The Courier-Mail

AWAY WE GO The road to Twick­en­ham starts at Eden Park

- IAIN PAYTEN

THE Wal­la­bies must break a 29-year hoodoo to claim the Bledis­loe Cup at Eden Park this Satur­day.

But if they hope to put the Rugby World Cup along­side it in the tro­phy cab­i­net, they will have to do some­thing achieved only twice in 110 years.

Beat­ing the All Blacks in Auck­land has proved so dif­fi­cult the last Wal­la­bies cap­tain to do the job in 1986, An­drew Slack, marks the pass­ing of another year not by his birth­day but by the sud­den surge of phone calls from jour­nal­ists.

Much has been said and writ­ten, sev­eral times over, about the hoodoo. But in a World Cup year, Wal­la­bies cap­tain Stephen Moore yesterday tossed in some sig­nifi- cant and new con­text by say­ing if Aus­tralia hoped to win a third Wil­liam Webb El­lis tro­phy, they have no choice but to get good at win­ning in hos­tile en­vi­ron­ments.

“If you are look­ing at the broader pic­ture, we don’t have any more home games this year,’’ Moore said.

“We have to get used to play­ing away from home and be­ing com­fort­able in that en­vi­ron­ment, and be­ing tight as a team when we get over there and go out there and play as well as we can.

“All those places around the world are dif­fi­cult as an

STEPHEN MOORE away side, no doubt. The chal­lenge is to block that out and play your game as best you can. The rest hap­pens af­ter that.’’

Win­ning away has been not been a strong point for the Wal­la­bies.

In­clud­ing the Bledis­loe Cup de­cider, a friendly against the US and a full World Cup sched­ule end­ing in a fi­nal, the Wal­la­bies will have another nine Tests this year, all off­shore. There is a lit­tle wrig­gle room but the best chance of a World Cup win is to not lose a sin­gle one.

Win­ning nine con­sec­u­tive away Tests has only been done twice in Wal­la­bies history. Canny judges will al­ready know when: in 1991-92 (9) and 1999-2000 (10), the pe­ri­ods in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s two World Cup wins.

Since 2000, the long­est away win­ning streak has been four in 2007 and 2013.

The Wal­la­bies trained be­hind closed doors yesterday again and though they are grow­ing green shoots of self­be­lief un­der Michael Cheika, there is no sign of a wild out­break of hubris af­ter their win over NZ last Satur­day.

Sec­tions of the Kiwi public and media are do­ing their bit to fire up the All Blacks by bag­ging them but Moore was at pains to not let them have any hint of Aussie over­con­fi­dence.

“There is ob­vi­ously a lot of pos­i­tiv­ity around the win at the week­end and we want our sup­port­ers and peo­ple in the street to be happy about it,” he said.

The chal­lenge is to block that out and play your game as

best you can

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