The Wallabies have declared eight is enough, aiming to end a losing streak against the All Blacks which threatens to match their darkest rugby era.
The NZPA reports that since that memorable Sydney night when coach Robbie Deans steered Australia to a 34-19 triumph in his maiden showdown with New Zealand counterpart Graham Henry, the green and golds have plunged to eight straight defeats.
Tomorrow night’s test here could see them match the wobbliest Wallabies streak ever, a nine-test nightmare from 1936-47, also against the All Blacks.
Three players have started in all eight losses, utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper, first five-eighth Matt Giteau and prop Benn Robinson, and can reflect on several near-misses interspersed with some thumpings, such as last weekend’s 49-28 humbling in Melbourne.
“It’s not a mental block. We believe we can beat this New Zealand team,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“Obviously my last eight encounters haven’t been so successful but it’s not a hoodoo for us, it just presents a bigger challenge and one that Australians embrace and enjoy.”
Ashley-Cooper insisted the difference between the teams was small, with the present All Blacks more adept at taking scoring opportunities when they arise.
They were also doing the basics well, laying the foundation for an expansive game, but the burly centre said Deans had given them means of countering the All Blacks’ all-purpose game.
“I would say that New Zealand have performed out of their skin and are playing the best rugby they have over the last couple of years,” he said.
“This week (Deans) has given us a licence to be very aggressive. And that’s important, to bring that intensity. If we’re aggressive and focused for the whole 80 and hold onto the ball, that will put us in a good position to get a result.”
Deans’ patience with his players is starting to wear thin.
This week he replaced senior figures Berrick Barnes and Stephen Moore with the inexperienced Faingaa brothers — second five-eighth Anthony and hooker Saia.
It may not end there, the Canterbury great added.
“There’s obviously been a consequence off the back of last week’s performance but not a total consequence … obviously nothing lasts forever.”
Deans said the All Blacks traditionally thrived when holding the wood on another team and hoped his team could break out of the bubble.
“Success breeds success, there’s no doubt about that. That’s why there’s a number of nations around the world that have never beaten the All Blacks.
“They use that to their own advantage and they get the benefit of that in a number of ways.”
New Zealand’s best winning run is still alive at 23 against Wales since 1963 while their worst streak is six losses to South Africa from 1937-49.Tweet