Despite trailing by 25 points in the final period of the first game, the Australian players and staff remain optimistic about their chances as they racked up three attempts in quick succession. This led Kellaway in a radio interview to suggest that the All Blacks’ intimidating aura might have worn off after the first game.
It is unclear if Kellaway was referring to the All Blacks in general, or was referring to the aura of Eden Park or the New Zealand players themselves.
The fact that Kellaway made it clear, like Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese earlier this week, that all the pressure was on New Zealand, a Bledisloe Cup champion since 2003, was certainly surprising.
“A couple of those guys have played the All Blacks for the first time [now], including myself. Maybe the aura is gone a bit, ”Kellaway said on Big Sports Breakfast.
“To be honest, the pressure is on them. You don’t want to be the first All Blacks team to lose at Eden Park. We are not stupid, we know that we have to start well ”.
Mehrtens, one of New Zealand’s best players, who scored 16 Tests against men in gold from 1995 to 2004, said Kellaway’s comments could reflect internal messages.
“Ultimately, the conversation will be on the field,” Mehrtens said. “The All Blacks have never credited the discussion of aura or things like that.
“I’m sure this is the narrative the team wants to convey: that the All Blacks are under more pressure because of the expectations and the 35-year winning streak. It’s a bit embarrassing that they are bringing out a rookie to talk about an aura that is supposedly waning, given that he has played a game against them.
“I like Kellaway and I’m glad he made the Wallabies. You want your players to be confident, but I don’t think it looks very good with a limited testing experience coming out and making great comments.
“It’s like denying something, you just draw more attention to it. If you start talking about a Whole
Blacks aura, then you already bought it. It’s never something the All Blacks have talked about. “
Mehrtens assured that the All Blacks would be ready for the contest.
“I think there will be great incentive and determination to be so much better this weekend,” Mehrtens said.
“Australia have fought a tough series against France. They were depressed and about to go out for the weekend and made their way back to him.
“Maybe that’s what Rennie is trying to instill in them this week: go out there and play like this for the last 15 to 20 minutes, where you have nothing else to lose and everything to gain.”
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