McKenzie prepared for All Blacks

McKenzie is better prepared for the challenge against the All Blacks. Photo: Skysports

McKenzie is better prepared for the challenge against the All Blacks. Photo: Skysports

After a year as Australia coach Ewen McKenzie believes his side will be much better prepared for their Bledisloe Cup opener next weekend.

The former Reds boss replaced Robbie Deans after the Lions series defeat last July, and faced consecutive games with the All Blacks to begin his reign.

The Wallabies lost both matches, as well as a third clash with New Zealand later in the year, but they will have the chance to put that right in their opening two fixtures of the Rugby Championship.

And while New Zealand come into the first encounter in Sydney on the back of a 17-game winning streak, McKenzie is confident his side will be ready for the challenge.

“You don’t roll into it,” he told Reuters.

“But I feel better having been involved in the French series, that was a really good period for us.

“So when we next get together, even though there’s been the hurly-burly of the Super Rugby finals, the guys will just dust themselves off and get on with it.

“I think they’ll feel better prepared for the challenge this year, I certainly feel better about it.”

Australia come into the game on a winning run of their own, having won their last seven games, including a 3-0 series whitewash of France in June.

That has come in part thanks to the consistency of selection shown by the man in charge, and McKenzie admits he wants his players to feel confident of their place in the side.

“You want continuity, we want the players to feel what they’re doing is validated and the combinations we’ve been using will stand the test of time,” he added.

“And the fact that we’ve been able to win the last seven games shows we’re on the right path.

“We’ve got some exciting X-factor backs but you’ve got to get the ball to them.

“I’ve been pleased with the efforts of the forwards, they get maligned, but I’ve been pleased with their ability to get quality ball to feed the backline and give us a chance to put pressure on and score points.”

  • Planet Rugby

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Filed under All Blacks, Bledisloe Cup, International, Rugby Championship, Wallabies

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