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Ewen McKenzie throws down gauntlet to All Blacks as Wallabies prepare for Bledisloe clash

"We know we made uncharacteristic errors and I'm sure they decided the same thing, so it's not about poking a bear with ...

"We know we made uncharacteristic errors and I'm sure they decided the same thing, so it's not about poking a bear with a stick, it's a competitive game": Ewen McKenzie. Photo: Getty Images

Ewen McKenzie has challenged the All Blacks to "bring their A game" to the second Bledisloe Cup clash and defend their 28-year unbeaten run at Eden Park against the Wallabies. 

The Wallabies bounded into Auckland on Thursday night and wasted little time setting the record straight. 

Fronting the captain's news conference alongside Michael Hooper on Friday, McKenzie batted away a week's worth of barbs from counterpart Steve Hansen and said he hoped both teams would hold nothing back after a rain-affected draw in Sydney. 

"They'll judge their own performance. I thought we put them under pressure," he said. 

"We know we made uncharacteristic errors and I'm sure they decided the same thing, so it's not about poking a bear with a stick, it's a competitive game.

"We want them to bring their A game because we're going to bring ours. That's what it's about."

McKenzie offered some polite advice to Hansen, who earlier in the week claimed referee Jaco Peyper apologised for a number of incorrect calls against New Zealand in the 12-12 match in Sydney. 

"I haven't seen the referee's comment, only Steve's interpretation of what the referee said," McKenzie said.   

"He [Hansen] talks about free kicks at scrum time – I think there were three free kicks but there were still 14 penalties, so it depends on which bit you want to look at."

Frenchman Romain Poite will lead the officiating in Saturday's clash, prompting worries the Australian scrum would be haunted by Poite's perception of the deciding Test of the British and Irish Lions series. 

McKenzie did his best to take the high road, but offered another tip to Hansen, saying he had learnt to look at the big picture of a team's treatment and performance over time. 

"The IRB's done a pretty good job of trying to get some consistency in that area [refereeing] and SANZAR has as well," he said. 

"Teams have to look at themselves over time, as opposed to looking at one game and saying 'there was one mistake'. 

"We can look at the game and point out a few things that we weren't happy with, but you can do that every week."

Hooper dismissed talk of the Wallabies' Eden Park hoodoo, despite Australia's last win at the picturesque suburban fortress coming seven years before his birth. 

"We're thinking about the improvements we can make on the field, rather than the big picture going around it," he said. 

"We're footy players who want to know how we can get better in attack and defence; it's as simple as that."

The Wallabies trained at Eden Park on Friday afternoon in their first dry session of the week.

With no rain forecast on Saturday, McKenzie said he was confident the Wallabies would put in an improved performance, despite Hansen's suggestion they had little left to give after the opening round draw. 

"I've been watching the All Blacks for a long time, so I know what the All Blacks as a team are capable of," he said. 

"It depends on the group of individuals. They were going for a world record last week and didn't get there. 

"They're a very consistent side, they've been the most consistent team for a number of years. 

"We know that, but it doesn't mean they win every game, so we look forward to the challenge."

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all
 

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