The All Blacks this week are in the unusual position of trying to find the hunger to match or better the Wallabies' in Bledisloe 1, the previously poor Cup cousins who have a live chance of reclaiming the famous old trophy at Eden Park on Saturday.

A surprising aspect of the Wallabies' 47-26 win at Perth's Optus Stadium was how they dominated the collisions from the start and well before lock Scott Barrett's red card. Their big ball runners were far more effective than the All Blacks' and unfortunately for Steve Hansen's men that has been the story of their season.

A huge part of the All Blacks' successful legacy has been based on the toughness and ability of their forwards to dominate all and sundry but this year they just haven't been able to put opposition packs consistently on the back foot and the reasons why relate to attitude rather than technique.

"A lot of it is just what's in here, mate," hooker Dane Coles said, touching his chest moments after leaving the team review in Auckland today which he described as "raw and honest".


One of the few positives is they have the chance to put it right at a place where they haven't lost a test since 1994. The Wallabies last won there in 1986 but it hardly needs to be mentioned that the forever confident Australians will travel across the ditch with their self-belief at record highs under coach Michael Cheika. If successful, they will re-claim a trophy they last held in 2002.

"We really lacked that [heart] on Saturday and they brought a real hunger," flanker Sam Cane said.

Sam Cane looks on during the Bledisloe Cup defeat. Photo / Photosport
Sam Cane looks on during the Bledisloe Cup defeat. Photo / Photosport

Coles added: "They're pretty desperate to get the Bledisloe Cup so – a bit of soul-searching for the week. I think we need to embrace it and find what it means to be an All Black.

"A lot of it was about our attitude which was the hurtful thing," he said of the post mortem. "There was some game stuff but we probably weren't in the right head space.

"As an All Black that's pretty tough to take but we're lucky enough to get the opportunity to prove to this team and everyone in New Zealand how much this Bledisloe Cup means to us."

The attitude issue manifested itself across the field. They were too passive on attack and had a near obsession for getting the ball to width rather than commit defenders and it was just as costly on defence. As Coles said: "We lacked intensity. We missed 20 tackles in the first 20 minutes."

As for the failure of the pack to deliver, the All Blacks don't need former players or coaches to say it; they knew it themselves on the final whistle, a realisation which continued early on Sunday morning when they began their individual reviews.

"That hurts," Coles said of the pack's inability to get to the next level. "It's something any successful All Black team has; a physically dominating forward pack. We know we can deliver it but we were below par on Saturday."


The other issue touched on was tackling technique, and in particular the need to stay away from an opposition player's head.

Coles revealed Scott Barrett wanted to stand up and formally apologise to the team today but Steve Hansen told him it wasn't necessary.

"Steve said, 'mate, it's a team game, things happen', and that was it. We talked about a lot of stuff… stuff we can get better at.

"We've got to get around him [Barrett], he's not a dirty player. Like Steve said, he's just got to learn from what he's done and move on.

"Nothing against Scooter, he's got a little bit of a habit of using that shoulder. But we know if we're going to hit their head we're going to get done. We've got to develop a better technique.

Cane said: "I think what didn't help Scooter was that he had his arm cocked back, rather than making an attempt to come forward."