Rugby: Deans wants forwards to lift

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans wants his forwards to hit harder and think smarter in Saturday night's Rugby Championship battle with New Zealand, as Australia fights to keep the Bledisloe Cup series alive at Eden Park.

Deans said his forwards were outplayed in every facet by the All Blacks in the opening clash last week in Sydney.

He's calling for more commitment at the breakdown as the Wallabies aim to end a 26-year drought against New Zealand at Eden Park and stop a tenth straight Bledisloe series win for their trans-Tasman rivals.

"We've got to do better," said Deans.

"We weren't good enough in any way around the contact area, the All Blacks were very effective at getting between us and the ball and we've got to be smarter and more effective."

Injury has forced three changes to Deans' starting pack - with captain David Pocock and prop Sekope Kepu both sidelined.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has been pulled out of the starting team and will need to prove his fitness at Friday's captain's run in Auckland if he's to remain on a yet-to-be-named reserves bench.

Stephen Moore replaces Polota-Nau (corked buttock) and Ben Alexander is in for Kepu, but it's rookie openside flanker Michael Hooper who will be under the most pressure coming up against legendary All Blacks No.7 Richie McCaw.

The loss of the world class Pocock is a massive blow for Australia, but Deans believes Hooper can inspire the side with his raw enthusiasm.

"Hoops we've seen a bit of already, through June he did very good (against Wales)," said Deans.

"He's a real source of enthusiasm in the group and he'll just take to his work, he won't be daunted by it, he'll be excited by the opportunity he's got.

"We do back him and we have backed him and he's shown that that backing is well justified."

Quade Cooper was named by Deans on Thursday to return to the side at five-eighth, pushing Berrick Barnes to inside centre.

Friday's captain's run, led by stand-in skipper Will Genia, will be the first time Cooper has set foot on Eden Park since last year's disastrous World Cup campaign.

Deans will name his reserves bench after the captain's run, with forward Scott Higginbotham also carrying a niggling injury.

Saia Faingaa and Mike Harris have travelled with the squad as extras and are on stand-by should more players be ruled out before kick-off.

Kurtley Beale is considered a near certainty to be included on the bench as a potential impact player, after being controversially dumped from the starting side in favour of Adam Ashley-Cooper at fullback.

- AAP

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