The Wallabies must fix their breakdown woes to beat the All Blacks in Auckland this weekend, assistant coach Geoff Parling said Thursday, while denying fortress Eden Park was “scary”.
While Australia impressed in their 16-16 draw during the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington last Sunday, they gave away a flurry of penalties, many at the clean-out.
Former England lock Parling said it was an issue they have been working to put right.
“That is certainly an area we need to be better at. We know that if we want to play with the ball and have good-quality ball, we have got to be good in that area,” he said.
“I thought at times we were probably a little bit slow to react, so certainly there’s more of an awareness around it this week.”
Another worry was the lineout, with Folau Fainga’a struggling with his throw in the first half, handing New Zealand a chance to attack.
The Wallabies will also have to deal with the expected return of two-time world player of the year Beauden Barrett, potentially at either fly-half or fullback.
Parling acknowledged the threat he poses, but attempted to play it down.
“He’s obviously a good player, but the other guys in there are good players,” he said.
“Again, I wouldn’t make more than what it is if he comes back in, he’ll be replacing someone else who is also a very good player.
“In terms of nullifying him, we can do our job up front and try and reduce the quality of ball he has and that will help.”
Australia have failed to win at Auckland’s Eden Park since 1986 and were hammered there last year 36-0 on the back of a 47-26 victory in Perth.
Asked whether the Wallabies viewed the venue as “scary”, Parling, who played 29 Tests for England between 2012 and 2015, replied: “Certainly not, it’s just a rugby pitch.”
But he said that while Australia showed character in Wellington, “we’ve got to be better” in Auckland to finally break their drought and take a 1-0 lead into the final two Bledisloe Tests.
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