I don’t expect, and don’t need, the 51-20 scoreline from last year’s Eden Park bonanza.
What I’d like to see is the All Blacks control the contest. I’d like to see us show that we have the smarts as much as the guts.
The key, I reckon, is to play a squeeze game. Play in their 22. Kick for the corners, and follow it up with aggressive defence to force Aussie mistakes. Drive at the lineout, scrummage like hell, and blow through their ruck. Put an extra man into the contact to deal with Hooper and Pocock. Lots of inside balls so that we keep their loosies tight and their backs unemployed. And kick for the corners.
Take the three points when they’re on offer, and come back for more straight away.
When the backs get the ball from an Aussie kick and have a fifty-fifty offload chance, don’t. Take the contact, retain possession. The forwards have to work hard to get back behind the ball carrier, reload, and take it up the guts. Go direct, not lateral. Carter sits deep in the pocket to kick. For the corners.
All of this is about putting unrelenting pressure on the Aussies’ forwards. Get them going backwards and Quade Cooper’s going to have an uncomfortable night. Maybe he’ll ride it, maybe he won’t. Let’s see.
Patience. Drive, drive and drive some more, and only rarely release the backs. Squeeze in attack and squeeze in defence.