Wellington - Australia Ewen McKenzie has repeated his mantra of last week that his side must score tries if they are to beat the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday and keep their quest for the Bledisloe Cup alive.
The Wallabies arrived in Wellington on Wednesday licking their wounds from a 47-29 thrashing at the hands of an All Blacks side that was supposed to be vulnerable in the opening match of the Rugby Championship.
World leading points scorer Daniel Carter was ruled out early in the week, inside centre Ma'a Nonu was under an injury cloud while captain Richie McCaw was playing his first high intensity match since returning from a six-month break.
The Wallabies, however, looked toothless in attack against a ferocious All Blacks defence that only conceded two tries. The first was a runaway from a botched lineout throw by the All Blacks, while the second was after the fulltime hooter.
“We did a lot of good things,” McKenzie told reporters at Wellington airport when the Wallabies arrived in New Zealand on Wednesday. “Our attacking game wasn't too bad.
“We played with 60 percent of the ball, had a lot of ball movement and forced them to make a lot of tackles.
“But we need to defend better, we need to control the ball better (because) ...we made some line breaks and turned the ball straight over and the All Blacks are very good at capitalising on that.
“We have to make sure that when we do make line breaks we score tries.”
McKenzie had promised a greater attack-minded approach by the Wallabies when he took over from New Zealander Robbie Deans though it appears he is likely to stick with Matt Toomua than give Quade Cooper the starting flyhalf role on Saturday.
Australian media reported that Toomua had been concentrating on taking the ball to the line of defence in training this week and would be picked again by McKenzie to start the game with Cooper to come off the bench.
The mercurial Cooper's presence in his homeland is again likely to polarise the crowd though players and coaches alike have said they felt it was time for supporters to stop booing the Queensland Reds playmaker.
Cooper has been on the receiving end from All Blacks fans for the past three seasons after the 25-year-old flyhalf enraged supporters for “cheap shots” on McCaw in international matches.
Benched for the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney, Cooper was jeered by fans when he came on for the last quarter though All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said earlier this week it was time for supporters to stop the practice.
McKenzie also said it was “time to move on”.
“I think most people there aren't quite sure why they're booing,” McKenzie said.
“I'm not quite sure, I think if you actually ask people, they'd wonder why they're doing it. They do it because other people are doing it.
“We've just got to move on from these things. I just don't think it adds anything.”
McKenzie bristled when asked if the vitriol Cooper receives had any impact on his selection decisions.
“Doesn't enter my mind for one second,” he said.
“As an old player I know when you go out onto the field you're not listening to the crowd. You're listening to what's going on and listening to the calls.
“You don't worry about the crowd.” – Reuters