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Brisbane loss spurs All Blacks

Date

Duncan Johnstone

Motivated … Piri Weepu, standing, leads the All Blacks in the haka last weekend.

Motivated … Piri Weepu, standing, leads the All Blacks in the haka last weekend. Photo: Reuters

THE All Blacks are itching to stamp their champion status on the Wallabies in Brisbane next weekend.

Having backed up their World Cup success with an unbeaten run through the Rugby Championship and widened their gap at the top of the world rankings, the All Blacks appear to be in a class of their own.

That's a tribute to the way Steve Hansen and his new-look coaching team have managed to motivate the side to new levels.

They have succeeded in motivating from within their group a desire to not just maintain but improve standards, and that will be a driving force next weekend in Australia where they chase win No. 17.

The last time they lost was indeed in Brisbane in their final Test before the World Cup campaign. That will be a spur to this playing group, many of whom experienced that 25-20 defeat.

But they are equally moved to try to better what they have shown against the Wallabies this year with a 27-19 win in Sydney followed by a 22-0 victory at Eden Park to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

Dismiss any talk of this being a dead rubber. The All Blacks assistant coach, Ian Foster, said the team killed that theory last week when they buried the Boks in South Africa with the Rugby Championship title wrapped up.

"I think we showed in the Soweto game how much it means to this team just to perform on the day and to put our best foot forward," Foster said yesterday.

"This Bledisloe Cup game is the same equation. There will be some people say that we have already won it and maybe we can loosen up a wee bit but the reality is we just want to keep performing.''

With a northern tour looming with Tests against Scotland, Italy, Wales and England, the All Blacks want to get the business done down under first against a Wallabies team that has shown character if not class in recent weeks.

They ground out a victory in Argentina last week but will be buoyed to be back in Brisbane. Foster is sure the Australians won't be lacking motivation either.

"Historically, the Aussies have played very well in Brisbane. The last time the All Blacks lost was there and history is full of times that the Australians have seemingly been down and out and they've shown a massive amount of character and played really well against us under that sort of pressure,'' he said.

With no major injuries, Foster indicated a "steady as you go" approach to selection. There may be some tinkering but a foundation of their success this year has been built around minimal changes to the starting XV and cleverly integrating the new, young talent and maintaining freshness in key areas.

Foster said there was no reason why the All Blacks can't get even better. That was about looking at themselves and also trying to second-guess opponents.

"You have to focus on keeping improving things. It's about celebrating the successes and the things that are going good. But it's also making sure we keep the microscope on our game to figure out how could we improve it, what little things could we do a bit differently, but also what would our next opposition do to stop what they have just seen?

"There are a lot of very good people tossing ideas into the melting pot in this group."

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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