Gregor Paul: Not much hope for woeful Wallabies

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Robbie Deans and the Wallabies are facing a huge task to match the All Blacks this weekend. Photo / Getty Images
Robbie Deans and the Wallabies are facing a huge task to match the All Blacks this weekend. Photo / Getty Images

Australian Rugby is an a horrible mess - that much was confirmed when they named a Wallaby team for this weekend's clash that, seriously, would have a hard time beating Canterbury.

This is not a Wallaby side to fear. This is not a Wallaby side that has the firepower out wide or collective clout in the forwards to even get close to the All Blacks.

That's not an invitation for complacency or to be mistaken as arrogance. That's a simple statement of fact and as long as the All Blacks prepare well, turn up in the right mental state and play with the tempo, aggression, intensity and accuracy they produced against both Argentina and South Africa, then it's impossible to hold much hope for the Wallabies. They'll get their beans - one giant serving of.

The worry for Robbie Deans is that if the All Blacks get into a rhythm early, build a handy lead and keep the pace relentless, the Wallabies have a dud bench. A super dud bench in fact: who is going to feel the fear when James Slipper, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Liam Gill, Brett Sheehan and Drew Mitchell are sent for?

All year the All Blacks have talked about the challenge being against themselves and never will there be a better example of that than this test. This, as far as the Bledisloe goes, is a dead rubber and that will have removed some of the natural edge of the occasion. The All Blacks have also been dealing with the uncertainty over head coach Steve Hansen's role this week as his father sadly passed away yesterday.

They have put together two convincing consecutive performances and history shows the All Blacks have been guilty in the past of failing to back-up performances: it's often the case that after an electric showing standards slip. The players sit back and think the victory will come without the hard work going in.

So potentially the clash in Brisbane is a prime candidate for such an off-night. But it's hard to see it. Hard because captain Richie McCaw has made it his mission to hammer home the need for preparation to be perfect every test and for everyone to realise that nothing carries over from one test to the next.

Hard because the All Blacks want to equal that consecutive victories world record. Hard because they want Keven Mealamu to have a win on his 100th cap. Hard because they want to be proud of the standards they achieve and hard because they would really like to destroy the Wallabies having been a little negligent and careless in their previous two encounters this year.

Dead rubber...? No chance. This game is alive but it's uncertain whether Australian rugby will be by the end of it.

- Herald on Sunday

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