Kiwi defeats raise Bledisloe confidence

Mon, May 2, 2022, 9:53 PM
AAP
by AAP
The Brumbies hosted the Hurricanes in the final match of round 11.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is counting on growing confidence in Australian players against Kiwi opposition to help snap a 19-year Bledisloe Cup drought.

The Wallabies will play their first mid-week Test in 28 years as they begin their attempt to wrest back the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks on a Thursday night in Melbourne.

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The trans-Tasman rivals will meet on September 15 at Marvel Stadium as rugby union avoids a weekend clash with AFL and NRL finals.

While the mid-week scheduling turns back the clock to 1994, Australian sides also harked back to the glory days with three of five teams banking Super Rugby Pacific wins in the last round, two against Kiwi teams.

Rennie hoped the improved form could transfer to the Test arena.

"It was a great weekend with the Brumbies winning (over the Hurricanes) and the Waratahs had a fantastic win over the Crusaders and the Rebels winning as well," Rennie said on Monday at the launch of the Test schedule.

"The other sides all went close ... so it's good.

"I think we're certainly more competitive and teams can take a lot of confidence out of that."

He said that rising confidence and improved player depth was a positive for Australian rugby against their arch-rivals, and also with England arriving for a three-Test series in July.

"It's important that we do well against the Kiwi sides as it gives us confidence, gives our players confidence that playing against some of the best players in the world, they can stand up," Rennie said.

"A big challenge for our Super sides is developing enough depth to be consistently competitive but we'd be confident we can pick a really strong 23 - our Wallabies bench could add value and it's crucial against the All Blacks because they've got so much depth."

The prized trophy will be contested this year in a two-match series, meaning Australia need to beat holders New Zealand in both games.

The second Test will be played at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday, September 24.

The last time Australia and New Zealand met in a mid-week Test was on a Wednesday night in Sydney in 1994, when halfback George Gregan pulled off a match-winning tackle on Jeff Wilson to secure a Wallabies victory.

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