The Wallaby camp has thrown the first psychological punch as old rivals Australia and New Zealand continue their preparations for the Rugby World Cup.
Phil Kearns – twice a World Cup winner for Australia – has stated that the All Blacks have peaked too soon, saying, “I think New Zealand peaked 18 months ago when they played the British Lions and they have not played as well since that time.”
Kearns suggests that their biggest flaw is being too one-dimensional, with no back-up plan if their standard gameplan does not yield results. Australia knows New Zealand better than anyone, and have enjoyed the greatest success against them of any international team. Their geographical proximity means they play each other regularly, and their bitter rivalry ensures they study each other’s playing styles in great depth.
Nevertheless, New Zealand will have heard it all before, and as clear favourites for the title, they are there to be shot down – in the same way that England were in 2003. No doubt the verbal jousting will continue until the competition finally begins on September 7th.