Rugby: Wallabies aim to create NZ doubts

James O'Connor runs the ball during the Tri-Nations match between the Wallabies and the Springboks. Photo / Getty Images
James O'Connor runs the ball during the Tri-Nations match between the Wallabies and the Springboks. Photo / Getty Images

The Wallabies believe they can reap a major psychological Rugby World Cup advantage with a drought-busting victory at Eden Park to "create doubt" in All Black minds.

New Zealand have been unbeaten at their Auckland headquarters since 1994 and also triumphed over Australia in their last 11 Bledisloe Tests there stretching back 25 years.

But, thanks to that record, hard-nut centre Anthony Faingaa said a Wallabies upset on August 6 would help deliver far more benefits beyond putting them in the driver's seat for Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup silverware.

"World Cup wise, that's in the back of our minds at the moment, the Tri-Nations is our first priority and we want to get as much silverware going into the World Cup firstly, and especially to create a bit of doubt," Faingaa said on Wednesday.

"To create doubt for the All Blacks and other teams that are watching us.

"Something you want to create is doubt in other teams and I think throughout this whole year you saw the Reds create doubt in other teams and that's what we've got to try to do."

Certainly Queensland's 18-13 Super Rugby final triumph over the All Black-laden Crusaders created plenty of doubt in New Zealand pundits and fans this month, with questions again asked whether the hosts had peaked too early.

Many of those Crusaders players return to action in this Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with South Africa, while a full-strength All Blacks side will be picked to face the Wallabies seven days later.

The Wallabies are likely to retain the same starting 15 which outclassed the Springboks 39-20 on the weekend, but a limping Kurtley Beale again failed to train with the team due to his ankle injuries.

While Beale expects to be fit in time, Faingaa looms as the man who would profit from the fullback's absence, slotting into the centres with Adam Ashley-Cooper or Pat McCabe moved back to No.15.

McCabe has impressed in his two starts at inside centre to initially steal the march on Faingaa and Matt Giteau but the Reds defensive linchpin hopes his combination with Quade Cooper, a direct game and low tackling may work in his favour.

"You can't have all flash, you have to stop them first," he said.

"I think with all the flair we have with Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor, these guys have such gas, for myself it's about doing that simple job.

"I don't think anyone has secured their own spot so these mini-battles you have in training (are important)."

- AAP


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