Mortlock rubbishes Hansen’s ‘underdogs’ claim

By Darren Walton, Darren Walton is a Roar Guru

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    Former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock has rubbished All Blacks attempts at underdog status for the looming Bledisloe Cup series as laughable.

    “It’s a load of tripe,” Mortlock told AAP on Tuesday.

    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, a master at stirring the pot, made the audacious claim on Monday after selecting another formidable 33-man squad for this year’s series, which kicks off in Sydney on August 18.

    Winners of the past two World Cups, the All Blacks have lost just eight of their past 100 Test matches to be the most dominant team in international rugby history.

    Hansen played the underdog card on the basis of the Wallabies’ 23-18 victory in last year’s dead rubber in Brisbane, the most recent meeting between the trans-Tasman rivals.

    But it was only Australia’s second win in 19 Bledisloe encounters and Mortlock is having none of it as the Wallabies bid to break New Zealand’s 16-year hold on the prize piece of silverware.

    “If you want to break it down, logically, look at how dominant New Zealand has been. You can go back as far as you want,” Mortlock said.

    “What has it been, 16 years? Or you can say just the last few years.

    “Either way, New Zealand’s dominance has been outstanding. Not just against Australia but on a global stage.

    “Then, do you want to isolate this year?

    “They’ve won another Super Rugby title and most of their Super Rugby sides are performing quite well.

    “They’re in a great situation where they could choose probably two All Black teams and they’d still be a force to be reckoned with.

    “There’s been a lot of pleasing signs for Australia this year so I’m not going to just write us off but I think it’s pretty laughable that Steve could put it out there and claim that they’re underdogs.”

    Mortlock, one of Australia’s greatest outside centres, also said he hopes Wallabies coach Michael Cheika goes with the versatile Reece Hodge over Curtis Rona for the vacant the No. 13 jumper in the absence of injured frontliners Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi.

    “My mindset on 13 is that it’s quite a specialist position and if you put someone in there that’s not used to it from an attack and defending point of view, it’s not always the best outcome,” Mortlock said.

    “If Hodgey gets the nod there, I’d love to see him get more than just one game there.

    “His strength has been a little bit to his detriment, a bit like Adam Ashley-Cooper.

    “He’s played so many different positions and he’s done it so well but I do think he has a lot of the hallmarks to be a fantastic 13.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 7th 2018 @ 4:07pm
      piru said | August 7th 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

      Was this Hansen’s plan?

      To get the Aussies talking themselves down?

      • Roar Rookie

        August 7th 2018 @ 5:51pm
        Sage said | August 7th 2018 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

        He needed a plan for that? Unrequired I would have thought.
        He did plan for winter though with all those seeds and nuts stored in his cheeks.

      • August 8th 2018 @ 5:13pm
        Muzzo said | August 8th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        Possibly right, as Shag. could of been thinking the Wallabies,……. ah, might do something different, like talk themselves up. lol.

      • August 8th 2018 @ 10:19pm
        Drongo said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

        No, that isn’t his plan, four million Kiwis already do a great job at that. Hansen’s plan was to stave off complacency but it has backfired spectacularly with every man and his dog stating the obvious absurdity of his comment.

        • Roar Guru

          August 9th 2018 @ 12:20pm
          taylorman said | August 9th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          Well, look at it this way…the basis of his comment was that the last winners between the two were Oz.

          Now, when kiwis mentioned that, amongst other things…it was a long season, we had injuries, the trophies had already been won…we/ they were told…rubbish, kiwis always have excuses, cant admit they were beaten by the better team on the day.

          Fair enough? Oz won, fair and square, and not due to those factors, or so we were told.

          So now we meet again…but this time…we dont have the injuries from last years match, we dont have the trophies yet, it hasnt been a long season yet.

          Now if Oz won the last meeting, and none of those factors were a reason the ABs lost, then why are the Wallabies not favourites?

          Since then Oz have even had a better year than last year, both at test and Super rugby level.

