Gregan says “ruthless” Wallabies must keep All Blacks on the canvas

Wallabies legend George Gregan likens the Bledisloe Cup to a heavyweight boxing match and says Australia must be "ruthless" in keeping New Zealand on the canvas next Saturday.

Australia are desperate to end a 16-year Bledisloe Cup drought and Gregan believes they can, but only if they win the opener in Sydney.

George Gregan was the last Wallabies captain to lift the Bledisloe Cup, back in 2002.

George Gregan was the last Wallabies captain to lift the Bledisloe Cup, back in 2002.

Gregan was the last Wallabies captain to lift the trophy in 2002 and said it's imperative the Wallabies start well this year and adopt their rivals' "whatever it takes" attitude.

Australia's campaign was derailed last year with a disastrous first half in the opening Test and Gregan said playing catch up against the All Blacks was "not impossible", but far from ideal.

"They just have to start this series with a win, it sounds basic but they have to take their opportunities and win it because coming from behind is going to be difficult," Gregan said.

"It will take a relentless intensity and the ability to absorb and apply pressure, and then when you've got them down you can't let them get off the canvas, you've got to be ruthless.

"The All Blacks just don’t quit and find a way to win, so we need to do whatever it takes to find a way to win.

"The last time we played them, in Brisbane, even know the trophy wasn’t up for grabs, we won. But they remember their losses more than their victories.

"They never have and never will want to give us an even chance, so it’s really important we start this campaign off well, because a poor first half in Sydney last year ruined it."

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham labelled the 2017 opener as "very embarrassing" but is confident his men can finally snap the losing streak against the Kiwis.

"We talk about the importance of the Bledisloe Cup and we've made some inroads in the way we’re playing and our culture on and off the field over the past 18 months," Larkham said.

"We had a little bit of success in the second and third games last year and we were pretty pleased with progress we made on the back of last year.

"But the first game last year was very embarrassing and we’re faced with that again right now, we're about to start the Rugby Championship and we need to start strong, that's the focus.

"New Zealand have consistently been the best team in the world [in recent year], so we've got to knock off the best team in the world and a multitude of things go into that but making sure we play the full 80 minutes is a big one."


August 18: Wallabies v All Blacks at ANZ Stadium, 8:05pm.

August 25: All Blacks v Wallabies at Eden Park, 5:35pm AEST.

October 27: Wallabies v All Blacks at International Stadium Yokohama, 10:00am AEST.

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