The Wallabies are hurting after being humbled on their home turf and want redemption at the All Blacks’ Eden Park fortress, prop Adam Coleman said from the team’s remote island base Monday.
Michael Cheika’s men have retreated to Waiheke Island, 20km off the Auckland coast, to plot vengeance for their 38-13 drubbing in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney on Saturday.
A favourite weekend getaway for Aucklanders visiting its upmarket vineyards, the island will this week host an Australia team desperate to stop the All Blacks claiming the Bledisloe for the 16th straight year.
Coleman said they were disappointed to let a 6-5 half-time lead slip in Sydney by squandering possession and failing at the set piece.
But he believed they could improve in the second match of the three-Test series at Eden Park on Saturday.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our boys,” he told reporters.
“What a challenge to come to Eden Park and respond here in New Zealand. It’s great motivation for the squad.”
Coleman, 26, was not born the last time the Wallabies beat the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1986.
But he said the Australians were relishing the opportunity to challenge the Auckland venue’s intimidating history.
“We laugh about it but we’re here to do a job,” he said.
“The boys are hurting at the moment and to come here and play at Eden Park is something we’re looking forward to.
“We get to turn around a performance that we’re not really proud of to be honest. I think we let down people on our home turf and it hurts.”
Winger Dane Haylett-Petty said staying on the island was a chance to prepare for the must-win match in a relaxed environment.
“It’s a nice change-up for the boys doing different things so that so that when we do get away from rugby we’re not focused on the footy,” he said.
But All Blacks fullback Aaron Smith warned the New Zealanders also had plenty of scope to improve, labelling aspects of their game in Sydney “pretty average”.
He said the world champions did not make enough of their set-piece dominance on attack and repeated the New Zealanders’ mantra of continual improvement.
“We can take a lot of positives from the weekend but there are heaps of learnings and opportunities for us too to get better,” he told reporters in Auckland.
“That’s what we are focusing on.”