Sydney: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Monday he is looking forward to finally beating the All Blacks in New Zealand this weekend, declaring “bring it on”.
Australia is out to end a demoralising 15-year, 19-Test sequence without a win over the world champions in New Zealand in Saturday’s third and final Bledisloe Cup Test.
The series is already decided after the All Blacks thumped the Wallabies 42-8 in Sydney and 29-9 in Wellington in Tests doubling as Rugby Championship encounters.
The Wallabies will also have to confront the grim statistic of not having won at Auckland’s Eden Park — the venue for Saturday’s Test — in 30 years.
Their last victory at Eden Park was 17 Test encounters ago when they prevailed 22-9 over the All Blacks in 1986.
The all-conquering All Blacks, who earlier this month clinched the Rugby Championship with home and away wins over South Africa, Australia and Argentina, are also trying to smash the world record for the most consecutive Test wins with an 18th straight victory.
Amid all this Cheika is unbowed about Australia’s chances of causing a major boilover this weekend.
“It’s obviously proven to be a tough place for us to go and play, but I’m old fashioned,” Cheika told reporters.
“I look forward to it. Bring it on. It’s a great opportunity.”
Hooker and captain Stephen Moore was equally enthused: “This is what you play for, these type of games, these opportunities to go and play the best teams.”
Cheika said he was looking at making an early call on the fitness of injured back rowers David Pocock (hand) and Sean McMahon (ankle) ahead of this week’s game.
“We’ll have a handle on where they are at today in training and then we’ll get stuck into it tomorrow and see who can do what and base our decisions from there,” Cheika said.