Wallabies World Cup winner Owen Finegan dismisses the existence of an Eden Park hoodoo – the All Blacks are just good everywhere, especially at home.
His former Wallabies and ACT Brumbies teammate Stephen Larkham felt any possible hoodoo at the Auckland ground would have less meaning for the Brumbies players in the Australian side because they beat the Auckland Blues there last year.
The Wallabies and All Blacks will play game two of the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park on Saturday, the Wallabies trying to win there for the first time since 1986.
Even the Wallabies' golden era involving Larkham and Finegan failed to beat the All Blacks in Auckland.
Larkham played the All Blacks at Eden Park three times (2003, 2006-07) and Finegan once (2003).
Finegan pointed to New Zealand's recent record of one loss in 39 games as the real reason why they're hard to beat in Auckland rather than any particular hoodoo.
He said every good run ends, pointing to the St George Illawarra Dragons finally beating the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium for the first time since 2000 on Saturday.
"A majority of them at different stages with their different teams would have won and lost in New Zealand – it's not going to Auckland and it's not Eden Park that's difficult to play at," Finegan said,
"You're playing the All Blacks that's the difficult thing and they're playing their national sport for their national team ... and they don't lose often, it's got nothing to do with Auckland.
"If you're going to beat them, if you're playing in Sydney or you're playing in Auckland, you have to take all your opportunities."
While many experts were saying the Wallabies blew their chance to beat the reigning world champions on Saturday night, Finegan said they should take confidence out of the draw in the wet at ANZ Stadium.
Larkham shared that view and felt Australia's second-half fightback, where they kept the ball in hand and came from 9-3 down, gave them momentum going into the second Bledisloe Test.
The Brumbies head coach was an assistant to Jake White when the Brumbies took on the Blues at Eden Park in 2013 – a game the visitors won 20-13 in the wet.
Wallabies Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Alexander, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter and Tevita Kuridrani all played that night and Larkham felt they'd take the belief of having won there into the Test.
"It's not so much a hoodoo for those boys, it'll give everyone confidence that they can win there because the Blues were in pretty good form that day as well," Larkham said.
"Again it was wet conditions, but we played to the conditions really well and got the win. Yeah, I think they'll take a lot of confidence out of that."
Larkham backed the Kurtley Beale experiment at flyhalf and felt Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie should allow his combination with Toomua the chance to build in another Test.
He dismissed suggestions the NSW Waratahs playmakers of Beale and Bernard Foley should be paired together after guiding their Super Rugby province to the title.
Larkham said Toomua's defence set him apart from any flyhalf or inside centre in the world and felt he was a must for the Wallabies backline.
"That doesn't make sense to me [picking Beale and Foley], it's not a Super Rugby game, it's a Test match," he said.
"[Toomua's] defence was outstanding and you can't underestimate how important defence is in Test matches.
"He's very solid, [All Blacks inside centre Ma'a] Nonu couldn't find any gaps through there and in fact got a couple of shots from [Toomua].
"It's been widely documented that he's the best defending 10/12 in the world."