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Wallabies turn to heroes of 2002 for inspiration ahead of first Bledisloe

By AAP
(Photo by Nick Wilson/Getty Images)

The Wallabies hope some wise words from Chris Latham and other past Australian heroes will help the team end their Bledisloe Cup hoodoo over the next fortnight.

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Australia haven’t held the Bledisloe Cup since retaining the trophy in 2002, but NZ’s recent wobbles have given the Wallabies hope the drought is about to end.

Wallabies players were all ears as Latham, Elton Flatley and Daniel Herbert spoke to them on Sunday, highlighting key aspects needed for Bledisloe Cup glory.

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“It was good to have them in and share how they felt, the last ones to win the Bledisloe Cup,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said ahead of Thursday night’s Cup opener at Marvel Stadium.

“The key message from the guys who last won it in 2002 – they often spoke about accountability, how tough they were on each other and the high expectations around how they trained and how they played.

“They ended up with a lot of players of a world-class standard. They were able to play a game that was high skill, high tempo.

“It was a very good side in the late 90s, early 2000s.”

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NZ have lost their aura of invincibility after losing four of their seven Tests in 2022 to sink to fourth in the world rankings.

All Blacks fullback Will Jordan said the Bledisloe Cup still held pride of place.

“Massively, we don’t take it for granted and we’ve done some stuff this week around the history of it,” he said.

“Sam Whitelock had a pretty great scene-set for us that tells us about the history of it and what it means.

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“We hold that trophy up pretty highly and at the moment it’s up for grabs, so we know we’ve got to go out and win it again this year.

All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke said the young players wanted to do the jersey proud and keep the Bledisloe Cup dominance going.

“For the boys who have been here the longest, like Sam, you can see how much it means,” Clarke said.

“We heard from (former All Black) Wayne Smith, he was part of the team that lost it and he talked about how hard it was to get it back. We don’t want to be that team to lose it as well.”

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