The All Blacks will be on guard for a Chiefs-style ambush when they take on the Wallabies in Saturday night’s clash in Sydney.
New Zealand lead the four-match Bledisloe Cup series 1-0 after a win and a draw on home soil and they can wrap up the trophy with a victory in either Sydney or Brisbane.
All Blacks assistant coach John Plumtree has been impressed by what the Wallabies have produced under new coach Dave Rennie – and he’s not surprised.
Rennie transformed the Chiefs into one of Super Rugby’s most consistent sides during his six-year stint as coach, leading the NZ franchise to the title in 2012 and 2013.
Plumtree feels the Wallabies are starting to show similar traits to what Rennie instilled at the Chiefs.
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“There were parts of their game that we saw (were similar to) the way the Chiefs played over the years under Dave,” Plumtree said.
“I think their set-piece has got better. They had a real crack at us at scrum time. Their line out is functioning well. They’re aggressive defensively.
“They use the ball with width and they’ve stretched us on many occasions out wide and we’ve had to scramble pretty hard in defence.”
The Wallabies haven’t beaten the All Blacks in NZ since posting a 23-15 win in Dunedin in 2001.
But they have beaten NZ in two of the past three matches in Australia, including a 47-26 walloping in Perth last year.
“They’re playing at home now so it’s a whole different kettle of fish,” Plumtree said.
“As an All Blacks side playing in Australia, we’ve already come out and said we understand what our record is like in Australia.
“It’s always been a tough place for an NZ side to win and the weekend isn’t going to be any different.”
Plumtree said All Blacks defence coach Scott McLeod has since rejoined the side in Australia after staying at home initially due to illness.
“He had a bit of a cold and he did the right thing by contacting the doc and he didn’t travel with the team,” Plumtree said.
“But now he’s good to go.”
– Justin Chadwick
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