If there is complacency in the All Blacks camp to match the mood of the nation, then Australia will canter to victory in the Sydney Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday.

There are plenty of danger signs, that this All Blacks side are ready to topple, but years of success and (yet another) irrelevant world sports rankings system has lulled us into false security.

Where's the old Bledisloe spirit? Trampled by one-sided results, inevitably.

An Aussie victory this weekend - their first in four years - might not even be a bad thing, in the name of getting the public's heart racing.


Let's walk the plank, go out on this limb. Australia will win Saturday night's test, yes they will, although they won't succeed at Eden Park and haven't got a hope of surviving the tough physical challenges of the World Cup.

Dan Carter knows some members of the current All Blacks have always held the Bledisloe Cup, but he remembers how hard it was to win it back and loves the challenge.

What is really amazing, though, is how the whole New Zealand rugby mood has become so slack compared to 2011, when repeated World Cup failures and the hosting pressure wound the national psyche up.

This wasn't as claimed a country of four million All Blacks fans but you could have been forgiven for thinking so. Four years on, and you would think the All Blacks are home and hosed, away from home. It's quite weird.

Where are the fanatics, their conspiracy theories, with their constant fears mixed with blinding optimism? The World Cup is just over a month away, and you would hardly know it.

Smug. That's the general atmosphere, but without enough cause. The All Blacks are miles ahead in the rankings, but it doesn't reflect how close South Africa, Australia and a few others are. Amazing escape acts - I still can't get over the truly miraculous one against Ireland - are obscuring the true picture.

All Blacks centre Conrad Smith feels the team is going 'all right' but needs to step up again to match the physical Wallabies in Sydney. He says the backline needs to create more opportunities in the tests so far.

Old minds can compensate for the selection roundabout, but old All Blacks legs will struggle to. Lima Sopoaga's relative success, after being dumped on debut into the Johannesburg cauldron, has added to the dangerous belief they are bullet proof.

There is an air of smugness in an All Black team who leave behind World Cup certainties Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams for the Ellis Park assignment, where the best fullback by miles was parked on the wing.

All Blacks star lock forward Brodie Retallick looks ahead to the Bledisloe test in Sydney having never been in a losing side against the the Wallabies.

I just don't get the Carter/SBW thing, which was accompanied by vague suggestions they needed rest or time with their family. SBW is underdone, having missed heaps of the season through injury. He popped up in Oz for his R&R.


Coach Steve Hansen said: "Sonny has got a busy schedule so we thought he'd be better having some time at home."

What busy schedule? No one seemed to ask.

Carter, meanwhile, coasted through most of the Super Rugby season. And shouldn't the core of this squad remain tight knit, in close proximity.

They got out of jail with a lineout move almost too basic for the 'Boks to comprehend, so basic, in fact, that the All Blacks didn't mind unveiling it before the Webb Ellis Cup battles.

The result should not obscure the underperforming midfield and pedestrian efforts from a few of the forwards, however.

Australia are due one of their pop-up wins.

It is so long ago since the Wallabies held the Bledisloe Cup that a Sydney newspaper ran a "where are they now" feature on the heroes who last handled this impressively-large piece of silverware.

The way this is going, they'll one day be writing the same piece accompanied by pictures involving walking frames. But one-off victories are still well within Australia's grasp.

Selections influence tactics, and vice versa, so this is a stab in the dark from across the Tasman. But the idea of Australia using the double openside team of David Pocock and Michael Hooper looks promising for them.

This fits one adage, that you move heaven and Earth to get your best players on the park, especially when you don't have many.

Contesting the ball, slowing opponents down, is vital for all teams and especially the Wallabies to stop more powerful opponents gaining too much momentum. It also fits their best test psyche, of hanging in there in a way that South Africa can't.

Matt Burke is right - Pocock and Hooper are x-factor players who turn tests.

Pocock single handedly stopped the 'Boks in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final, although South Africans pointed to the hand of referee Bryce Lawrence as well. Hooper is a sensation, in many areas.

As a general tactic, Australia should rely on their durable players who fit the relentless spoiling game, and bring on the big boys for the final dig. Israel Folau must be brought into the game, and they can't afford an underpowered midfield.

A desperate Australia will also win because Wayne Barnes is the referee. Just kidding, but not about the rest.

And after the Wallabies win, it will be game on, for World Cup fanatics. No bad thing.

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