Wallabies have 'fire in belly', warns All Blacks skipper

Kieran Read (Getty)
Kieran Read (Getty)

Perth - It might be 17 years since the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup, but All Blacks skipper Kieran Read insisted Friday their arch-rivals have "fire in their belly" and can never be underestimated.

The last time Australia got their hands on the trans-Tasman silverware was in 2002, and few are expecting the long drought to be broken.

With the annual showdown reduced to two games instead of three due to the World Cup, the Wallabies need to win not just in Perth on Saturday but at fortress Eden Park in Auckland a week later to claim the trophy.

Despite the odds being stacked against them, and their run of poor form in 2018, the veteran Read said the Wallabies had the capacity to surprise.

"I think they've had the fire in the belly for the last few years, definitely. And we know they'll certainly have that again tomorrow night," he said ahead of the first game between the two sides in Perth.

"So we can't just rest on what we've done over those years, it's important we reset and make sure we go and play as well as we can.

"I've said it before, in these games you can't just rely on your skills, it's about your mental fortitude, how you turn up, and how you want to be physical," he added. 

"So it's important for us to do that tomorrow."

An added incentive for New Zealand this weekend is the chance of clinching the Rugby Championship.

South Africa are currently at the top of the standings on seven points with the All Blacks on six. 

If the Springboks beat Argentina with a bonus point they cannot be caught. But if the All Blacks win against Australia and Argentina beat South Africa, the title goes to New Zealand.

Read, preparing for his 120th Test, wouldn't be drawn on whether he felt Saturday's game would be high-scoring or low-scoring, but his team were ready for all scenarios.

"We don't know, you turn up with all these situations in your head, but you play whatever you do and if it comes down to it and you need to knuckle down to win the game, we will do that," he said.

"We'll turn up tomorrow to win the game, it won't be easy, it never is over here. We'll just put up our best performance."

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