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'Lack of fear': How the Wallabies may have the mental edge over the All Blacks at Eden Park

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

It’s one of sport’s most dominant records, but might sail right over the heads of the fresh-faced Wallabies preparing for their first Eden Park experience against the All Blacks on Sunday.


Unbeaten in any Test at their Auckland fortress in 43 matches and 16 years, you have to go back to 1986 to find the All Blacks’ last loss to Australia at the ground.

With no COVID-19 restrictions and 40,000 tickets already sold and a capacity crowd of nearly 50,000 expected, the stage is set for history to repeat.

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Why didn’t the All Blacks take the drop goal?
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Why didn’t the All Blacks take the drop goal?

But no current Australia or New Zealand player was even born in 1986 and, after impressing in a 16-16 draw in Wellington on Sunday, Dave Rennie’s men have shown they aren’t carrying any old wounds.

“It’s good for their confidence, but having said that, they don’t know any better,” Wallabies attack coach Scott Wisemantel told Big Sports Breakfast.

“There’s so many debutants, so many rookies here that they actually don’t know (about New Zealand’s dominance) which is great, fantastic.

“They’re just going in and going ‘okay, where’s this Eden Park, where is it, what do we do?’


“There’s a lack of fear; they’re willing to have a go and only thing I and the coaching staff wants out of them is to say ‘ease up’ or ‘pull it back’.”

Wallabies halfback Nic White – at 30 a veteran of a side with an average age of 24 – said in his three previous visits it hasn’t just been the venue that has thwarted them.

“I’m not sure how much it is to do with the field and how much it is to do with the result,” he said.

“I’ve been there a few times off a couple of wins and a draw and I think that’s as much to do with the reaction of their group as it is to where we’re playing.


“I don’t think it matters where we play them this week, there’s going to be a reaction from them.

“This is a new group and we’re trying to talk about the reaction we want to get out of the game on the weekend, where we thought we could have taken a result.”

Wisemantel said the squad’s bubble arrangement made it easy to avoid the media hype within New Zealand and stay one step ahead.

“You’ve got to be honest, paint the picture,” he said.

“They’re going to drop three or four players… we know that they’ll change something, that’s the first thing Kiwi teams do in this situation.

“So we say boys this is coming, what are we going to do about it.”


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