David Campese has been a huge vocal critic of the All Blacks this past week, but he has not been the only one. The Wallabies great didn’t miss the opportunity to lampoon his former rivals after the 16-16 draw between the two sides in Wellington last Sunday. 

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This isn’t the first time these sort of pronouncements have been shared though. The 2017 British and Irish Lions series was perhaps the genesis of talk of the All Blacks’ decline. 

Their struggles against the Springboks in recent years only fuelled that criticism, and it culminated with the World Cup semi-final loss to England. However, there are some in Australia that are clearly more tentative than Campese, who feel this antagonism could be dangerously provocative. 

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After all, in response to such comments people have been quick to list just some of the instances in recent memory where the All Blacks had looked exposed one game before comprehensively answering all critics a week later. 

It must be remembered that last weekend was the first match in almost a year for either side, but it is also undeniable that the sort of opinions shared by Campese have become far more frequent in the past two years than they had been in the decade prior. 

Further, although Michael Hooper’s side came within the width of the goalpost from winning – and on balance probably deserved the win – they ultimately did not succeed. Those in New Zealand feel that this weekend may be a better indication as to where the All Blacks and the Wallabies are as their ‘aura’ has been questioned in the past. 

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Although there was promise for the underdogs in Wellington, Eden Park is a veritable fortress for the three-time world champions, where they are yet to lose in the professional era. 

This Sunday is likely to prove whether Campese and co are on to something, or whether they have only awoken the beast. 

https://twitter.com/johnnyddavidson/status/1316334851474284547?s=20

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