Steve Hansen is predicting a start for Quade Cooper on Saturday as the Wallabies attempt to bounce back from their record beating last weekend.
With Matt Giteau and Rob Horne injured during the 42-8 shellacking in Sydney, Australia coach Michael Cheika has few choices but to throw Cooper into the fray, and Hansen believes that will be at second-five alongside Bernard Foley, a change which will bring with it a two-pronged kicking threat.
The Wallabies were beaten all over the park at ANZ Stadium, but their inability to gain any territory and put the All Blacks under any sort of pressure told. Instead of playing on the front foot, they were reduced to flinging passes behind the advantage line, presenting easy targets for a fired-up defence.
At Westpac Stadium they are likely to kick a lot more, which is one of the reasons why Ben Smith and Israel Dagg have swapped positions, with Dagg starting on the wing for only the third time in 53 tests.
"We've seen the combination around the other way working really well," Hansen said of Dagg at fullback and Smith on the right wing. "Both of them are world class fullbacks and we think Ben is certainly a world class winger. We think we need to see if Izzie can start a test there and do a job for us because it opens up further down the track other selection possibilities. The way we play all our back three are fullbacks anyway, it's like playing three fullbacks.
"It may well also allow Ben to come into the game a wee bit more if Australia are going to kick which I think they probably will do a bit more."
Asked about the possibility of Cheika starting Cooper, a New Zealand-born player who has copped plenty of flak from the crowds in his homeland following several run-ins with Richie McCaw over the years, Hansen said: "Quade's a good player. He gets maligned a bit over here because of a few incidents with Richie and we're not too forgiving of people who pick on Rich - I'm talking about fans - but within the team he's well respected. He's a good player, so he'll enhance them I think."
Cheika will announce his team late this afternoon after the team arrived in Wellington at midnight last night. Change is inevitable following the Wallabies' injury toll, but also the woeful performances of many his players. That has resulted in plenty of criticism from back home and Hansen is wary of the reaction.
"We've got a big task in front of us," he said. "Australia are going to turn up and chuck the kitchen sink at us, I should imagine. They've had a big week over there with their own disappointment plus the media and their own fans having a crack at them, so we'd be foolish to think that they're not going to turn up and play really well.
"It's a massive concern because one of the hardest things to do is back up against a team you've beaten because two things happen - one, they're firm in their resolve to play better and sometimes teams can relax and think the job's done."