New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett on Tuesday warned of an Australian backlash when the fierce rivals clash in the Bledisloe Cup in Japan this weekend.
The All Blacks, who have won the last two Rugby World Cups, will be looking to complete a 3-0 whitewash in the annual series in Saturday’s Test in Yokohama.
But Barrett pointed to Australia’s stunning recent fightback against Argentina – when they wiped out a 24-point half-time deficit to win 45-34 – as evidence the Wallabies have turned the corner after losing six of their eight previous Tests.
“We always get a confident Australia, there’s no doubt about that,” the two-time world player of the year told reporters.
“They’ve probably rediscovered that bit of belief that may have been missing. It was a great comeback, we acknowledge that — be we weren’t surprised to see them come back.
“We can’t take for granted that we’re going to just keep winning,” added Barrett, who is set to win his 70th cap at the weekend.
“There’s no secret recipe – we just have to keep working hard. We have high standards and we have to be accountable. It’s a serious business.”
New Zealand slipped up last year after winning the first two Bledisloe Tests, a fact not lost on wing Rieko Ioane.
“It’s a similar situation,” he said. “Last year was a huge learning curve for us, but they came out swinging harder and deserved their win.”
New Zealand face the 2019 World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo on November 3 before flying to Europe to complete their five-match tour against England, Ireland and Italy.
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