Wallabies have nothing to fear at Eden Park, says Poidevin

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Wallabies great Simon Poidevin says Saturday's Bledisloe Cup decider will be "one of the most intense rugby games the world has seen" at a venue he believes is nowhere near as intimidating as most people think.

The Wallabies have not won at Eden Park in 33 years and in 18 attempts, and while Poidevin expects New Zealand to make a real statement after their heavy loss in the series opener, he cannot see why the ground itself is such a discussion point.

“I don’t think there is anything at all about that ground which is intimidating,” Poidevin told the Herald. "I would have thought in my day Lansdowne Road [in Dublin] was a harder place to play because the crowd was right on top of you. The crowd aren't on top of you at Eden Park like other stadiums.

“They can use that as a great weapon to try and get into the heads of teams who arrive there. You can’t call it a legend or a myth, but the success rate at that venue against all international teams has been quite phenomenal.

“It will be a cauldron of hate at Eden Park. The Kiwi supporters will be spewing that Australia just scored the biggest score ever against an All Black team. All the pressure is on the All Blacks mentally because they know if they lose this one then there are pretty severe consequences.

“It’s a huge pressure cooker for both teams.”

David Pocock will not make his return for the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup this Saturday.

David Pocock will not make his return for the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup this Saturday. Credit:AAP

Australia’s 47-26 victory over New Zealand at Optus Stadium was the biggest score chalked up by a side against the All Blacks in 116 years of Test rugby, and a win in Auckland will see the men in gold lift the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

Michael Cheika will reveal his side on Thursday and the Herald understands David Pocock's name won't be on the team sheet. The champion back-rower is still not 100 per cent right from the calf injury that has sidelined him since March.

With history beckoning, many long-suffering Wallabies fans were hoping Pocock would play, given his prowess over the ball and match-winning capabilities.

Before news filtered through Pocock would not feature, Poidevin, who was part of the last Wallabies side to win at Eden Park in 1986, said it was not worth risking him.

“He hasn’t played in a long while and you don’t go into what will be one of the most intense rugby games the world has seen [underdone]," Poidevin said. "It’ll be a high-paced game and you can do all the physical preparation in the world but match fitness is so much more superior to training fitness.”

Poidevin also said he was surprised the All Blacks had pointed the finger at Australia for performing neck rolls on them given he felt it was the All Blacks themselves who targeted Pocock this time last year.

The All Blacks have accused the Wallabies this week of performing illegal neck rolls during the match in Perth.

Poidevin said he couldn’t see anything of the sort and put the blame back on New Zealand, who he believed were up to no good last year when Pocock was getting stuck into breakdowns.

“There was nothing more visible than what happened to David Pocock over that [Bledisloe] series last year,” Poidevin said. “I thought it was an interesting card they pulled out. They were targeting him.

“There’s no doubt the World Cup will be won or lost on yellow cards, so teams have to be very disciplined and accurate. There will be huge vigilance on what goes on in that game on Saturday.”

Poidevin did not expect Australia to make many changes to a winning side but word from the other side of the ditch is the All Blacks are planning on significantly tweaking their starting XV.

Before the Perth Test, Cheika wanted his players to go harder than they ever have before and Poidevin has stressed Australia's forwards in particular will need to go “ballistic” in order to once again dominate the All Blacks at the breakdown.

“To win the Bledisloe back it will require a monumental effort physically and mentally,” Poidevin said. “We have to be 100 per cent to win at Eden Park. It’s up to us to accept it and say, 'right, we’re going to go harder'. They have to go harder.

“You’ve got to have eight forwards going absolutely ballistic at the breakdown to beat the All Blacks.

“The ABs take defeat badly and take defeat by Australia even worse than most nations. They’ve been humiliated in their view and they’re out to make a statement.”