Wallabies hoodoo doesn't scare Australian Rugby CEO Bill Pulver
Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver is happy for people to call him crazy, but he believes the Wallabies can break a 30-year drought at Eden Park despite going in as the longest-priced outsiders in Bledisloe history.
When the Wallabies made the trek across the ditch in August for the second Bledisloe match aiming to notch their first victory on New Zealand soil since 2001, the All Blacks were paying $1.07 with the TAB.
A 29-9 loss, and with it a 14th consecutive Bledisloe series defeat, has only made matters harder when Michael Cheika's team attempt to win at Eden Park – a feat they have not achieved since 1986.
And the bookies agree, putting the All Blacks at $1.03 in comparison to some odds as high as $11 for the Wallabies to win on Saturday.
Speaking at a 30-year anniversary for the 1986 Wallabies team that last won at Eden Park, Pulver threw his support behind Australia despite the fact they have lost six games from nine attempts this year and face an All Blacks outfit with 17 consecutive wins under their belt.
"Call me crazy, I think we're a chance to win on Saturday, I really do," Pulver said. "There are really good parts of a day like this and bad parts. The good part is you're celebrating a sensational team. The Wallabies in that team were truly exceptional. The bad part is thinking, 'sheesh we only did that 30 years ago, so why can't we fix that?' It's only an 80 minute game of football."
In Wellington, the Wallabies started with a line of +19.5 and that figure is likely to be surpassed this weekend with them sitting at +23.5 with the TAB on Thursday morning.
"David Pocock looks set to return, but even he looks unlikely to prevent the Wallabies starting with their biggest ever line in TAB sports betting history," a TAB spokesperson said.
The likes of captain Andrew Slack, coach Alan Jones, Simon Poidevin, Michael Lynagh and David Campese congregated at the SCG on Wednesday to swap stories of their famous 22-9 victory against the All Blacks, a game that is etched in Australian rugby folklore.
Asked whether he could see the Wallabies getting over the line on Saturday, Poidevin said: "It's sad, we want the record erased as quickly as possible and it will happen at some stage. Hopefully it's sooner than later. It's one of the best All Blacks teams ever. We all know we can get there eventually. My own view is we're probably short of where we need to be to get to where the other mob is."
- Canberra Times