Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Australia were firmly focused on winning back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in more than a decade after beating the All Blacks in Sydney.
The 27-19 win at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, which enabled Australia to clinch the Rugby Championship, was the first Wallabies triumph over New Zealand since 2011.
Cheika said he was proud of the team’s efforts but was aware of the tough game ahead at Eden Park in Auckland next weekend, which could see Australia win back the Bledisloe Cup they last held in 2002.
The most recent Wallabies win at Eden Park against the All Blacks was back in 1986 and they have lost 15 Tests there since.
“I don’t want to be a sad sack, but you take a moment to congratulate your players, and enjoy that game and then you start thinking about the next game and what I have to do to be ready,” Cheika told reporters late Saturday.
“The reality is that we’ve only won one game against New Zealand in a long time and me more than anyone knows that stands for a little bit.
“Consistency is key and we have to go out there and prepare each day to be competitive again with the number one team in the world on their own patch. That’s our target.”
Cheika said he was happy with the performance of Brumbies scrum-half Nic White, who was the unlikely hero Saturday after scoring a try and kicking a long-range penalty goal along with a conversion in the final minutes.
“He put his hand up to take a long-range penalty, he had good distribution, good service and also scored a try,” Cheika said.
“And that’s what I want, I want guys to put their hands up and say ‘I want to be part of this’. That’ll help the competition for places in the scrum.”
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said his team had been stung and were looking to bounce back at Eden Park.
— ANZ Stadium (@ANZStadium) August 8, 2015
“I know the boys are hurting and if that’s going to bring the best out of them, then next week will,” McCaw said.
“Just because you play there (Eden Park), doesn’t mean it’s going to happen automatically.”
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said he was looking forward to the August 15 clash after the defeat.
“We just got beaten by a better side on the night. We have to face up to that reality. It’s an inconvenient fact,” Hansen said.
“But we’ve been here before, we’ve lost games before and doesn’t mean to say we’ve become a bad side.”
The importance of Saturday's test between Australia and New Zealand, which will both decide the Rugby Championship and fine tune World Cup preparations, has been reflected in bold selections.
Nehe Milner-Skudder will become the ninth new All Black in four games after being included in mass changes in the backs for this weekend’s Rugby Championship decider against Australia.
New Zealand and Australia go into the final-round clash as the only unbeaten sides in the tournament which also includes South Africa and Argentina.
The Bledisloe Cup, contested between the trans-Tasman rivals, is at stake as well. Milner-Skudder will start on the right wing as coach Steve Hansen continues to experiment with combinations before settling on his World Cup squad.
Only scrum-half Aaron Smith and centre Conrad Smith survive from the backline that started in the 27-20 win over South Africa in the All Blacks last outing at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Hansen has made two further changes in the forwards and two on the bench in the team announced on Wednesday.
“We will have to take a step up from our Ellis Park performance,” Hansen said. “This means we will need to bring physicality, intensity and accuracy to the occasion. I am picking this to be a brutal contest, and one we are looking forward to.”
The call up for Milner-Skudder – a relative of former All Blacks Buff Milner and George Skudder – follows a standout year for the Wellington Hurricanes where he starred with his eye for the half-gap and broad sidestep. He forms part of a potent back three with left wing Julian Savea and Ben Smith moving to full-back.
The Aussie team will announced on Thursday.