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Pressure all on All Blacks says Wallabies

NEDA VANOVAC
Last updated 20:21 10/08/2012
Saia Faingaa
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SAIA FAINGAA: Says the pressure is on the All Blacks to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

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The World Cup-winning All Blacks face plenty of pressure to retain this year's Bledisloe Cup, according to Wallabies hooker Saia Faingaa.

New Zealand haven't relinquished the silverware since winning the title back in 2003 following Australia's five-year stranglehold on the trans-Tasman trophy.

But Faingaa believes that despite being in the midst of a 10-year series drought, the Wallabies have nothing to lose.

"They've got more pressure than us - they have to retain it. We haven't won it in a decade," he told AAP.

The 30-man squad for the inaugural Rugby Championship was announced on Tuesday, with coach Robbie Deans mulling combinations for the first game against New Zealand in Sydney on August 18.

One of the contentious positions is at inside centre after incumbent Pat McCabe suffered a leg stress fracture that will sideline him for at least the rest of August.

Saia's hard-tackling twin brother Anthony - along with Waratahs utility back Berrick Barnes and Reds centre Mike Harris - is in the frame to get the nod for the assignment on All Blacks midfield colossus Sonny Bill Williams.

"Obviously it's disappointing for Patty, but at the same time it's a great opportunity for the (other) backs to step up and take ownership of that centre partnership," Anthony said.

"No one's really got a lockdown on their position at the moment, so for us it's a great opportunity ... that's going to create a great culture and attitude."

Faingaa said Deans had been keeping the backs alert, rotating them through different positions over the past week at training.

"It creates a healthy challenge and always keeps you on your toes, and that's something that drives high standards and is something ... (the Wallabies) haven't really had in the past," said Anthony.

Faingaa said this year's campaign is gathering pace with the squad well rested after Queensland - the only Australian team to qualify for the Super Rugby finals - were eliminated three weeks ago.

"We've got a good campaign in terms of training and work ethic, change of positions - we're really building towards some great rugby," Anthony said.

"We've had a lot of young guys come through and starting to become experienced, so off the back of that hopefully comes success."

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