The Wallabies go through their paces during a training session at Pepper Stadium in Penrith this week.
The Wallabies go through their paces during a training session at Pepper Stadium in Penrith this week. DAVID MOIR

Rod Kafer: Rugby screaming out for Bledisloe upset

TO say that Australian rugby needs a shot in the arm would be something of an understatement but I believe the Wallabies have it in them to deliver a shock Bledisloe Cup series win.

Professional sport lives and dies by the success of its elite teams.

People want to associate with winners and they want to support a sport where they see their team with a chance of winning or to develop into being consistent winners.

Sport is an emotional experience that people invest in and if you don't win you struggle to attract new people and retain your supporters, and that's been a challenge for the Wallabies, particularly against the All Blacks.

We have seen the Wallabies play tremendous rugby at times and at other times we have seen performances that were not up to our expectations.

Getting the team back performing consistently and eventually winning consistently is the first thing that needs to happen and that's a hell of a challenge against what will go down as the greatest All Blacks side of all time.

So, if the Wallabies are to shock everybody and win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 15 years, how do they do it?

For me it is all about breaking up the rhythm of the All Blacks.

The All Blacks have a certain tempo to the way they play and it suits their style.

If you can break the rhythm of a very good sporting team and put them into a rhythm they are not comfortable with, that's one of the ways you can unsettle them.

I think we have to look at tactics to unsettle the All Blacks because we recognise they are an incredibly skilful and fit side.

 

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika at a media event at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika at a media event at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. DAVID MOIR

They have got a good understanding collectively of how they want to play and how they want to play together.

By comparison the Wallabies haven't had the same luxury of time together and consistency and they are building towards that.

So you have got to look for the other opportunities and I think breaking the rhythm of the All Blacks is very important.

It also comes down to whether the Wallabies have got that ability to consistently perform in the last 20 minutes of a Test match where games are typically won and lost.

I know it's something that the team has been working really hard on - not just their physical preparation but certainly their mental preparation in dealing with the pressure that comes in the last 20 minutes of a Bledisloe.

Winning the Bledisloe Cup would be a huge turning point for rugby in this country.

You have to look at just what has happened to Michael Cheika's team over the past couple of years.

The Wallabies are coming through a period where there has been transition, with many players retiring and a new batch being ushered into the Wallaby jersey.

But there are young, developing players who will only get better given the opportunity to continue to compete against the All Blacks.

It's important to understand the cycle of things and where we are at.

We don't have the luxury that New Zealand has of a conveyor belt of talent.

We are developing our own guys at a slightly slower pace but we are continuing to see that evolution of a side that will get better.

Hopefully they can start a new cycle of winning rugby with success in Sydney tomorrow.

Fox Sports will show every game of the Rugby Championship live, ad-break free during play and in HD. The first Bledisloe Test kicks off at 7pm tomorrow on Fox Sports 501.

News Corp Australia

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