The All Blacks are preparing for a desperate Wallabies outfit looking to land a punch in the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane on Saturday night.
The Australians’ hopes of wresting back the trans-Tasman trophy after 18 years in New Zealand hands ended last Saturday with an embarrassing 43-5 defeat in Sydney.
The record third test loss continued a downward spiral after a promising opening test draw in Wellington last month.
But All Blacks skipper Sam Cane feels the Wallabies are a danger when they have little to lose.
“I think so – they’ve always been a side that plays well when their backs are against the wall and you could say that’s where they are at the moment,” Cane said on Friday.
One thing in the home side’s favour is their record at Suncorp Stadium – their favourite Australian ground.
The Wallabies are unbeaten in three of the past four tests, including one draw, against the All Blacks at the venue – winning their last clash there 23-18 in 2017.
The stadium usually throws up close affairs with the last seven Bledisloe Cup tests played there, dating to 1996 when it was still called Lang Park, decided by seven points or less.
“I see it as massive challenge for us – I look at our record at Suncorp and it’s something that we’re not proud of,” the openside flanker said.
“We want to make sure we do everything we can to go out there to get a good win against them.
“Obviously the Wallabies enjoy playing there because they’ve got that record over us but I can’t pinpoint it – stadiums are a funny thing.
“But there’s no point hiding from the fact that we haven’t been the sharpest there.”
With four players in line to make their test debuts for the All Blacks this weekend, All Blacks coach Ian Foster has been clear with his message to his playing group.https://t.co/RbjdAW6Xzi
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 6, 2020
Among sweeping changes the All Blacks have included four debutants including Akira Ioane at blindside flanker, joining his winger brother Rieko Ioane.
The Wallabies also have another new face in their back row, with Lachie Swinton wearing the No.6 jersey.
Cane said he didn’t know much about the 23-year-old Waratahs workhorse.
“I don’t know a heck of a lot but I know they’ll just be looking for him to do his job, no doubt,” he said.
The Bledisloe Cup trophy was Cane’s first since taking over as full-time New Zealand captain in May and he said he’d now set his sights on the Tri-Nations title, which the Sydney and Brisbane tests are a part of.
“I’ve always enjoyed being part of teams that have won a Bledisloe Cup and I suppose I’ve felt a wee bit more responsibility being the captain and because of that it was extra satisfying,” he said.
“I’m just really proud of the work we’ve put in over the last month and it’s been cool to tick that off and now looking forward to doing another, hopefully.”
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