All Blacks coach Steve Hansen senses parallels between the World Cup final and Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park - and he doesn't like it.
The Wallabies have been written off in all quarters this week after their bumbling display in Sydney.
Hansen hears the rumblings. His ear has been to the ground. He doesn't like the similar themes being bandied about and has warned the public to reflect on what happened last year, while making sure his men have no hint of compliancy this week.
Predictions of the All Blacks causing carnage in Auckland have been wide-spread after they blew several chances to put away the woeful Wallabies in Sydney.
"Go back six months and we had a few people saying the same thing about the French. We beat them by a point," Hansen said of predictions the Wallabies were easy-beats.
"Our job is to prepare well, respect the opposition and keep grounded. The challenge is about our opponent, but also about us playing better than we have before."
General consensus was Saturday night's score-line flattered Robbie Deans' men and if the All Blacks could iron out a few cresses around their lineout delivery, scrum infringements, finishing ability, and discover their ruthless edge, they would dish out a lesson on Saturday.
Across the Tasman former Wallabies first-five Mark Ella said his country would lose this week and be without the treasured Bledisloe Cup for another decade. Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry chimed in saying the gap would widen "significantly" at Eden Park.
Hansen sarcastically thanked "Ted" for his input today and sought to remind everyone of the situation the All Blacks found themselves in before last year's World Cup final.
Back then, outside the French camp, all suggestions were the final was a forgone conclusion. The taunts served as motivation for Les Bleus' spirited effort. The end result was far removed from even the most optimistic expectations.
It is hard to believe this under-pressure Wallabies outfit has the ability to break their Eden Park hoodoo that dates back to 1986. They are without a number of experienced, key figures, including James Horwill and David Pocock.
After his shocker in Sydney, fullback Kurtley Beale has also been dropped, which will come as a surprise to his opposite, Israel Dagg.
"You can't leave a guy like Kurtley out," Dagg said today before Deans announced this week's team. "He can create something out of nothing. I know how he feels. I've had a shocker like that; a few shockers like that. It's part of rugby. That's the way sport goes. You can have great weeks and then bad weeks. It's tough, but he's a quality player. He'll get through it."
Hansen believed the Wallabies would either crumble under the long-held physiological advantage that Eden Park gave the All Blacks, or they would try to put it out of their mind all together.
"You've got a choice," Hansen said of the Wallabies. "You can either carry the burden of the teams that have gone before you around on your shoulders, or you front up on the day and make the battle about that day.
"Australia will be pretty disappointed with how they played last week. It sounds like they've battened down the hatches and are getting into it a wee bit. We've got to expect they'll raise their accuracy and intensity. We are going to have to do the same."
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