Wallabies must confront hoodoo: Waugh - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies must confront hoodoo: Waugh

By Adrian Warren 30/07/2008 09:01:11 AM Comments (0)

Recalled Wallabies flanker Phil Waugh believes Australia should confront rather than ignore their Eden Park hoodoo going into Saturday night's Tri-Nations rugby showdown against New Zealand.

The Wallabies have not won at the venue since 1986, losing nine straight matches at a ground where the All Blacks have not been beaten by any nation in 14 years.

In recent years, NSW has buried a number of similar hoodoos in establishing themselves as one of the forces of the Super tournament.

Waratahs skipper Waugh, who was on Tuesday promoted to the starting side for Saturday in the unfamiliar position of lineside flanker, wasn't shying away from the Wallabies' daunting Eden Park bogey.

"I think it's important to recognise it's a special challenge that we're being confronted with," Waugh said.

"Heading into this season there's numerous cups and games, going to New Zealand and winning games, and going to South Africa and winning, there's different challenges.

"This is our first big challenge."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he hoped Australia's long drought in Auckland wouldn't have an adverse psychological impact on his side.

He pointed out his team last week, which included eight players who had never turned out against New Zealand before, had not carried any psychological baggage from Australia's string of recent losses to the All Blacks and hoped they would carry a similar mentality into Saturday's clash.

New Zealand-born Deans reiterated he didn't expect a particularly warm welcome upon his return.

However, Deans emphasised he was no stranger to hostile receptions in Auckland, obviously referring to his time as Crusaders coach.

The normally cagey Deans did allow his usually reserved demeanour to drop for one moment on Tuesday when asked if there was anything that surprised him about the Wallabies.

"Matt Dunning's skinfold (test) surprised me, he was only 85, which is very respectable for a front rower," said Deans, drawing guffaws from the media at his Sydney press conference."

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