Wallabies welcome AB 'challenge'
Wed, 04 Dec 2013 07:53
It's not daunting, it's a really good challenge
Although they start the Rugby Championship next year with another double-header against the All Blacks, the Wallabies insist they are not daunted by the prospect.
It will be the third consecutive year that Australia start their campaign with two matches against the world champions, but Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie is positive that his side will be better placed to give a good account of themselves next year.
McKenzie began his tenure as Wallabies coach with consecutive defeats to the All Blacks this year which ended their hopes of challenging for the title prematurely, but he believes they will be in far better shape to challenge the world's best team next year.
After a rough start to their European tour last month which saw them lose to England at Twickenham and have several players suspended for a disciplinary breach, the Wallabies bounced back well to win their last four games.
McKenzie believes that those victories and the series against France in June next year should give his side a good chance of improving on their showing this year and perhaps challenging New Zealand for the Bledisloe Cup which they have not won since 2002.
Although it is a particularly tough draw which could derail their campaign early on, McKenzie refused to complain and instead insisted that they are looking forward to the challenge.
"I don't think there's too many ways you can run the draw. It's what it is and we've just got to get out there and make the most of it."
"We're definitely making progress in the right direction so that's good looking forward to the championship next year.
"It's not daunting, it's a really good challenge for us," he told AAP.
When McKenzie took over from Robbie Deans after the defeat to the British and Irish Lions this year he did not have much time to prepare his team to face the All Blacks.
Things will be different next year and he is hoping that they will be able to take some real momentum into the start of the Rugby Championship.
"We didn't get it right (this year) but each time we played New Zealand we closed the gap so we'll look forward to that.
"We have a lot more time to get organised with the June Tests against France so we should be able to go into that pretty well set up," he said.
|South African news|
|» Hard road for Ikeys and Pukke|
|» Hat-tricks abound in Vodacom Cup|
|» Preview: Vodacom Cup, Round Four|
|» Pukke break Maties hearts|
|» Vodacom Cup: Half-tons up|