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Prospects good, says McKenzie

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Friday, July 25, 2014

SYDNEY - Ewen McKenzie says an Australian side winning the Super Rugby crown would be "as good as it gets" for the Wallabies' Bledisloe Cup prospects.

The NSW Waratahs and Brumbies go head to head in a blockbuster semi-final at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, with the winner likely to take on New Zealand superpowers the Crusaders in the August 2 championship decider.

The Wallabies tackle the All Blacks two weeks later in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

"Form and confidence, they're good attributes to have," McKenzie said after announcing his 32-man Rugby Championship squad on Wednesday.

"If you're out there beating your opponents and winning consistently and that's what these teams have been doing and the Wallabies have been doing the same thing.

"That's a good thing. That's as good a scenario as you can take into a Bledisloe Cup contest."

McKenzie, though, isn't counting his chickens on either front.

In 2011, he coached the Queensland Reds to Super Rugby final glory over the Crusaders before the Wallabies, under Robbie Deans, beat the All Blacks to clinch the Tri Nations title, only to succumb to the Kiwis yet again at the Rugby World Cup.

"Talk's cheap in the end. It's really about action," McKenzie said.

"We're seeing good action at the moment. We've got some very competitive players out there who are doing good things week in, week out.

"You've got to get your tactics and selections right, but we've got the right ingredients to put on a pretty good show in the Bledisloe."

While the signs are promising, the Bledisloe opener on August 16 at ANZ Stadium is still more than three weeks away and McKenzie challenged his potential charges be they Waratahs, Brumbies or otherwise to maintain the rage until then.

"Ultimately for the Wallabies to do well, we need fit players who are raring to go and who are playing to the peak of their powers," he said.

"That's what it's about. You want to be picking players at their best.

"They need to be playing like Wallabies and I always say that to players. Even when they're playing club rugby, they've got to play like Wallabies.

"Once you're a Wallaby, you're always a Wallaby. You can't vary your standards."


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