Bledisloe bigger than World Cup?
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: Winning the Bledisloe Cup has become more important than winning the World Cup reckons Wallabies scrumhalf, Will Genia.
The scrumhalf’s sentiment stems from Wallabies’ 15-year failure to claim the Bledisloe Cup from their trans-Tasman rivals.
The last time the Wallabies lifted the trophy was in 2002 since then New Zealand have dominated the rivalry.
Not only that, the All Blacks have won the World Cup in 2011 and 2015, while prior to that the three winners – Australia (1999), England (2003) and South Africa (2007) – won the title without facing New Zealand at all.
Despite not having won a World Cup trophy, Genia who has been part of seven losing Bledisloe campaign regards the trophy as the “pinnacle”
“I haven’t won a World Cup so I am not going to say its harder but for me, it’s the no.1 priority,” Genia said.
“They are the best team in the world for the last 15-20 years, they’re back-to-back World Cup winners, you have to beat them two times out of three to win it.
“For me that makes it incredibly difficult and also will make it incredibly special if we are fortunate enough to do it.
“I can only say from my point of view and I would have to say its the pinnacle. The World Cup is obviously up there but how often do you get to play the best team in the world and have to win two out of three to win a trophy.
“I have been trying for a while now. Really looking forward to another crack,”
Australia won their last meeting against New Zealand in Brisbane in 2017 and Genia said they wanted to repeat that form in Saturday’s first Bledisloe Test, which doubles as the opening match of the Rugby Championship.
Asked what was required to beat New Zealand consistently, Genia said: “Intensity,”
“Making sure you are in their faces for the entire 80 minutes,” he continued.
“They’re a good team that if you give them an opportunity if you give them a sniff, they take it, whether it is in defence or attack. Just being relentless in terms of the pressure you apply on them, with the ball and without the ball.
“And just bringing that physicality as well. That was a big trademark of our game when we played them last year in Brisbane,”
Genia said the return of flank David Pocock, who was on sabbatical for last year’s series, would lift the Wallabies.
“In the Rugby World Cup in 2015, he was one of the best players on the planet. He brings his ability as a player but also drives standards off the field,” he said.
The Wallabies have suffered heavy defeats in the past two Bledisloe openers and playmaker Kurtley Beale said they wanted to avoid a similar fate in Sydney.
The Australians played a trial match this month to ensure they did not go into the series underdone and Beale said Cheika had emphasised the need for a strong start.
“In the last few training sessions, it’s been spoken about a lot… focusing on trying to start the game with a bang,” he said.
“I’m sure that focus is going to put us in a really good position,”
Source: AFP & @rugbycomau