          Yet now we are told it is ‘outrageous’ to think Oz are favourites.

          Can you explain that one Drongo?

          • August 9th 2018 @ 3:42pm
            Fionn said | August 9th 2018 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            Australia beat the All Blacks in Brisbane because they were the better team on the night, not because they were a better team overall, and while we may have improved since 2017 (and closed the gap somewhat) the Wallabies are still a clearly inferior side to the All Blacks – we just lost a home series to a team worse than the All Blacks.

            You know all this, Taylorman.

            • Roar Guru

              August 9th 2018 @ 5:55pm
              taylorman said | August 9th 2018 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

              Yes, a handy logic. I actually think we lost the third because itvwas a long season, there were injuries, and the trophies were won. I know that as well. It just doesnt sit with the have cake and eat it thinking of some.😀

              • August 9th 2018 @ 11:31pm
                Peter Kelly said | August 9th 2018 @ 11:31pm | ! Report

                It was the Refs fault we lost.

          • August 10th 2018 @ 7:54am
            Drongo said | August 10th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            Whose the clown now?

    • August 7th 2018 @ 4:33pm
      jimbo81 said | August 7th 2018 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

      Na – Hansen’s plan was to plant another listening bug and tell the press a week later on the morning of the first test.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 7th 2018 @ 4:55pm
        piru said | August 7th 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

        Ooh someone’s still salty

    • August 7th 2018 @ 4:59pm
      Colvin Brown said | August 7th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

      With rugby you never really know. There can always be favourites but it’s on the day that counts. The WBs have home advantage; the ABs have a few top players coming back from injury; any type of card could be given, a red would really impact the match. The ABs are favourites but have been before and lost…who would have thought that Spencer would pass to Mortlock in 2003 and we lose a huge match everyone said we’d win? I still have nightmares.

    • August 7th 2018 @ 6:23pm
      Jacko said | August 7th 2018 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

      I think the headline should have been “Mortlock proves he has no sense of humour”….Talk about a massive overreaction

      • Roar Guru

        August 7th 2018 @ 6:34pm
        taylorman said | August 7th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

        Typical Mortlock…going for the intercept….again.😆

        • Roar Guru

          August 8th 2018 @ 9:12am
          Wal said | August 8th 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Jeez Tman Hours and Hours of therapy and I had almost wiped that intercept from my memory. Only for you to bring it up.

          • Roar Guru

            August 8th 2018 @ 8:09pm
            taylorman said | August 8th 2018 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

            I know…at least he missed this one…🙄

      • August 9th 2018 @ 5:21am
        P2R2 said | August 9th 2018 @ 5:21am | ! Report

        Yes just love the Aussie monikers…Morty loves Hodgy, and there’s Kurtley and Foley and soon to be followed by, Ron-ay and Folau-ay and Arnoldy and Colesy and TPN-ay and all the rest…jeez…

      • August 9th 2018 @ 10:56am
        beardie said | August 9th 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        Yes, it was very tongue in cheek comment. The reactions here are, shall we say, interesting!

    • August 7th 2018 @ 6:51pm
      Just Nuisance said | August 7th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

      When the Lions coach Swys de Bruin pulled a similar stunt prior to the final he was pretty hammered by the press and public in NZ. The Lions got a pretty hot reception in Christchurch as a result. I have no problem with wars of words to gain an advantage but in the Lions case it backfired. In 1974 when the British Lions toured SA the Boks had a lock called John Williams
      He was big and abrasive but the Lions publically called him the ” jolly jumper” it worked and the SA selectors dropped their best forward.

      • August 8th 2018 @ 10:32am
        Jacko said | August 8th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        JN the Lions coach came out and said he wanted the ref to stop the Saders being offside and stop them cheating……Hardly the same and he deserved all he got…Can you imagine the reaction if Hansen or Chieka came out before the game and said the opposition was cheating?

    • August 7th 2018 @ 8:19pm
      Julz said | August 7th 2018 @ 8:19pm | ! Report

      Hansen in his hotel room giggling…

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