Wallabies focused for All Blacks stoush - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies focused for All Blacks stoush

By Darren Walton 01/11/2008 07:52:18 AM Comments (0)

The Wallabies and All Blacks will wind up their trans-Tasman hostilities for the season on Saturday night in the historic Bledisloe Cup Test in Hong Kong.

After a relaxed build-up, including a harbour cruise and trip to the Sha Tin races, it will be back to business for the Wallabies in the first match of their six-match spring tour, and first-ever Bledisloe Cup encounter outside of Australasia.

Skipper Stirling Mortlock says the Wallabies have enjoyed the novel experience, but are now fully focused on reversing last month's 28-24 loss to the All Blacks in Brisbane.

"It has been something a little bit different for the whole crew. Hong Kong's a unique place and all the boys have thoroughly enjoyed the preparation for this Test match," Mortlock said.

"The hospitality that we've received this week has been great and we're thoroughly looking forward to and excited about the prospects of playing in front of packed stadium.

"You couldn't hope for a better setting. It's a fast pitch, fast deck. Both teams I'm sure will be going out there with a real positive mindset to play attacking, positive rugby.

"Everything's set for a massive Test match."

Fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper says if the 40,000 crowd generates the type of carnival atmosphere it is famous for at the annual Hong Kong Sevens, the Wallabies and All Blacks were in for a treat.

"It was an amazing experience for me back in 2004 with the sevens," Ashley-Cooper said.

"The crowd was very vibrant, electric. I experienced the Australian traditional boo, which was very unique.

"But I enjoyed it, had a good time and looking forward to Saturday night."

The Wallabies suffered an injury setback on Friday when reserve hooker Adam Freier was ruled out with a calf injury, prompting coach Robbie Deans to call up Tatafu Polota-Nau for a place on the bench.

"Adam's very disappointed but one person's loss - in this case Adam's - is another person's gain," Mortlock said.

"Tatafu Polota-Nau is absolutely raring to go. Our whole squad has had a significant preparation for this tour and it starts off with this match."

Win, lose or draw, the Wallabies fly to Italy on Sunday for the second of five successive Saturday Tests.

They then take on England, France and Wales before completing their spring tour against the Barbarians at Wembley on December 3.

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