Wallabies eye All Blacks’ scalp

Kurtley BealeAustralia appear quietly confident ahead of Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup opener with New Zealand and have played down Kiwi coach Steve Hansen’s mind games (Australia 13/8, New Zealand 1/2, draw 20/1 – Match Prices).

The two sides will meet in Sydney on Saturday night in the first of three matches to determine the Bledisloe Cup, while the game is also part of the four-nation Rugby Championship (Australia 6/1 – Rugby Championship Outright).

The Wallabies sprung a surprise earlier in the week by naming Kurtley Beale at fly-half ahead of Bernard Foley, with All Blacks coach Hansen declaring himself “dumbfounded” by the decision.

He went on to suggest that Aussie coach Ewen McKenzie “doesn’t trust” Foley while insinuating that Beale’s selection might be more political than tactical.

A few of the Australia players have now leapt to the defence of both Beale and McKenzie, with scrum-half Nic White outlining his half-back partner’s experience.

“I think a lot of people forget that he’s played 42 Tests, so he’s leaps and bounds ahead of me, so he’s dragging me along at the moment,” he said.

And the number nine told reporters the reasons why he and his team-mates believe they can take a 1-0 lead in the Bledisloe Cup series, with the nation’s top club sides performing well in recent times.

“Because a lot of teams have been confident coming up against the All Blacks and done well,” he added.

“So it’s about that cautious confidence, but confidence goes a long way in team sport and just riding the back of the Waratahs’ success and, at the moment, Australian rugby’s in a good place.”

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