Bledisloe mountain getting bigger

Sun, 17 Aug 2014 08:09
Large kurtley beale   michael hoo

The Wallabies' task of retrieving the Bledisloe Cup has become even tougher after drawing their opening match with the All Blacks in Sydney.

The Wallabies' task of retrieving the Bledisloe Cup has become even tougher after drawing their opening match with the All Blacks in Sydney.

Australia ended the world champions' 17-match winning run with a fighting 12-all draw in the Rugby Championship, which doubles as a Bledisloe Cup Test between the two fierce trans-Tasman rivals.

Now the Wallabies must win at Auckland's Eden Park next week where they haven't won for 28 years and then win again in the third match of the series in Brisbane on October 18 to end 12 years in the Bledisloe Cup wilderness.

Although the Australians have not beaten the All Blacks in eight Tests, since their last win three years ago in Brisbane, skipper Michael Hooper is feeling positive.

"We are in the same position we were before this game," Hooper said at the post-match media conference at the weekend.

"We have to get two wins to get this Cup. It's certainly a good challenge and there's a bit of momentum from this match.

"For me to go to Eden Park and have another shot at them is a fantastic opportunity."

Under coach Ewen McKenzie, the Wallabies have had some close defeats to the All Blacks leading up to the latest draw, and he believes the gap between the two Southern Hemisphere rivals is closing.

"It's no easy task beating them. We didn't get the job done in this match, but we're getting closer every time," McKenzie told reporters after the Sydney game.

"The conditions were bit of a leveller out there, but I thought we were in the game the whole time so we've narrowed the scoreline.

"But we haven't beaten them so for us to win the Bledisloe [Cup] we have to win two games. So the formula for us in the equation hasn't changed so we'll just keep at it."

Hooper said he was encouraged by the Wallabies' up-tempo game which had the All Blacks defence under pressure for most of the second half after trailing 9-3 at half-time.

"Guys are coming on and making an impact," he said.

"[Scott] Higginbotham, [Nick] Phipps and [Bernard] Foley came off the bench and wanted to play an up tempo style of game.

"That back end of the half was positive in that way. We've got guys who can finish off the game especially against a team like the All Blacks, who are notoriously strong finishers and I think we came out on top there."

McKenzie, who coached the Queensland Reds to the 2011 Super Rugby provincial title, sees technical improvements in the Wallabies.

"The All Blacks put pressure on you. We failed in execution at different points of the game, there were a couple of line-out lifts and things like that," he said.

"It happens when you are under the pump but I thought we put them under pressure as well, so at times we might have got a little ahead of ourselves.

"I think we were much more composed in the second half and they kicked particularly well in the first half and put us under pressure, most of our errors were in the first half and we able to turn that around."

The All Blacks haven't lost against all comers to Eden Park in 32 Tests since falling 23-20 to France and drawing 18-18 with South Africa in 1994.

"We'll hear all week about the history, but that's history, you know, and we're not living in the past," McKenzie said on Sunday.

"Not many in the team were involved in the history of Eden Park.

"There's been plenty of provincial success there from the different [Australian Super Rugby] teams, so they have actually won there."

The last time the Wallabies won at Eden Park legends David Campese, Michael Lynagh, Nick Farr-Jones and captain Andrew Slack orchestrated a 22-9 victory in 1986.

"It's a fantastic motivator. So the more you write about it, the better I'll feel about it because I'll be telling the players," McKenzie said.

"If you grab little bits of history along the way, that's a significant team that can do that.

"So bring it on. I'm looking forward to the challenge of it."


There are currently no matches being played
Tue, 30 August 2016
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Wed, 31 August 2016
Griquas v EP Kings 15h00 Kimberley
Fri, 02 September 2016
Boland v Pumas 13h00 Wellington
Blue Bulls v Golden Lions 17h00 Pretoria
Ospreys v Zebre 18h35 Liberty Stadium
Leinster v Treviso 18h35 RDS Arena
Ulster v Dragons 18h35 Kingspan Stadium
Gloucester v Leicester Tigers 18h45 Kingsholm
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 03 September 2016
Saracens v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Twickenham Stadium
Free State Cheetahs v EP Kings 13h00 Bloemfontein
Scarlets v Munster 14h00 Parc y Scarlets
Northampton Saints v Bath 14h30 Franklin's Gardens
Western Province v Sharks 15h10 Cape Town
Harlequins v Bristol 15h30 Twickenham Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 16h15 Sportsground
Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Sun, 04 September 2016
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 2 2 0 0 10
South Africa 2 1 0 1 5
Argentina 2 1 0 1 5
Australia 2 0 0 2 0