Wallabies halfback Will Genia reckons it won’t be long before Australia are able to match the might of the All Blacks – but only if they develop a stronger mindset.
Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry sparked controversy on Saturday when he labelled the current Wallabies team the worst Australian outfit he’s ever seen.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was under the pump last month following six straight losses, but the team have since rebounded with wins over South Africa and Argentina.
The All Blacks remain the best team in world rugby – and by a huge margin.
The reigning world champions showcased their dominance in this year’s Rugby Championship, securing the title with two rounds remaining.
It’s left Australia, South Africa, and Argentina to fight for second spot.
The Wallabies have beaten NZ just three times from 28 matches since 2008.
In this year’s Rugby Championship, the Wallabies were thumped by their arch rivals 42-8 in Sydney, before losing 29-9 in Wellington.
The Wallabies will get another chance to test themselves against the All Blacks when they face off in Auckland on October 22.
Genia said the Wallabies remained firm in their desire to become as good as the All Blacks, but he conceded they would need a shift in mindset to achieve that goal.
“A lot of the times you go into those games thinking or knowing it’s going to be hard, or thinking about recent history,” Genia said.
“It’s something where you have to forget all that stuff, come in, trust the work you’ve done, go out there, and not let the anxiety take over.
“It’s about building mental toughness and resilience.
“If you can do that, you give yourself more of a shot against them, because they’re a side that the moment you drop your guard or you make a mistake, they capitalise on it.”
Before confronting the All Blacks again, the Wallabies face tough away assignments against the Springboks in Pretoria, and Argentina in London.
Genia starred in last Saturday’s 36-20 win over Argentina in Perth, scoring two tries in a man-of-the-match performance.
“My wife has been giving it to me, because the last time I scored a try for the Wallabies was in 2013,” Genia said with a smile.
“I messaged her straight after the game and said, ‘Yeah, there’s two there for you’.”
Genia’s career was put on hold earlier this year while he dealt with a troublesome knee injury.
Some experts told Genia he would require major surgery.
Instead, he underwent a minor procedure and then rested for several months to let it heal.
The 28-year-old said the time away from the game helped rekindle his hunger.
And playing alongside former Reds teammate Quade Cooper in the Wallabies’ set-up has been another big bonus for Genia during the Rugby Championship.
“He’s probably one of my favourite players to play with,” Genia said.