New Zealand coach Steve Hansen believes attitude more then personnel changes will be key in the battle to retain the Bledisloe Cup against Australia.
Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika has produced a surprise by naming Quade Cooper to start at five-eighth for the return Test in Auckland on Saturday night.
Cooper takes the place of Bernard Foley and teams up with new starting halfback Nic White, who starred off the bench in the 27-19 win over the All Blacks in Sydney last weekend.
But Hansen played down the switch in the Wallabies No.10 jersey.
“Does it matter who they play if they turn up with the right attitude?” he said.
“The one thing I do know about Australia in the last wee while is Michael Cheika has deliberately tried to change the attitude and the culture of the team.”
Hansen said the Wallabies should be applauded for that, because he believed it had been one of their handicaps.
“So it’s irrelevant who they bring,” he said.
“It’s what we bring that’s going to be important for us this week.”
Hansen also said Cheika’s decision not to start with two openside specialists as in Sydney, but instead putting David Pocock in the reserves while bringing in Wycliff Palu at No.8, didn’t alter the challenge in the tackled-ball area.
“They have a very good structural process at their breakdown,” he said.
“Their tackler is getting to his feet really quickly and becoming a nuisance. They’ve got people over the ball really quickly. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into it.”
Hansen expected Pocock to come off the bench and operate in tandem with No.7 Michael Hooper at some stage, “so that threat is still there”.
“We have to negate that by being a lot better ourselves right across the park,” he said.
“It’s not a one-man band to try and stop it. You have to do it as a team.”