Israel Folau says Wallabies are quietly confident
Swatting aside Steve Hansen's latest barb, the Wallabies flew out for New Zealand tonight insisting there was no psychological scarring heading to the All Blacks' burial ground for Saturday's must-win Bledisloe Cup Test.
The Wallabies have read and heard all week about how no Australian team has won at Eden Park since 1986, but superstar fullback Israel Folau says it's no issue.
While veteran centre and vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper has tasted bitter Test defeat six times at the Auckland fortress, and back-rower Wycliff Palu has come up short there on three occasions and prop Sekope Kepu twice, half of Australia's starting XV haven't actually experienced losing to the world champions at Eden Park.
''It's probably a good thing,'' Folau said at Sydney airport. .
''The boys have had a taste of how they are last week and we know it's going to be a different sort of atmosphere at Eden Park with obviously a lot of All Blacks fans there.
''But that's probably the only difference. It's another football field where we get to play against the same players and it's a great opportunity for us.''
The All Blacks' dominance at Eden Park is so well-documented that the Wallabies haven't even addressed it this week.
''It's just a great opportunity to turn things around and go over there,'' Folau said.
''It's going to be pretty a tough challenge for us but one that the group is really taking on and we want to try and win this game.
''But we obviously understand the history behind it. The All Blacks are pretty strong there and haven't lost there for a long time.
''As a team we realise that, but we haven't spoken about it once and we're definitely looking forward to the game.
Eden Park aside, the Wallabies have lost their past 16 Tests against their trans-Tasman rivals in New Zealand since 2001.
Hansen today questioned how much more the Wallabies could lift after last Saturday's sapping 12-all draw at ANZ Stadium, but Folau promised the All Blacks coach there remained vast room for improvement.
''The boys were disappointed. We felt like we lost the game,'' he said.
''We obviously reviewed the game and opportunities that we missed.
''We want to try and capitalise on the things that present themselves on the weekend ... so we're confident going over there to try and get the job done.
''Likewise for them, they're going to come out a lot harder as well.
''We're expecting a pretty physical game and hopefully the weather is pretty good for us and it's dry and we can play a bit of rugby.''