Rugby: Wallabies preparing to ambush All Blacks

Adam Ashley-Cooper believes the skill of dominating a team over a short space of time can lay solid foundations for an attempted one-week ambush of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Ashley-Cooper believes the skill of dominating a team over a short space of time can lay solid foundations for an attempted one-week ambush of the All Blacks. Photo / Getty Images

The Wallabies face daunting back-to-back games against the All Blacks to open the Rugby Championship in August but Adam Ashley-Cooper says Australia will thrive on an opportunity to end a decade of Bledisloe Cup pain in seven days.

Australia are 2-0 up against Wales and determined to complete a clean-sweep of their current series on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.

Star winger Ashley-Cooper believes the skill of dominating a team over a short space of time can lay solid foundations for an attempted one-week ambush of World Cup-winners New Zealand, including a crunch trip to their Eden Park graveyard.

Australia haven't won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and following last year's loss in the World Cup semi-final, their Eden Park drought against the All Blacks now extends back 26 years.

The inaugural Rugby Championship, incorporating Argentina, kicks off on August 18 with Australia opening against New Zealand at ANZ Stadium, before the return fixture is played in Auckland on the following Saturday.

With the third Bledisloe match not until the October 20, the Wallabies are determined to break the curse in one swoop and claim No.1 world status in the process.

"With two games (in a row) it's a really good opportunity to wrap up the Bledisloe. We haven't held that trophy in a long, long time,'' Ashley-Cooper told AAP.

"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves but a win this weekend is really important to looking down the track for the All Blacks Tests.

"We respect them and consider them the No.1 team in the world, they showed that last year in the World Cup.

"We're well aware we're sitting at No.2 but we want to be at No.1 ... and in order to do that we've got to win those two Tests.

"A good performance this week will leave us on a really good note ... it'll be good for confidence and belief.''

In another positive sign for the Wallabies looking ahead to the Rugby Championship, Drew Mitchell joined the squad for training this week and appeared alongside Ashley-Cooper and other players at a promotion in Sydney on Thursday.

The versatile outside back has played two matches for NSW in his return from a nasty ankle injury, and is eyeing a Test recall in August.

Mitchell has spoken to coach Robbie Deans and is concentrating on building up his workload so he doesn't suffer a repeat of last year's World Cup, where he broke down in his return from time on the sidelines.

The Waratahs flyer said after last year's disappointment, the Wallabies have narrowed down where they must improve in order to overcome the All Blacks in big games.

"I think the key to the All Blacks and their success is in tight games they seem to find a way to get out of it, and we saw that against Ireland last week as well and in the World Cup final against France,'' said Mitchell.

"They have a calmness about the way they play and a confidence that if they stick to what they're doing they'll come through with the result.

"That's probably the difference.''

- AAP

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