All Blacks provide ultimate test
"They're looking unbeatable - all the time" ... Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale on the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images
THERE IS no better reality check in world rugby than looking up at the fixture list and seeing the words ''All Blacks'' pencilled in for the next game.
As such, the Wallabies are busy trying to find a way to unpick a New Zealand juggernaut that has not lost a game in 14 months.
Coincidentally, that last loss happened to be in Brisbane against the Wallabies in August last year. But that was a very different Wallabies squad and the All Blacks return to Queensland as world champions.
''Obviously they are in awesome form at the moment,'' Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale said. ''They're looking unbeatable - all the time … They're playing some really exciting football. All of their players are close to being the best in their positions in the world.''
Despite all of that, and a horrible injury toll, there is fight in the Wallabies, partly because it is the All Blacks and partly because the players, and the coach, know exactly what is riding on this game. The flattery for the heart on show in Rosario and the temporary removal of the blowtorch to Robbie Deans will be swiftly reversed if they are flogged by the Kiwis at home.
On a personal front, Beale knows a strong showing at No.10 will go a long way to proving he really is the long-term solution in that position for the Wallabies. On a team front, he understands the fans will want them to if not win, at least die trying.
''This is the big game for everyone in the team to stand up and put their hand up for a long-term position,'' he said. ''It's going to be a massive challenge for us.''
There is other motivation from within. Nathan Sharpe will captain the side for his final Test on home soil before retirement and would love nothing more than to be seen off with what would be a famous victory.