Wallabies can win the Bledisloe back
Ewen McKenzie believes his Wallabies players have no reason to feel inferior to All Blacks.
New Australia coach Ewen McKenzie believes his Wallabies players have no reason to feel inferior to their New Zealand counterparts and have every chance of wresting back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in more than a decade.
The former Queensland Reds coach, who took over from New Zealander Robbie Deans last month, faces a tough introduction to the world of national team coaching with back-to-back tests against the world champion All Blacks in August.
The final nail in the coffin for Deans was undoubtedly the defeat in the test series against the British and Irish Lions, in particular the 41-16 humbling in the decider.
But it was as much his inability to compete with his native country - he lost 14 of 18 tests against the All Blacks - and bring the Bledisloe Cup back to Australia for the first time since 2002 that brought an end to Deans' six-year reign.
McKenzie gets a first chance to work with his Wallabies players on Monday when a 40-man squad assembles in Sydney for a training camp and the 48-year-old has no doubt he has the talent at his disposal to challenge the All Blacks.
"No one beats them frequently," he told Reuters in an interview after naming his first squad.
"But it depends a lot on your mindset. It doesn't mean you'll get it right every time, statistically it's quite a difficult task, but head-to-head, every one of our players has tasted success against them at one point in time.
"So you can say you've had an outcome there and we can extrapolate that through and... then those head-to-head contests become a competition between the teams and that will come down to strategy and tactics and technique or whatever.
"We play against them more than anyone else, in different contexts, so there's no need to go out there feeling inferior or that it can't be done."
The Wallabies play the All Blacks three times this year, twice in the Rugby Championship - in Sydney on Aug. 17 and in Wellington a week later - with a final Bledisloe match in Dunedin in October.
Australia must win two to reclaim the trophy.
"It's harder to win the Bledisloe than to retain it, the way it's structured, but we have to go out there with a positive mindset," McKenzie added.
"I can't see any reason why we wouldn't, we're close enough to the top of the rankings to say we're a good side, why can't we win it?"
A World Cup winner in 1991, McKenzie played 51 tests for the Wallabies but even in that golden era of Australian rugby still lost seven of his 13 matches against the All Blacks.
After a period as Wallabies assistant coach under Rod McQueen and Eddie Jones, McKenzie earned his head coaching stripes with the New South Wales Waratahs, Stade Francais and most recently the Queensland Reds.