Wallabies can bounce back against ABs - Genia
Statistically it's the worst opponent to loom on the schedule for a Wallabies squad demoralised after losing their three-test series to the British and Irish Lions. But halfback Will Genia was confident his teammates could regroup for next month's Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks in Sydney.
With only three wins and a draw from 18 tests against the World Cup holders since Robbie Deans became head coach in 2008, another Bledisloe Cup clash appears a daunting assignment - and one the Kiwi may be spared after Saturday night's 41-16 loss to the Lions at ANZ Stadium.
Deans could be replaced by the time the tournament gets underway but regardless of who is in charge, Genia said the personnel were capable of atoning for an insipid effort in the biggest test staged in Australia since the 2003 World Cup.
"If you're going to lose confidence after something like that then you shouldn't play. You're not mentally not tough enough," the halfback said.
"You cop it and you move on. There isn't any harder team to play than the All Blacks. If you're going to disappointed and too down you're going to get flogged again."
Genia said the Wallabies had to finally emulate a key platform of the All Blacks success.
"They never lose their composure, they make sure they stay disciplined to what they want to achieve in games. The best thing we can do is learn from that and take that into future games and be better for it in the big moments."
Composure and accuracy were sadly lacking before the Tom Richards Cup was handed over to Deans' compatriot Warren Gatland and ironically, Genia was one of the Wallabies' leading non-performers.
Arguably the world's leading No 9, Genia knocked on the kick-off after muddled communication with lock Kane Douglas - the catalyst for Alex Corbisiero's second-minute try.
He also kicked to Leigh Halfpenny in the lead-up to George North's match-sealer and was frustrated by operating behind a back pedalling scrum.
"We were outplayed severely," he said, saying his error from the kick-off was pivotal despite the time left on the clock.
"We were chasing the game right from the start, they got an early try, scrum dominance and it flowed throughout the whole game.
"I called for it (the kick-off), (Douglas) came over as if he was going to catch it, as it came down he left it and I went to get it at the last minute. I put my hand up."
Meanwhile, Gatland is not volunteering for the All Blacks job when the prospect of him coaching against the Lions in 2017 was raised yesterday.
"No" interjected Lions manager Andy Irvine, before Gatland said he was not looking beyond the 2015 World Cup with Wales.
"I'm excited about what Wales can achieve with the group of players we've got and the talent we've got," he said.
After the next World Cup an option was to: "just hang up the boots, go to the beach and sit down with a red wine and a cigar."