'The Aussies spanked us': All Blacks cautious of potential bogey ground
While the All Blacks travel better than most international sides and win in Australia more often than they don’t, there are a few grounds where New Zealand struggle. One such ground could be Optus Stadium in Perth, where the third and final Bledisloe Cup match of the year will take place this Sunday.
The first and only time the All Blacks and Wallabies met in Perth, back in 2019, the home side thumped the visitors 47-26, recording their highest ever points tally in the process.
In the 15 matches the Wallabies have played in Perth, they’ve tasted defeat on just two occasions – both times at the hands of the Springboks.
While there’s only one game to go off so far, the All Blacks will be hopeful they can avenge the struggles from two years prior and that Optus doesn’t develop into a bogey ground moving forward.
Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, who was recently elevated into the side’s leadership group, has suggested that the big defeat in 2019 will add some extra motivation to put a big performance on the park come Sunday afternoon.
“This game’s a big one for us, last time we were here the Aussies spanked us, so that memory is still firmly in the minds of the players who played that game,” he said on SEN’s Sportsday WA radio show.
“Then for us, it’s a massive mental game because we’ve got the Bledisloe Cup and there’s a lot more we want to achieve. There’s a bit of respect to be put back in that [All Blacks] jersey.
“There’s obviously a heck of a legacy that has gone on before us so it’s a big one for us and it’s going to be a packed stadium and no doubt the Wallabies are going to be very hungry.”
Historically, the All Blacks have struggled to score a clean-sweep over the Wallabies, only achieving the feat three times in the last decade. More often than not, it’s the final game of the series – once the trophy is wrapped up and the Rugby Championship has already come to an end – that NZ let their foot off the gas.
While the Bledisloe Cup is indeed secure for another year, the Rugby Championship is only just getting started and a loss in Perth could spell bad news for the All Blacks, who are likely going toe to toe with the Springboks for the title.
As such, the All Blacks can’t afford to give their opposition an opening – and especially won’t want to set a precedent for the future where Optus Stadium emerges as their bogey stadium.
Both the All Blacks and Wallabies will unveil their line-ups for Sunday’s match later today.
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