in a World Cup year.

Recent history backs this up, with the Wallabies inflicting their biggest ever defeat in 2019 in the corresponding fixture whilst the All Blacks went down to both Australia and South Africa in the 2011 Tri Nations before going on to win the World Cup.

"We’ve got a lot of things to work out ourselves,” Jones said. “We’re trying to work out our best game plan but New Zealand have approached this season a little bit differently than they normally would.

“In a World Cup year, they tend to have a measured build up and it looks like they’re all guns firing at the moment.

"Our aim is to put them under pressure early in the game and see how they cope with pressure on them, because they haven’t had it as yet."

“It’s a massive game, we’re looking forward to it. There’s nothing better than coaching against New Zealand."

Jones is well aware of the situation the Wallabies faced and welcomed the underdog tag, believing it can help galvanise the side whilst warding off relying on it for constant strong performances.

“If you look at Australia at the moment, probably no one outside our immediate squad thinks we’ve got a chance of winning, which sometimes can drive a bit more closeness within the team, a bit more purpose about what we’re doing," he explained.

"...In this situation we need to (embrace it) because we are the underdogs but generally speaking, we want to be a team that can cope with any sort of tag that gets put on the team, whether it be favourites or underdogs.

“You just don’t want to be a team that fronts up when you’re underdogs. 

“In this situation this week, where we’re massive underdogs. That creates an opportunity for us because we know if we can put pressure on a team that’s labelled as red hot favourites, sometimes that pressure can turn into increased pressure on them and stress within their team and that’s our aim.”

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