The levels of angst might be rising in New Zealand but it is a couple of Australians who think the All Blacks are in a good position.

Former Wallabies hooker Phil Kearns yesterday said the All Blacks "will come out like complete mad mongrel dogs and will endeavour to teach the Wallabies a lesson" in the Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park on Saturday night and expected them to win.

Now former coach Bob Dwyer is also picking the All Blacks to win on Saturday
"If we're talking favouritism here, it's almost impossible to go past New Zealand," he said.

"The Wallabies are steadily getting better. How much better they can get between last week and next Saturday is in the lap of the gods. But we all know that unless they play better than they did last week they won't win. But the question is, can they play better and how much better?"


He was also optimistic about New Zealand's chances at the World Cup.

"If you accept that it's almost impossible to continue to win over a long period of time, something's got to go wrong sometime. You gotta lose sometime the question is when. You've just got to make sure it doesn't happen when it counts."

It's that last point which is worrying more than a few New Zealand fans. They were poor in the 27-19 defeat to Australia last weekend and squeaked past the Springboks the week before. They were also underwhelming against both Samoa and Argentina and it has seen the chorus of voices wondering if there are too many ageing bodies in the side grow louder.

"I'm a little bit worried that a win this week, while I expect it, it papers over cracks," former All Blacks centre Frank Bunce said. "There are some hard decisions to be made and a lot of guys who played last week ... there are just question marks.

"There are a number of guys who just didn't front up last week and whether that's a symptom of a bigger issue, unfortunately we're probably going to find that out in the World Cup."

He added: "We're gonna be a lot more committed than we were last week, the pressure that's on us. It usually brings out the best in an All Black's team.

"I think the All Blacks will win this week, given the way they played last week and all the criticism that they've had to take. Pressure from within and pressure from the public can really bring you kicking and screaming into a top performance.

"The importance of securing the Bledisloe Cup and [the fact that] it's probably going to be the last test match for a lot of guys in New Zealand, there's just a lot riding on it. It's not often you see All lack teams lose twice in a row. I think they'll drag enough out of themselves to get through to the win."


Former All Blacks wing and Samoa coach Bryan Williams said there were always things to worry about with All Blacks rugby but that was a good thing leading into the World Cup.

"Winning away from home in the World Cup is always extremely difficult and the All Blacks know that, so they know what they've got to deal with [which] is a big advantage.

"We've always got things to worry about which is what makes All Black rugby so good ... the whole country does lots of worrying about it and that's why we are so good."