All Blacks ready for 'better' Australia
All Blacks ready for 'better' AustraliaSHARE
The return of a handful of players from Europe – Matt Giteau, Will Genia, Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Quade Cooper – will give the Australians more backbone when the Rugby Championship gets underway this week.
The two sides, All Blacks and Wallabies, will meet in Sydney for the first time since last year's World Cup Final at Twickenham, which New Zealand won 34-17.
New Zealand has since claimed a clean sweep in the June Test series against Wales.
All Black flank Jerome Kaino said he expects the Wallaby line-up to mirror that which ran out at the World Cup Final at Twickenham last October.
"You look at their team, a lot of them played in that Final, so I think they'll use a bit of that as motivation," the 33-year-old said in an interview on allblacks.com.
"A lot of them have been together for four or so weeks now, so they'll be firing to get into us and using the World Cup and also last year's Rugby Championship as motivation.
"All across the park, they've got good players and a lot of experience."
He added that the Wallabies will use the loss in the World Cup Final as additional motivation.
Kaino, with 69 Tests to his credit, also believes the All Blacks' early departure to Sydney – they left on Sunday, as opposed to the usual Thursday departure – means the Kiwis will be much better prepared.
"I think it's huge for us, having the extra couple of days together to acclimatise to Sydney and really prepare well for the Test match," he told allblacks.com.
"Obviously, for us, there is a big gap between Super Rugby and Test match level and that extra week with the team gives us that time to prepare well and to get our attitude and mindset right for that Test match.
"For the last few years we've played them there for the first game and so they're naturally up for that first Test match and we're in their backyard.
"It is a harder place to play for us because they've got a lot more support, usually in Brisbane we have a lot of support there, but it's always a tough place to play in Sydney and they're always firing for that first Test match," Kaino said.
Kaino said the game of three halves warm-up that the All Blacks had in Pukekohe last Friday had been invaluable, especially for him after the Blues did not contest the Super Rugby play-offs which left him with an extra week without play.
"[Last] Friday was much needed, I was blowing. It was positive and good for us to get those minutes under the belt before we head into Test match week so it was a good hit out," he said
"It was good, not to be fully in a rugby environment. We still had our training sessions that we had to do but I'm feeling good and I'm excited to get into Test week and I was pumping to get in here with all the boys."