No comfort when Wallabies face cold Kiwis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No comfort when Wallabies face cold Kiwis

Chris Barclay 25/10/2010 08:21:35 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies have taken little comfort from the fact that key All Blacks haven't been fine-tuning their games in New Zealand's provincial competition ahead of their Bledisloe Cup match here on Saturday.

Australia continued their training regime in Hong Kong on Monday, gearing up for their final chance to beat the New Zealanders in 2010.

And with five-eighth Daniel Carter, flanker Richie McCaw and loose forward Kieran Read coming in cold for the All Blacks after bypassing the NPC, Australia will get to tackle some key players a little cold.

Not that the Wallabies saw it that way.

"I don't think it's an advantage, none of our guys have been playing," winger Drew Mitchell said.

Loose forward Richard Brown was more forthright.

"It would be the silliest thing in the world to suggest we're better off for Richie not playing NPC," he said.

"You're leaving yourself open to be smacked in the face."

Talisman Carter appears poised to start the Bledisloe Cup finale although assistant coach Wayne Smith warns the influential All Blacks playmaker may lack the match fitness to make a complete return from ankle surgery.

He ran freely during the team's first serious training session since arriving from Auckland on Sunday, an encouraging sign ahead of the fourth and final trans Tasman Test of the year at Hong Kong Stadium.

Out of action since the Tri Nations title-clincher against South Africa at Soweto on August 22, Carter shows signs of making a seamless return as the All Blacks attempt to open their end-of-year grand slam tour with a record 11th consecutive victory over Australia.

Carter impressed during a pre-departure game in Auckland last Saturday and his rehabilitation program remains on schedule.

"He's very good," Smith said.

"He doesn't need a lot of managing, he knows what's needed and he sets about doing it."

Smith said there were no concerns about Carter's base fitness although there were reservationsabout the five-eighth's ability to make his comeback span 80 minutes.

"I wouldn't have thought so," Smith said.

"The game intensity with the contact takes its toll. You'd expect at some stage Stephen (Donald) will get on but he (Carter) has amazed us before."

Carter has a history of picking up where he left off following an enforced break.

He missed eight months of last season after suffering an achilles injury while on sabbatical in France and saved the All Blacks from defeat in Sydney on the back of one club game and two provincial outings for Canterbury.

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