David Pocock rates the 2016 All Blacks an incredible side and isn’t surprised they’ve kicked on despite the retirement of so many stars following last year’s World Cup.
The Wallabies’ back-row champion was full of admiration for the All Blacks on Tuesday while emphasising his team had much to do after being drubbed 42-8 by New Zealand on Saturday night in Sydney.
They must win in Wellington this Saturday to retain any hope of prising back the Bledisloe Cup which New Zealand have had an unbreakable hold on since 2003.
New Zealand have won 41 straight home Tests against all comers and haven’t been vanquished by a visiting side since 2009.
The loss of six of their seven most-capped players following their 2015 World Cup triumph hasn’t diminished what seems to be the All Blacks’ insatiable hunger for success.
“It’s an incredible side,” Pocock said.
“You look at guys like Beauden Barrett and the depth that they have in fly-half, halfback, across the field really, New Zealand is in a really strong position in terms of their depth and you see that with their Super Rugby teams.
“There’s no surprises that they’ve kicked on from last year on the back of the World Cup.”
Asked to nominate which areas Australia needed to work on most this week, Pocock said “plenty”.
“When you watch the game, there’s a lot of areas to improve – there’s certainly a lot of work to do.
“A lot of their players are in great form, through their forward pack right through the backline.
“A lot of threats and then we know, going over to New Zealand, I don’t think they have lost a game for 41 games over there, so we know how big the challenge is.”
The Wallabies were clearly outpointed in the breakdown battle in Sydney and Pocock was full of praise for the All Blacks’ back row.
“They are a great back row, really well balanced and really confident in each other, so we’ve got a lot to work on there,” Pocock said.