Wallabies looking to dominate the All Blacks at scrum time
The Wallabies haven’t beaten the All Blacks at Eden Park since 1986, and their hopes of winning back the Bledisloe Cup were dealt a huge blow on Tuesday when it was confirmed that the first two matches of the series will be played at the Auckland venue.
It means the All Blacks could retain the Bledisloe Cup on home soil before the series shifts to Perth.
Ala’alatoa said it was important for the Wallabies to assert their dominance at the scrum from the outset of the series.
“We have to be at our best. We’re not just going to go out there and just test them, we want to go out there and actually put our foot down and dominate,” Ala’alatoa said ahead of Saturday night’s series opener.
“That’s our mentality as a forward pack. They’re a team that prides themselves around their set piece, but they have a lot of variation off that as well.”
Slipper is desperate to end Australia’s hoodoo at Eden Park, and agreed with Ala’alatoa that gaining dominance at the scrum was crucial.
“What’s going to win you that Test match is a clinical set piece,” Slipper said.
“During the France series we did a lot of good work there in the set piece, not only our scrum, but I thought our lineout and maul really stood up.
“I think Allan really hit it on the head. We’re not going out there to just be making up the numbers.
“We want to be putting our backs in really good positions and putting the All Blacks under pressure. That’s what we’re planning to do, and that’s what we’re training to do.”
The Wallabies will name their team on Thursday, with the biggest talking point set to be whether Quade Cooper earns a spot in the match-day squad.
Cooper was a shock inclusion in the 43-man squad due to border closures and James O’Connor’s groin injury.
The 33-year-old has impressed his teammates and coaching staff at training, and his growing leadership qualities have also proven crucial.
Noah Lolesio is almost certain to retain the starting flyhalf role following his strong displays in the 2-1 series win over France, but Cooper is an outside chance to earn a spot on the bench.
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