The All Blacks will hit the Wallabies like a pack of "mongrel dogs", according to outspoken Australian great Phil Kearns.
Kearns, regarded on this side of the Tasman as the most parochial voice in Australian rubgy, made the shock prediction that the All Blacks would win the Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park.
"I think New Zealand will come out like complete mad mongrel dogs and will endeavor to teach the Wallabies a lesson," Kearns said. "I think it'll be a close run race with the All Black's just winning."
Such a generous prediction is rare from true-blue Aussie Kearns, especially following the Wallabies' glorious weekend win. In fact, Kearns was full of unexpected praise for the All Blacks.
"I think they're possibly stronger right across the park in most positions. I think they're a really experienced side, more experience of winning than the Wallabies do - but the Wallabies are catching up."
The realisation the Wallabies are a little closer behind than they're used to could be the wake-up call the All Blacks need heading into the World Cup.
"They've had a pretty easy trot against the Wallabies in the last decade so maybe the next few times they play against each other the All Blacks will be a little more alive [off the back of their loss]," Kearns said.
"I think, if anything, it may be the loss they had to have leading into the World Cup. It could be a good thing."
Straight-talking Kearns came under fire earlier this year for his one-eyed commentary on a Super Rugy semifinal, when he blamed referee Craig Joubert for the Waratah's loss against the Highlanders.
Fans and players alike never know what to expect from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, Kearns said.
"It's a lottery with Michael Cheika, isn't it? You never know what team he's going to pick and it could be completely different from last week. Who knows what's going to be in store for us?"