Phil Kearns will be in the Lions' den when he turns up in the capital to commentate on Saturday night's test between the All Blacks and Wallabies.

Not that he'll be giving the locals much of a target.

The Wallaby great - who has a knack for incensing New Zealand players and fans - joked to the Herald that "I'll hole up in my hotel room and I won't be walking to the ground" after arriving on Saturday morning.

Wellington was the scene of one of Kearns' greatest triumph, when the Wallabies brought an invincible All Black team crashing to earth at a stormy Athletic Park in 1990. Kearns scored a famous try, followed by an equally famous gesture towards Sean Fitzpatrick.
He's returning this time with humorous trepidation.


"I couldn't subject myself to the abuse from Wellingtonians for days on end...a day will see me needing a bit of therapy," he said from across the ditch.

Not that he is backing down from any of his provocative words.

The 49-year-old described the Hurricanes as fat, slow and unfit early in the season and stands by the description. He believes the Super Rugby champions have struck on a way of coping with the arduous season by starting the tournament "half-fit".

He also remains adamant the All Blacks need to show opposing teams more respect by acknowledging them in after match speeches, including for their own sake. He cites examples of what he views as potentially similar arrogance bringing down great Australian sports teams.

"I believe the vast majority of Kiwis are fair minded and would support my proposition," he said.

"As the vanquished should acknowledge the victorious for their great play, the victorious should acknowledge the vanquished in my view. I'll be looking for that after this game.

"Pride cometh before a fall...I know New Zealand has gone through it before and there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

"New Zealand analyses deeply and looks for perfection. That is why they are so successful but when confidence becomes arrogance you have to be careful.

"The Australian cricket team was a great example - they thought they were the bees knees and ended up the sixth nation in the world at the end of the Waugh era. They were dreadful.

"Then there were the Wallabies of 95 - 97...arrogance becomes laziness where you fail to acknowledge criticism or self analyse and think everything you are doing is perfect."