Hard yards: Kane Douglas pounds the pavement at Waratahs training this week as his Wallabies teammates prepare to face the All Blacks.

Hard yards: Kane Douglas pounds the pavement at Waratahs training this week as his Wallabies teammates prepare to face the All Blacks. Photo: Peter Rae

One big frustration for Kane Douglas in his short tenure as a Wallaby has been figuring out what has laid the foundation to the All Blacks' winning culture.

The Waratahs second-rower, who has played 12 Tests, will get time to think about that in Sydney on Saturday as he watches Australia play New Zealand in Dunedin in the third and final Bledisloe Cup match for the season.

Sure, it is easy to cite the All Blacks' sheer desire to win, their depth of talent and the steep and rich history of success the side has against the topsy-turvy history of the Wallabies, which includes some fantastic peaks, but also many long and painful troughs, such as the one today's Wallabies are experiencing, despite their two wins over Argentina in the Rugby Championship ensuring they avoided the wooden spoon. Douglas, one of 32 players in Australia's spring tour squad, is training with the Waratahs in preparation for the trip to Europe.

Cracking the code to the All Blacks' mindset or culture of winning is still a mystery to him, and one suspects it is equally puzzling to all the Wallabies, considering their results since Douglas' debut against Argentina on the Gold Coast last year.

Asked about the gap between the Wallabies and the undefeated Rugby Championship winners, Douglas said: “It's that winning culture. They just keep winning. I'm not sure what to put the finger on but they just seem to keep winning and being really consistent with everything they do.”

The 120 kilogram, 201 centimetre second-rower even joked: “It would be good to have someone in there to [see] what they actually do … not to spy [on their game plans and training, but] to spy on the team culture side of it and see what they do. They seem to just keep delivering. If someone gets injured, they have another guy who can do the exact same job.”

Douglas realises the Wallabies can't just sit back and ponder the mystery. He says there will come a time when the Wallabies just have to step up and act on it. “We are rebuilding. There are heaps of fresh faces this year,” Douglas said. “But you don't want to look too far down the track to next year or the year after. You need to hit your straps. The [Wallabies] want to get some respect back [on Saturday]. Hopefully, they can put a good show to sling-shot us on to the spring tour.”

The value of the “sling shot” that Douglas speaks of can't be underestimated, with the Wallabies to play their first spring tour Tests against England two weeks later. A combative performance on Saturday – if not a win – would provide vital momentum.