All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insists there’s no need to hit the panic button despite his team’s 47-26 loss to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday night.
Australia haven’t held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, but that 17-year drought will end if they can beat the All Blacks in Auckland next Saturday.
The Wallabies were ruthless in the series opener in Perth, running in six tries to four in a commanding display.
But there were mitigating factors for the world champion All Blacks, who were reduced to 14 men when lock Scott Barrett was red-carded in the 40th minute.
NZ trailed by just a point at the time of the send-off, but were powerless to halt the Wallabies after that.
Hansen doesn’t want to be known as the coach who gave up the Bledisloe Cup.
And with the World Cup in Japan just over a month away, Hansen has precious little time to fix his team’s woes.
Barrett could miss the World Cup if he feels the full wrath of the judiciary.
And the fitness of centre Jack Goodhue is also in doubt after he injured a hamstring.
There are also big question marks around Brodie Retallick, who dislocated his shoulder against South Africa last month.
“You’ve got about five balls in the air at the moment,” Hansen said.
“We don’t know if Brodie is going to be right. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. We don’t know what’s going to happen with Scotty, so that’s another ball in the air.
“All we’ve got to do is stay calm and wait and see where those balls land basically. And then have plan A, plan B, plan C, and plan D.”
The last time NZ were 1-0 down in a two-match Bledisloe Cup series was in 2015.
A week later, they smashed the Wallabies 41-13 in Auckland, before going on to win the World Cup.
Thinking about those past results is soothing to Hansen.
“We’ve been here before. In 2015 it was exactly the same scenario,” Hansen said.
“We’ve just got to go back and don’t push the panic button, (but instead) push the button that says we’re going to learn and get our discipline right.
“We’re going to make our tackles and get our game structure right and turn up and play well.
“I know the scoreboard’s fairly massive – 47 points. It’s not that often we get that many points scored against us.
“But at 16-12 we’re in the game at half-time, and then Scotty gets sent off and it’s a different game.”
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