Australia prop Adam Coleman insists going into the belly of the beast to try and gain redemption after being humbled by the All Blacks at home in their Bledisloe Cup opener provides the nation with great motivation.
The Wallabies are hurting after being humbled on their home turf and want redemption, but winning at Eden Park for the first time in more than 30 years would be the perfect response.
Coleman said they were disappointed to let a 6-5 half-time lead slip by squandering possession and failing at the set piece, with world champions New Zealand eventually sauntering to a 38-13 triumph in Sydney following a superb second half spectacle in which they ran in six tries.
But Coleman believes Australia could improve in the second match of the three-Test series on Saturday.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our boys,” he told reporters at the team’s remote island base on Monday.
“What a challenge to come to Eden Park and respond here in New Zealand. It’s great motivation for the squad.”
Michael Cheika’s men have retreated to Waiheke Island, 20 kilometres off the Auckland coast, to plot vengeance for their drubbing in the first Bledisloe Cup Test, which also doubled up as the opening Rugby Championship clash.
A favourite weekend getaway for Aucklanders visiting its upmarket vineyards, the island this week hosts an Aussie team desperate to stop the All Blacks claiming the Bledisloe for the 16th straight year.
Coleman, 26, was not born the last time the Wallabies beat the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1986.
But he said the Australians were relishing the opportunity to challenge the Auckland venue’s intimidating history.
“We laugh about it but we’re here to do a job,” he said.
“The boys are hurting at the moment and to come here and play at Eden Park is something we’re looking forward to.
“We get to turn around a performance that we’re not really proud of. I think we let down people on our home turf and it hurts.”
New Zealand defeated Australia 38-13 in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney on Saturday.
The world champions scored six tries to one in a match which also doubles as the Rugby Championship opener, for their third win at the ANZ Stadium in as many years.
Here, we take a look at the key stats from the match.
142: metres made by All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo. The Fijian-born star used his speed and nimble footwork to dissect the opposition defence with ease.
13: defenders beaten by Naholo. The Highlanders man beat seven more defenders than any other player, with teammates Jack Goodhue (6) and Ben Smith (5) following behind.
2: Tries scored by Naholo in a virtuous display. His first try in particular was a gem, using his pace to collect a cleverly weighed kick from Beauden Barrett to score.
90: percentage tackle success rate for David Pocock. The Wallabies back-rower completed 18 out of 20 tackles and put his body on the line at every opportunity to disrupt the All Blacks momentum.
11: tackles made by Goodhue. The Crusaders man scored a try, made 140 metres and did not miss one tackle in a stunning performance.
5: tackles missed by winger Marika Koroibete, who for a former rugby league player was highly inconsistent in defence.
9: turnovers conceded between Beauden Barrett (5) and Naholo (4). Although it might seem a high error count, both were the stand-out players at the ANZ Stadium. Barrett scored a try and assisted Naholo’s first, while the Fijian-born star scored two and assisted Aaron Smith in the first half.
75: percentage success rate at line-out time for the All Blacks in contrast to 41 percent success rate for the Wallabies.
6: penalties conceded by the Wallabies front row in comparison to just one by the All Blacks.
Danny Cipriani must appear before an independent disciplinary hearing next week as the fallout from his nightclub scuffle developed into a row between Gloucester and Twickenham.
Cipriani has been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game by the Rugby Football Union and could face a fine and/or ban if the complaint lodged is upheld.
The England fly-half was fined £2,000 by Jersey Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident that took place on Gloucester’s pre-season tour to Jersey.
He was also ordered to pay £250 compensation for the bruised neck suffered by a policewoman during the confrontation at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
It was initially suggested that Cipriani would escape censure from Twickenham with Eddie Jones making a call on his England future in the coming weeks, only for head of discipline David Barnes to issue the charge on the basis of his convictions.
The unexpected development has infuriated Gloucester, who claim the RFU has acted only in response to the publicity generated by the story.
“We are surprised and extremely disappointed,” chief executive Stephen Vaughan said.
“Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I received a personal assurance from the RFU that no disciplinary discussions would take place until we had completed our own conversations.
“There is no historic precedent of a player being singled out in this manner and we feel that this disciplinary process has been influenced by the significant media coverage of this week’s events and other external factors.
“We do not believe that this decision and the subsequent unnecessary public attention that will now follow it is in the best interests of either the RFU, the club, the player nor the game in general.”
However, it is understood that the RFU disputes Vaughan’s claim that any assurance was given to Gloucester over the timing of its own inquiry.
The renewal of club v country hostilities came just hours after Cipriani had been omitted from the squad for Gloucester’s pre-season friendly against Ulster.
He was left out of the 31-man party chosen for the trip to Kingspan Stadium to enable him to negotiate the aftermath of the latest disciplinary lapse to have propelled him into the headlines.
As the club’s marquee signing for the new Gallagher Premiership campaign, he had been expected to be involved in the first of only two pre-season friendlies arranged before the league opener against Northampton on September 1.
It is understood that the 30-year-old playmaker has travelled to Belfast with his team-mates but, in the wake of the Jersey incident, will now be confined to a watching brief and will instead be given his debut against the Dragons at Kingsholm on Thursday.
An England career that produced its first start in a decade against South Africa in June remains shrouded in doubt with Jones to make a call on his future in the coming weeks as the autumn series at Twickenham looms.
Sir Clive Woodward, England’s 2003 World Cup-winning coach and a long-term admirer of Cipriani’s, has called for Cipriani to be discarded by Jones.