Wallabies soul searching ahead of Bledisloe showdown
Australia’s coaching staff have been working overtime to determine why they’ve struggled to win successive Tests this year as they prepare for the Bledisloe Cup clash in Melbourne on Thursday night.
Looking to reclaim the trophy for the first time in 19 years, the Wallabies host the All Blacks at Marvel Stadium in a match which is also part of the Rugby Championship.
The Wallabies have being unable to string two wins together this year, falling to a disappointing 24-8 loss to South Africa in Sydney after a rousing 25-17 victory in Adelaide the week before.
New Zealand have also split their Rugby Championship results but will enter the Bledisloe contest following a thumping 50-point win over Argentina.
Assistant coach Dan McKellar said the Wallabies couldn’t worry about the Kiwis’ form.
“The reality is that we’ve struggled to put together good performances back to back and we’ve had a really good look at that this week – we’ve thoroughly reviewed,” the forwards coach said.
“We understand the All Blacks are coming off a really good performance against the Argentinians, they were totally dominant in all areas and will take a lot of confidence out of that.
“We’ve just got to get our strategy and tactics right in terms of how we think we’ll beat them and then make sure we train it well and that gives us a chance.”
McKellar said the Wallabies had considered whether complacency after victories was a factor, and had looked closely at individual and team preparation – physical and mental.
“As a coaching group, we looked really hard at how we prepared them for the second Test against South Africa and did we get it right, so it’s certainly been very thorough and very honest,” the ex-Brumbies coach said.
“I can’t sit here and give you one thing – one silver bullet – but it’s something that if you want to win a Bledisloe Cup or Rugby Championship, someone’s got to go back to back over the next couple of weeks.
“And obviously that leads in to the next year when there’s a bigger prize (World Cup) available as well.”
McKellar said undulating form was a worldwide trend, which he felt was an indicator to the evenness of top rugby nations.
But he said the review had highlighted some fundamentals the Wallabies needed to improve from their Springboks loss in Sydney.
“We were beaten around the breakdown there’s no doubt and so it’s an area that we will continue to focus heavily on.
“Our ball carrying, our clean-out work, we turned over possession off first phase, which is very unlike us.
“You can have the grandest plans about how you want to attack… but if you don’t win that area of the game then you struggle.
“If we dish up what we did in Sydney, then the All Blacks will hurt us.”
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