Rugby

Wallabies look to conjure Salta magic against All Blacks

2018-10-26 13:27
Michael Hooper (Getty)

Tokyo - Australia must reproduce the form that saw them roar back to beat Argentina in their last match if they hope to beat New Zealand in Japan this weekend, captain Michael Hooper said on Friday.

The Wallabies overturned a 24-point half-time deficit to stun the Pumas 45-34 earlier this month to ease the pressure on under-fire coach Michael Cheika.

But while the All Blacks will be chasing a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup whitewash in Saturday's clash in Yokohama, Hooper insisted that there was more than pride at stake for the Aussies.

"There's always heaps of motivation playing for your country," he told reporters.

"It's a shame we're not playing for any silverware but every Test match is massive for us," added Hooper.

"We are out here to build as a team. We get the opportunity to play the number one team in the world - we're competitive blokes so you want to be in these situations and be out there when the lights are on."

New Zealand won the first two Bledisloe matches 38-13 and 40-12 in August while Australia's form nose-dived, the Wallabies winning just six of eight games before their astonishing comeback against Argentina.

Hooper agreed Australia needed to bottle the essence of that swashbuckling second-half display in Salta before November Tests away to Wales, Italy and England.

"It really was a polarising performance from one half to another," said the flanker.

"It is a reference point for us - reproducing the consistency of that game-play is paramount for us, it's as simple as that," shrugged Hooper.

"We need to defend better for longer and attack better for longer. In both (Bledisloe) games we put in a lot of good minutes. But that's obviously not enough."

New Zealand captain Kieran Read also referenced Australia's last outing on the eve of their showdown in Japan.

"The second half of their last game is the kind of rugby you dream about, so we know the threat they pose," said Read, who turned 33 on Friday.

"It's going to be a tough battle."

The New Zealand skipper was also mindful of how New Zealand failed to complete a 3-0 sweep of the annual series last year, losing 23-18 in Brisbane.

"Certainly we do remember those losses and it is driving us at the back of our minds," said Read.

"You've got to be aware of what oppositions will throw at you, but as long as we maintain as much control as we can it will help us."

Read demanded that the All Blacks get off to a winning start before facing 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo on November 3 and playing away Tests against England, Ireland and Italy.

"We want to be able to dictate games in terms of territory and look after the pill as much as we can," he said.

"If we do that, we generally put ourselves in good positions."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  all blacks  |  rugby
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