(Reuters) – Australia scrum half Tate McDermott said on Wednesday their performance in the 57-22 defeat by New Zealand at Eden Park last month did not befit their status as a tier-one nation.
The All Blacks thrashed the Wallabies to secure the Bledisloe Cup, the annual trophy contested by the two nations, for a 19th successive year, with the match also doubling as the teams’ first in the Rugby Championship with South Africa and Argentina.
McDermott said Australia did not need extra motivation ahead of Sunday’s test in Perth — which was originally scheduled for Aug. 28 — as they look to avoid a clean sweep in the best of three series.
“If there’s no edge going into a game against New Zealand we’re kidding ourselves,” McDermott told reporters on a video call.
“To concede 57 points and call ourselves a tier-one nation is quite embarrassing. We’ve looked at ourselves in the mirror. We’ve reviewed exactly what went wrong. The most frustrating part was it was our gifts letting them back into the game.
“We’ve got to cut that out otherwise we can’t expect to compete with them… (The defence) was nowhere near good enough. Coming into this game you’ll see a massive emphasis on defence.”
Ian Foster’s All Blacks will be missing a trio of first-choice players staying home for the births of their children, but McDermott is expecting a tough encounter in Perth.
“You know very well who they are probably going to replace them with and it’s just as much experience,” he said.
“They left behind key players but they’ve replaced them with three world cup players, gold medallists… Guys like TJ Perenara, like Beauden Barrett, if we are taking them lightly we’re kidding ourselves.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)