All Black Woodcock 'waits for' Alexander - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Black Woodcock 'waits for' Alexander

By Jim Morton 17/09/2009 05:53:21 PM Comments (0)

Novice Wallabies tight-head Ben Alexander has been warned - All Black prop Tony Woodcock is lying in wait to send him back to clubland like the forgotten Al Baxter.

Woodcock has eclipsed England powerhouse Andrew Sheridan as Australia's feared scrummaging nemesis following destructive performances over Baxter in New Zealand's two come-from-behind wins this year.

So much did Baxter struggle, the Wallabies' most-capped prop was dragged after 30 minutes in the 19-18 loss in Sydney last month and hasn't played internationally since.

"Woodcock made life pretty hard on Baxter, I think he's playing club rugby now, that's as tough as you get really," Kiwi hooker Andrew Hore said on Thursday.

Asked if the loose-head would relish the chance to repeat the dose against Test rookie Alexander, Hore agreed.

"It's like anything, you want to go out there and beat your opponent, so you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that he wants to get the better of him," he said.

A specialist loose-head for the Brumbies, Alexander has been a revelation since being trialled at tight-head this year, nullifying Beast Mtawarira in the 21-6 win over South Africa in Brisbane.

While the Australian scrum won the battle at Suncorp Stadium they have often been brought back to earth by the craftier and more technically-correct NZ pack.

At the other end of the battle, experience of the blustery Wellington conditions still aren't enough for All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina to hope for a typically windy night on Saturday.

Teenage Wallabies sensation James O'Connor will be tested on a whole new level at Westpac Stadium, where the wind swirls inside the stands, making high kicks even more tricky to field.

The 76-Test Muliaina admitted he never feels comfortable in such conditions.

"I'm like him (O'Connor)," he said. "I tell you when you wake up and see the flags blowing, you know it's going to be a difficult day."

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