Wallabies say silverware is motivation enough

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 11:01 15/08/2014
George Gregan
Reuters

HISTORY: Former Wallabies captain George Gregan holds the Bledisloe Cup aloft in 2002.

Matt Toomua
Getty
MOTIVATED: Wallabies second-five Matt Toomua says he and his team-mates are desperate to win back the Bledisloe Cup.

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The potential for halting the All Blacks' bid for a world record sequence of top tier test wins for a third time since 2010 has not registered with the Wallabies as they concentrate on ending 12 years of frustration by reclaiming the Bledisloe Cup.

Fittingly a giant inflatable model of the trophy dominated the backdrop to a pre-match promotion at Sydney's Circular Quay as relative newcomers Nic White and Matt Toomua insisted that preventing the All Blacks' 18th successive victory was not a motivating factor ahead of tomorrow night's Rugby Championship opener at ANZ Stadium.

"I'm not really thinking about that at the moment," said White, who made his debut off the bench as Will Genia's replacement in this fixture against the All Blacks 12 months ago.

"The Cup is in the thought process a long way before their consecutive wins. For us, it's about putting some pride back into the jersey and doing our best to win that Cup back.

"You don't need any more motivation than that big Bledisloe Cup," he said, gazing at the rubberised version.

Toomua, a five-eighth who also started his test career in last year's Sydney Bledisloe, was unaware the world champions were a win away from exceeding the achievements of the 1965-70 All Blacks and the 1997-98 Springboks.

"It's clearly an impressive statistic but the very fact I've just found out about it (indicates) we haven't spoken about it this week," Toomua said.

However, it might be beneficial to revisit the dead rubber in Hong Kong in 2010 - where James O'Connor's last-minute converted try ended the All Blacks' winning streak at 15.

Two years later in Brisbane the Wallabies secured a 18-18 draw in Brisbane where the All Blacks were a Dan Carter dropped goal away from closing out a 17th straight victory with the final act of the match.

After all, those cliffhangers and the Wallabies' most recent win over the All Blacks - the Tri-Nations-sealing triumph in Brisbane leading into the 2011 World Cup - indicate they are capable of upsetting their neighbours, even if the Bledisloe Cup has been unobtainable.

Toomua did concede New South Wales' first State of Origin series win since 2005 and the Waratahs' maiden Super Rugby title - which also played out at ANZ Stadium this season - was inspirational.

"I think it's impressive what the New South Wales Origin team has done. They showed through preparation, through professionalism and a definite game plan that it is possible.

"If you take those things out of it, you can definitely take that as motivation for sure."

Meanwhile, Toomua's apathy towards the All Blacks' quest at history was mirrored when he downplayed the Wallabies current seven-test winning streak, a sequence that started in Italy last November.

"We failed to beat the All Blacks last year and South Africa as well, and England. They're the three pinnacle teams, so you've got to have good performances against those teams.

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"There's no use talking about how positive it is. We've got to do it on the park."

White, meanwhile, was more optimistic, though not over confident - that enduring characteristic of Australian sportspeople.

The 13-test halfback described the mood as one of "cautious confidence".

"You've got to be confident to play your best footy but, at the same time, know they've (All Blacks) got confidence in spades and they've got that confidence in the tough times in games and in the pressure moments," he said.

"They'll have that confidence to back their game plan and back their players, so I guess we have to match that and try to take it up a notch."

- Stuff

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