Nic White is expecting to be targeted by the All Blacks as they look to shut the enterprising Wallabies halfback down in Sunday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test.
White was a stand-out for the for the Wallabies in their 16-16 draw last weekend, repeatedly troubling New Zealand’s defence with his sniping runs from the ruck.
His clever box kicking in the swirling Wellington wind also tested the home side.
But the 30-year-old doesn’t expect to be given an inch to move at in Auckland’s Eden Park, where the Australians will attempt to snap a losing streak that dates back to 1986.
“I imagine they are probably going to chock up that area around the breakdown and limit the nine running so it’s something we’ve got to expect,” White said on Tuesday.
“We got a little bit of pay out of that on the weekend so I’m not sure that will be there come Auckland but I will take each breakdown on its merits and it certainly won’t me surprise if they’re going to shoot out of the line and try to take me out of the game.”
White, who has played 32 Tests, said he expected the All Blacks to tinker with their game plan, while their line-up is also set to change with the return of injured superstar Beauden Barrett.
Veteran Dane Haylett-Petty has recovered from a groin strain to challenge Tom Banks for the starting spot at fullback.
White felt there was plenty of upside to the Wallabies, who were disappointed they didn’t crack a rare win on Kiwi soil.
The Brumbies ace said they needed to improve their speed to the breakdown and also their communication across the park, which contributed to failure to attempt a winning field goal.
“Disappointment was the initial reaction after the game because we had opportunities there to finish it and it would have been nice,” White said.
“There’s a fair bit there for us all to clean up going into this game.
“There’s a lot of areas that we can improve on but there’s also a fair bit of belief in us now that what we’re doing is the right stuff.”
Last year the Wallabies won a belter in Perth 47-26 but the following week the fired up All Blacks delivered a 36-0 humiliation, at Eden Park.
White hoped the debutants and new coaching staff could help cancel out the All Blacks’ reaction and put the Wallabies in the box seat to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup with two games to play in Australia.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now