Back on home turf, the Wallabies are embracing the love – literally – as they prepare for the third Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday.
The Wallabies welcome loved ones into their training camp in the NSW Hunter Valley, with some like Melbourne Rebels winger Marika Koroibete reunited with his Victoria-based family for the first time in months.
Wallabies prop Scott Sio hopes the love-in continues at ANZ Stadium on Saturday after two hostile tests in New Zealand.
After a promising draw and a disappointing loss, the Australians need a victory to keep the four-test series alive.
“It’s massive to be at ANZ,” Sio said.
“We know how passionate our fans are, so to be able to play in front of many people with gold jerseys on is very special to us.
“Just being back at home you can feel the vibe – everyone got a bit of time to see family, partners and kids and it’s created a lot of positivity in and around the group which is something I think we can put into our week.”
Many in the team watched the AFL grand final on Saturday evening and Sio said there were lessons the Wallabies could take from Richmond’s resolve, and belief in their game-plan and players, to claw their way back from a 22-point deficit late in the second quarter.
Being able to call on a legendary three-time Norm Smith Medallist also helps.
“It’s pretty handy having someone like Dusty Martin on your team, he’s got a lot of X-factor about him,” Sio said.
“One of the biggest things is that they stayed staunch and continued to believe in what they’d achieved throughout the season, and knew if they put in what we call an ’80-minute performance’ they’d be thereabouts at the end.”
The Wallabies left Auckland following a 27-7 loss coach Dave Rennie described as a “step backward” after their first-up 16-all draw.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 24, 2020
Sio said they had clear ideas about what needed improvement – namely missed tackles, which was almost double New Zealand’s tally, and a better kicking game.
The forward felt the team’s kicking problems were related to tackling, given the pressure they put on themselves.
“Obviously there were many parts of the game where we need to be better as a team if we want to beat the All Blacks,” Sio said.
“Playing positionally – within our kicking game I don’t think we gave ourselves the best chance to cut space down.
“They’ve got a pretty electric back three and if you give them time and space they’re very talented.
“The most important thing we took out of that game was kicking on our terms technically and making sure we’re set early in the defensive line so we can make the right reads.”
While the All Blacks arrived in Sydney on Sunday the Wallabies will remain in the Hunter until Thursday.
– Melissa Woods
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now