All Blacks looking to 'strengthen' their team
The Wallabies may get some sort of reprieve in the fourth and final Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane on Saturday with the All Blacks planning personnel changes.
The Australians fell to their worst-ever defeat in Sydney last Saturday, but with the Bledisloe Cup secured New Zealand are set to make changes to their line-up.
The All Blacks won’t take their foot off the throat of the Wallabies until they have the Tri-Nations silverware also in their keeping, with Argentina another competitor.
No.8 Ardie Savea, who missed the Sydney romp following the birth of his son, is set to return.
However, prop Joe Moodie is still being troubled by concussion symptoms and unlikely to be available.
Without revealing details, assistant coach John Plumtree said they wanted to give other players in their squad a run and keep the team fresh.
He said same-day travel to Brisbane from Sydney would also provide a unique challenge.
“In this group there’s going to be some changes,” Plumtree said on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s team naming.
“That will provide a different type of energy and excitement within the group in this build-up.
“We’ve got some players knocking on the door and there’s been some awesome competition for spots and we can expect some changes to freshen players up.”
Despite the margin of the scoreline, Plumtree expected the wounded Wallabies to perform better at Suncorp Stadium.
In six clashes there since 2006 the home side has won two and drawn one, which the coach said had been discussed.
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“They will feel under a little bit of pressure and that can bring the best out of them,” Plumtree said of the Wallabies.
“There’s an exciting young group in the Australian team and they will keep getting better and better with the more experience that they have.
“It’s another opportunity for them this week to improve.
“They will be looking for a really good team performance without worrying about any individuals.”
He also said there was plenty for the All Blacks players to work on and they were far from satisfied with their 80-minute performance.
“There were patches in that game that were pretty average and the scoreboard was pretty impressive but at times we weren’t impressive.
“We made a lot of mistakes and unforced areas for a period of the game.
“Our game management and some of our individual brilliant play set us up at times and the forwards laid a platform for us, but this team keeps looking for improvement.”