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Confident Wallabies a test for All Blacks

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Lynn McConnell     18 Oct 2017     Getty Images

For Australia there's the chance to end a run of losses to the New Zealanders while for the All Blacks there's the appreciation they will be tested by a demanding rival capable of unleashing from anywhere.

Lock Sam Whitelock, who said he had plenty of memories of tough Australian encounters dating back to early in his career in the 2011 Rugby World semi-final and other subsequent contests, said trans-Tasman Tests were about two proud rugby nations wanting to go out and play well.



"That just sets everything up. Doing it here [Brisbane], the weather normally allows you to play attacking rugby and then the physicality comes from that as well," he said.

Whitelock was mindful of the increased confidence in the Wallabies camp because they were a more dangerous team when running on that confidence but it was about the All Blacks playing to their highest standard because achieving that gave them their best chance of winning.

Confidence, for any player, was important and it could have a snowballing effect, he said.

Whitelock said there was still the goal for the All Blacks of being more consistent after an up and down season.

He said he wasn't surprised by the difference in the Australians between the first and second Bledisloe Cup Tests.

"Seven days is an amazing time in Test rugby. It can do wonders for teams and it can also be your biggest curse so making sure that we're genuine in our prep, and they'll be thinking exactly the same, if you can do that you give yourself the best opportunity to get out there and perform," he said.

Whitelock said Richie Mo'unga's call-up as cover for Barrett was the result of him playing good rugby over the last two years and he had put in the hard work during that time with the Crusaders and Canterbury.

"I got to deal with him a lot this year with the Crusaders. The way he's evolved his game and the way he's taken control of the whole team running it from Monday when you're working things out to getting out there on Saturday and really driving the team round, especially having a few older forwards, he's not afraid to step up and say what he wants and demand he gets it," he said.

Mo'unga had great rugby knowledge, he said, and he backed himself. He knew when to pass and when to kick which was something players liked to see in a first five-eighths and it was awesome when he really backed himself and he had shown that in Super Rugby and the Mitre 10 Cup.

Fellow lock Scott Barrett said the concussion concern was frustrating for brother Beauden and from a family view his older brother Kane had to retire due to concussion so it was tough to see the first five-eighths take a knock and he was hoping he recovered soon.

He was doing all the required steps and the medical staff were looking after him. It was also appreciated that the All Blacks' coaching staff were mindful of player welfare and he cited the case of Waisake Naholo being pulled out during the British & Irish Lions series when he felt he was all right.