ABs change strategy for Oz

2012-05-26 08:52

Auckland - World champions New Zealand will stay in New Zealand longer to prepare for away Tests against Australia after losing the final Tri-Nations trophy to their arch-rivals last year.

The world No 1 All Blacks have customarily landed in Australia up to a week in advance of Tests but will delay their arrival until two days before their two away Tests against the Wallabies this year.

"It's more about us trying to raise the bar," All Blacks manager Darren Shand told Fairfax Media. "We have not had the success we'd like in Australia and (the coaches and players) have been thinking hard about how they prepare and think it's worth changing.

"It's the norm for most (New Zealand) teams now ... Let's be honest, it's not much to travel for three hours."

New Zealand have won eight of their last 13 away matches against second-ranked Australia since 2002, a proportion well down on their overall winning average of about 75%.

Under new coach Steve Hansen, the All Blacks host Ireland in a three-match series next month before travelling to Sydney in August for the opener of the inaugural Rugby Championship, which sees Argentina added to the southern hemisphere competition including South Africa.

A third Bledisloe Cup match between the Wallabies and All Blacks and which is not part of the southern hemisphere competition, will be held in Brisbane in October.