Rugby

All Blacks 'vulnerable'

2012-10-18 10:06
Aaron Smith (AFP)
Sydney - Wallabies assistant coach Nick Scrivener has declared the All Blacks eminently ''vulnerable'' for Saturday's Test against Australia.

According to stuff.co.nz website, amid a prevailing view the Wallabies in their injury-hit state cannot challenge the dominance of the world champions, Scrivener said the All Blacks were too ''comfortable'' to be unbeatable.

''They've had limited disruption with their personnel, they're very comfortable with how they play,'' he said. ''We definitely have identified areas where we think we can go and play with pressure and those points are going to be very important. Where we apply that pressure we've just got to play well.''

The Wallabies' victory against Argentina in Rosario 12 days ago provided a much-needed morale boost for the group, many of whom received late call-ups to the squad.

But the ball-handling chaos wrought by high humidity that same night sent a shiver up the spines of many supporters who know ball control is the key to trumping a side as unforgiving as the All Blacks.

Scrivener acknowledged the need for the Wallabies to pull together a complete performance in the final trans-Tasman Test.

''We've done well in all parts of our game [at different times], we've just got to put them together,'' he said.

''We're confident in games, we're not scoring tries but we're putting pressure on opposition to make mistakes and give penalties away. We're getting access through penalty goals and all those sorts of things, but definitely one area of our game is to get flow and tempo back ... We won't be sticking out the jumper for 80 minutes this week that's for sure.''

Aggression and physicality were an area, Scrivener said, in which the Wallabies proved their mettle during the Rugby Championship.

The return of No 8 Wycliff Palu to the back row, alongside blindside breakaway Scott Higginbotham and second-rower Sitaleki Timani, will give the Wallabies' pack further grunt this weekend.

''To large degrees I think that's actually served us well, that area of the game, over the last two weeks,'' Scrivener said.

''Look at those games we were behind when we came back, upping the physical side of things brought us back into the game [and] certainly last week you look at the Argentina game and how physical they are, I thought the way we started that game - very, very physically - was a strong part of our game. So we're not shying away from that, we actually see that when we do that well it's a strength of ours.''

There were a few around the Wallabies yesterday who thought the squad's mental game needed bolstering. Former Wallabies Geoff Shaw and Tony Shaw, who were in the 1979 team that won back the Bledisloe for the first time in decades, said hunger and a refusal to be dominated was the key to beating the Kiwis.

''It's a couple of inches up the top of the scone that wins [Tests],'' Tony Shaw said. ''There needs to be a burning desire at every stage to win every game and to win every contest. I think it's really important that we engender that. The players themselves, it's got to come from them.''

Geoff Shaw said the Wallabies needed to make sure they ''played against'' the All Blacks and did not just stand back and marvel at the spectacle.

''You spend time watching other teams, not playing against other teams,'' Shaw said. ''You wait for them to produce what they're supposed to produce at a higher level ... the dominance of a team can be fairly overpowering.''

Read more on:    all blacks  |  rugby
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