Sat August 18, 2012 6:45pm
THE Wallabies are buoyant after repeatedly peaking at the right time during the Wales Test series, but know they are still well short of what is required to be confident of beating the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium tonight.
Wallabies captain David Pocock yesterday called on his teammates to lift their game and make full use of home-ground advantage.
The Australian Rugby Union has certainly applied the pressure on the Wallabies by focusing its marketing campaign around how it has been a barren decade since they last won the Bledisloe Cup, and that the task may be easier as they are playing two of the three Tests at home.
No wonder Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was provoked into commenting over whether it had been too long since the team had shown off the cup. ''Clearly it's time,'' Deans said.
At least the Wallabies head into the series with some of the attributes needed for trans-Tasman success. After the blip against Scotland in Newcastle, the Wallabies rebounded brilliantly against Wales, one of the best northern hemisphere teams to tour Australia in decades, winning the series 3-0. What was most encouraging was the team's ability to play at their best near the end of each Test and withstand pressure, showing the squad's level of conditioning had improved markedly.
The sign of a good side is that they consistently win the tight ones, and several close victories had the desired effect of boosting the Wallabies' spirits.
''We took confidence out of that series,'' Pocock said. ''As a team you want to win those arm-wrestles right at the end. In these Tests, we stayed in the contest and found a way to win.