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Odds stacked against Wallabies winning at Eden Park



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The odds will be stacked against Australia when they run on to what can be compared to a rugby graveyard for them at Eden Park on Saturday to face New Zealand in a Rugby Championship clash.

The Wallabies last tasted success at the All Blacks’ Auckland fortress 26 years ago and even recalled playmaker Quade Cooper, a proven match-winner for Australia, has unhappy memories of the ground.

The last time the two sides met there was the Rugby World Cup semi-final 10 months ago, when the home side ran out 20-6 winners and Cooper was clearly affected by the verbal hounding he received from vocal New Zealand fans.

Cooper is the object of their ire because of a perceived tendency to target popular All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw off the ball.

But Australia will be banking on the unpredictable fly-half to turn their fortunes around after the All Blacks outplayed them 27-19 in Sydney last week, with his recall expected to liven up a pedestrian backline.

The Wallabies’ morale has not been helped by suffering a raft of injuries, among them skipper David Pocock.

But All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has played down Australia’s woeful history at Eden Park saying that psychologically it could prove to be a motivational factor.

“You’ve got a choice. You can either carry the burden of the teams that have gone before you around on your shoulders, or you front up on the day and make the battle about that day.

“Australia will be pretty disappointed with how they played last week… We’ve got to expect they’ll raise their accuracy and intensity. We are going to have to do the same.”

Nonetheless history is strongly weighted in the All Blacks’ favour on New Zealand’s premier rugby ground, where they have won two World Cups and not lost in 29 Tests dating back 18 years.

The Wallabies have been their victims 10 times during that sequence.

The last Australian win at Eden Park was a 22-9 victory in 1986 — before several current players including stand-in skipper Will Genia, Cooper and Pocock were born.

Australia last beat the All Blacks in New Zealand in 2001, winning 23-15 in Dunedin.

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