AWAY WE GO The road to Twickenham starts at Eden Park
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