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.
Nathan Charles charges down field for the Force in Super Rugby.
Inspirational Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles says a run-on Test debut against the All Blacks would have only featured in his “wildest dreams” just nine months ago.
As if taking 28 tablets a day to manage his cystic fibrosis wasn’t enough, Charles had to fight just to start this year’s Super Rugby season after undergoing a knee reconstruction for a busted ACL last year.
But a stellar season at the Western Force, combined with knee injuries to Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau, means Charles is the man most likely to don the No.2 jersey for the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney on August 16.
“Nine months ago, I was still coming back from a knee reconstruction. So this is my wildest dreams,” Charles said.