Bledisloe drought must end: O’Neill
ARU chief executive John O’Neill says reclaiming the Bledisloe Cup is “critical” for Australian rugby and would go a long way towards securing the future of Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
The Wallabies haven’t stolen the Bledisloe Cup from New Zealand since 2002 and only broke a decade-long Rugby Championship (Tri Nations) drought last season.
O’Neill said Deans was comfortable with the reality that results were vital and that they would largely determine whether he’ll be offered a new contract beyond 2013.
“I’ve said from the outset about the coaching situation … it’s just on results and that’s the nature of coaching,” said O’Neill.
“Robbie’s got this year and next year and, if he shoots the lights out, it’s not a difficult decision to extend him through to 2015.
“If you’ve got a Bledisloe Cup in the cabinet and a Rugby Championship in the cabinet, it tends to put down a pretty significant mark and he’s got his head around that.”
Australia face the All Blacks in Sydney on August 18 to open the respective Bledisloe and Rugby Championship campaigns, before backing up seven days later for game two against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland.
O’Neill conceded that eclipsing the World Cup champions would be largely a psychological barrier but believes the intensity of back-to-back Bledisloes should suit the Wallabies.
Speaking at the launch of a Wallabies and All Blacks legends golf day, as part of the inaugural Bledisloe Cup festival, O’Neill stressed that enough was enough.
“It’s critical – there’s no shying away from it. (The Bledisloe) has got a significance that transcends any other event … Ten years without having won it is too long,” he said.
“No one underestimates how challenging and difficult the task will be. We saw what (New Zealand) did to Ireland in that third Test (60-0 thrashing last month).
“Wouldn’t it be nice to say after the first two games, it’s two blot – we’ve got them.
“What I thought the team showed against Wales (in the 3-0 series win in June) was that ability to snatch a victory when it didn’t look like it was possible.”
The Bledisloe Festival will kick off a week before the clash at ANZ Stadium and feature a range of activities including the Classic golf day at Oatlands on match-eve.
O’Neill said he hoped his proposal for a 2015 match between a combined Australian and New Zealand Anzac team to face the British and Irish Lions, in memory of the centenary of Gallipoli, wouldn’t be “put in the too hard basket”.
Conceding that scheduling could be a problem, O’Neill suggests the match be played immediately following the World Cup in England that year around the date of Remembrance Day on November 11.© AAP 2013
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