'Angry' McKenzie demands backlash
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:38
I played plenty of games and I don't suffer losing
Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie has demanded that his team produces an "angry" response to their hammering at the hands of the All Blacks last week.
Australia are hoping to become the first Wallabies side to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 12 years when they tackle the Kiwis in Wellington on Saturday.
However, they have to bounce back from last week's humiliating 29-47 loss in Sydney.
And McKenzie, hailed as the saviour of Australian rugby after replacing Robbie Deans as head coach, did not enjoy the debut drubbing.
"I can't sit here four or five days later and pretend I'm all happy and its all forgotten so I'm angry and I know the players will be in the same space," McKenzie said.
"I'm angry about last week," McKenzie told reporters in Wellington on Thursday.
"I played plenty of games and I don't suffer losing ...you have to have that [head] space for your own personal performance.
"You're getting an opportunity to play against the most consistent team in the world and that's how you benchmark yourself.
"If you come up short and you're a competitive guy then you have to say 'what am I going to do about that?'.
"Whatever it is that drives the All Blacks to go out there and be on the ball and switched on and motivated, other teams have got to find the same space.
"They've got every right to not turn up every now and then because of the consistency they have shown," he added.
All Black coach Steve Hansen is in no doubt the Wallabies will be fired up to exact revenge for last week's hiding, which was a demoralising first outing for new coach McKenzie.
"They are obviously going to be more dangerous. The first sign of that is that they're not talking as much this week," he said.
"They will be looking to play with more accuracy and intensity so, therefore, we will need to meet - or better that - with a higher level of execution right across the board if we are to be successful."
McKenzie said credit had to be given to the All Blacks for the way they generated pressure on all teams, not just Australia, but how the side responded to that pressure was not good enough on the night.
The side had been competitive until the last 30 minutes and had generated opportunities, and set piece pressure and made line breaks on the first phase which hadn't happened for a long time.
They were points that were lost in the final scoreline, but the way to improve that was to reduce the difference while also sharpening aspects of play
While McKenzie has kept the faith in last week's losing combination, he also sent a blunt message to the Wallabies: perform or perish.
Wallaby back row forward Scott Fardy will make his run-on debut for Australia in the sole change made to the starting line-up. Fardy comes in following the injury withdrawal of Western Force back row forward Hugh McMeniman - who will undergo a complete shoulder reconstruction in Brisbane next week.
Unlike predecessor Robbie Deans, who had a four-year charter to prepare for the 2011 World Cup when he started in 2008, McKenzie isn't looking at his job as a long-term "project".
McKenzie thought long and hard about changes but felt small tweaks and more work on their under-construction base game would go further in overturning the result - especially after giving up four soft tries in Bledisloe I.
"We had five guys on debut last week so we are renovating the team in that sense but this is not a three-year project," McKenzie said.
"We don't have time to be messing around.
"We have to get on with it and own up.
"I'm not sitting here suggesting it's going to take time. We have good players.
"If you perform you get a go, you have to take that opportunity. If the train stops at the station you have to get on.
"Otherwise it leaves. That's how it works."
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