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McKenzie to make decision on first-five

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SYDNEY - It's an old cliche, but Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will quite literally "pore over" over replays of Australia's series-opening draw with New Zealand before rushing into any changes for the must-win return bout in Auckland.

Even after scoring all Australia's points in the 12-12 stalemate in Sydney on Saturday night, Kurtley Beale was unsure if he'd done enough to retain his spot as five-eighth ahead of NSW Waratahs teammate Bernard Foley.

Foley is considered by many a good judge to have the cooler head to cope as chief playmaker against the might of the All Blacks in the Eden Park pressure-cooker on Saturday than the mercurial Beale, a classic confidence player.

But leaving nothing to chance, the meticulous McKenzie — rugby's equivalent to Melbourne NRL coach Craig Bellamy, who famously slept under his desk in pursuit of the Storm's excellence — won't make any light decisions as his Wallabies fight to keep the trans-Tasman series alive.

He is scheduled to name his team today and on Sunday was refusing to publicly guarantee Beale a start after the recalled No,10, like most others in the slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium, struggled to handle the soap-like ball in attack.

McKenzie insisted he wouldn't be influenced by the "the court of public opinion".

"The more changes you make, the more combinations you put at risk," McKenzie said.

"We've been working for a couple of weeks now and changes we make will be based on the tactical side of it, because the injury side of it looks okay."

"I theorise about selections from the moment the game finishes," McKenzie said on Sunday.

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