Rugby: Wallabies out to break another hoodoo

Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper. Photo / Getty Images
Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper. Photo / Getty Images

One hoodoo down, one to go on Saturday. That's Wallabies centre Adam Ashley-Cooper's refreshingly straightforward thinking as the Wallabies aim to avert a record-breaking 10th straight loss to the All Blacks.

Saturday's final 2010 Tri Nations Test at ANZ Stadium may be technically a dead rubber but there's huge pride at stake as unbeaten New Zealand attempt to complete a series sweep and the Wallabies try to stop the awful rot against their arch-rivals.

"No it's never a dead a dead rubber, they've travelled too far for it to be a dead rubber and I think any Test match against the Kiwis is too special to be labelled a dead ruber," said Ashley-Cooper yesterday.

Buoyed by their heart-stopping breakthrough victory over the Springboks in Bloemfontein last Saturday - their first at altitude on South Africa's highveld in 47 years - he said the Wallabies were up for shedding another monkey from their backs.

"That was a hoodoo that was broken after 47 years, so if we can do that I think a nine or 10-game losing streak is possible," he said.

"We feel that the gap is closing between us and the Kiwis but we've still got a long way to go."

After playing back-to-back Tests in South Africa overseas and enduring the long-haul flight to get home on Monday, Ashley-Cooper shrugged off suggestions the Wallabies' schedule may put them at a disadvantage against the well-rested All Blacks.

"You don't worry about it," he said. "The more you worry about it the more you create doubt. You've just got to take what you're given."

The All Blacks will, at least, be without their injured champion playmaker Dan Carter, with youngster Aaaron Cruden stepping in at five eighth.

"Cruden is very talented and has played with the majority of that backline," observed Ashley-Cooper.

"They might lose a little bit with Dan Carter's direction but Cruden is more than talented enough to fill those boots."

While the Wallabies' young backline sparkle in Bloemfontein, Ashley-Cooper talked up their All Blacks rivals who have cut up all opponents up this season.

"It's the best competing backline in the world at the moment," he said.

"They're just very talented, I mean just so dynamic, threatening from all over the backline and attack, strong in defence."

- AAP

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