SYDNEY (Reuters) - Not securing the Bledisloe Cup before leaving New Zealand rankles with the All Blacks, fullback Beauden Barrett said on Tuesday, but it does offer the twice World Player of the Year the opportunity of breaking new ground in Australia.
The 29-year-old has won the Rugby World Cup, six Rugby Championships and seven Bledisloe Cups over his 84-test career but has never before secured the trophy that symbolises trans Tasman Sea rugby supremacy on Australian soil.
Barrett missed the first of this year’s four Bledisloe Cup tests -- a 16-16 draw in Wellington -- but returned with a sparkling display in Auckland as the All Blacks took a 1-0 series lead with a 27-7 victory nine days ago.
The All Blacks play two more tests against the improving Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday and Brisbane the following week as part of the Rugby Championship.
“Yes, of course it bothers us,” Barrett said of failing to sweep the home tests.
“But we can’t be too arrogant and assume we’re going to win every game at home. We do respect Australia and we are up for the challenge that is presented this weekend.
“We haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup on their soil for a long time and we’ve got the opportunity to do that ... we’re pretty excited about that challenge.”
The All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 17th straight season last year despite a 47-26 thrashing at the hands of the Wallabies in the series opener in Perth after Barrett’s brother Scott was sent off.
“It’s important to remember how you felt in the changing rooms or in the game during those moments and use that as fuel,” Barrett told reporters from the team’s camp in Sydney.
“It was a reality check ... and essentially we don’t want it to happen again. That one just really showed their strengths when everything goes to plan and we don’t front up physically and emotionally.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Shri Navaratnam
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