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Exposed: Dirty tricks ABs are plotting for Wallabies

If there is one lesson the Wallabies should have learnt from their 18-year bid to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup, it’s that you should never trust or underestimate the All Blacks.The most ruthless, egotistical team in international rugby, the All Blacks didn’t get to No.1 by being Mr Nice Guy, so no-one in Australia should be…

If there is one lesson the Wallabies should have learnt from their 18-year bid to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup, it’s that you should never trust or underestimate the All Blacks.

The most ruthless, egotistical team in international rugby, the All Blacks didn’t get to No.1 by being Mr Nice Guy, so no-one in Australia should be fooled by the charm offensive the Kiwis have turned on in the wake of the drawn first test.

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Within hours of the match finishing, New Zealand’s spin doctors were in full swing, posting a mushy video on social media of the All Blacks welcoming the Wallabies into their dressing room to share a beer and toast the Australian captain Michael Hooper on playing his 100th test.

It was stirring stuff after New Zealand’s outrageous claims that Australia’s teams weren’t good enough to be in the same competitions as the Kiwis, but it was all just smoke and mirrors.

If the intention was to lull the Wallabies into a false sense of security and silence the critics who have called out New Zealand’s snooty actions on and off the field, then it failed miserably.

“We know they’re going to come out firing next week because they’ll be as disappointed as us,” said Wallaby replacement back Reece Hodge.

“Auckland has been a traditional stronghold for them and a bit of a fortress but it’s exciting for us that we have a chance to get our first win there in however many years it’s been.”

Hodge wasn’t born the last time the Wallabies beat New Zealand at Eden Park – the venue for Sunday’s second test because it was way back in 1986.

However, he did play there last year when the All Blacks humiliated Australia 36-0, just seven days after losing to the Wallabies in Perth, so is under no illusions about what to expect after Sunday’s 16-16 stalemate in Wellington.

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“There’s still a lot of disappointment around the camp. We definitely had our chances to win that game,” he said.

“You don’t get over something like that in 24 hours. I think it’s lingering at the start of this week but our job now is obviously to prepare well for Auckland.”

Despite the PR job, all is not well in the All Blacks camp and the blame game is already underway.

The New Zealand public expects the team to win every time so the players are already under pressure and facing intense criticism for showboating against the Australians when the game was on the line.

New Zealand’s decision not to even consider a field goal when the chance arose reeks of arrogance while Rieko Ioane has rightly been lampooned for butchering a certain try on the stroke of halftime when he dropped the ball while trying to plant it down one-handed.

But the new All Blacks coach Ian Foster – who is also under fire after just one match in charge – won’t hear of any criticism, confidently pledging his misfiring team will make amends in the second test.

“It doesn’t put us on the back foot. We’ve drawn the first one and there’s still three to go,” Foster said.

“I guess that turns it into the best of three which makes it nice and simple. We’ve got to win two.”

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