The ruthless All Blacks are promising no respite for the Wallabies when they seek to lock up the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th consecutive year in Wellington on Saturday.
Unbeaten in New Zealand since 2009, the All Blacks are raging favourites to retain trans-Tasman bragging rights with a 15th straight win over the Wallabies on home soil.
But the humble world champions are refusing to count their chickens despite piling on six tries in Saturday night’s 47-29 romp in the opening Bledsloe Cup game in Sydney.
Skipper Richie McCaw says with the margins so fine at the top there can be no room for complacency.
“There’s very, very little between these teams and if you don’t get the prep right and you don’t turn up and put the performances out there, you come second,” he said.
“So if you start thinking that you’re better than you are, you’ll tip up.
“I think that’s the greatest challenge in sport – to back up performance after performance.
“It’s easy when you have a bad one or come second to get that motivation. It’s being able to make sure you do that when you have had a win.
“That’s the way we look at it.”
McCaw had no trouble playing 72 minutes in his first Test back after a nine-month sabbatical and will be looking to go the distance in the return clash at Westpac Stadium.
Coach Steve Hansen said Steven Luatua would continue to deputise for injured flanker Liam Messam, while man-of-the-match Aaron Cruden will look to make the five-eighth position, which injured star Dan Carter once had a mortgage on, his own for the remainder of the Rugby Championship.
In a Carter-esque display, Cruden notched 22 points at ANZ Stadium from a try, four conversions and three penalties, all while controlling the slick All Blacks backline with precision and guile.
Hansen, though, warned the Wallabies that his side would be looking to be even more clinical on Saturday.
“We did a number of things pretty effectively but there’s a lot of stuff we have to get better at,” he said.
“We weren’t overly happy with our set piece and the connection from our set piece to our backs at times wasn’t great either.
“We’ll work hard and see if we can create some more opportunities next week.”
Hansen said it would be foolish to start celebrating.
“It’s one thing to be a winning team, but you’ve got to be humble and keep your feet on the floor because you want to win again next week,” he said.
“The Bledisloe Cup, you have to win twice. So we haven’t done anything yet.
“We’ve only done a small part of the job and until we win two, we don’t own it.”