Wallabies will be ready to pull drop goal 'trigger': Nic White

Australia's Nic White
Australia's Nic White

Australia will practise their drop goal plays this week ahead of the second Bledisloe Cup test against New Zealand, having eschewed the chance of a match-winning kick in Wellington, scrumhalf Nic White said on Tuesday.

With the score locked 16-16 late in Sunday's opener, neither side attempted a kick for victory though both had chances deep in attack.

White said the Wallabies would be ready to "pull the trigger" if required at Eden Park on Sunday.

"We actually did work on that before the game last week and we’re pretty comfortable, we spoke about that," White told reporters.

"There's plenty of areas in that game we're a little bit frustrated (about) and that we can grow as a team - and that’s certainly one of them.

"There were a lot of positives about where we ended up but we can also pull the trigger with it.

"Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that but if it does we’ll be prepared and we’ll be ready."

Wellington added another chapter to the Wallabies' history of spurning drop goals against the All Blacks.

In 2014, they missed out on a first win in three years over their trans-Tasman rivals when they drew 12-12 in a Sydney rainstorm, having ignored a drop goal chance offered by an attacking scrum.

That came after an 18-18 draw in Brisbane in 2012 when Kurtley Beale failed to kick at goal from open play in the final minutes.

Even if well-drilled, the Wallabies' winless record at Eden Park since 1986 suggests they might be lucky to be in a position to seal victory with a drop goal.

Michael Cheika's Wallabies were smashed 36-0 there last year, a week after beating the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth.

White said the home side tended to hit back strongly at Eden Park if challenged in a previous match.

"I think the All Blacks will lift to another level," he said.

"There’s going to be a reaction from them ... I think this is a new (Wallabies) group and we’re trying to talk about the reaction we want to get out of the game."

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie could have backline reinforcements to call on for the second Test against the All Blacks, with Dane Haylett-Petty and Jordan Petaia returning to full training, White said.

Petaia could be an option in the midfield after recovering from a hip injury, while Haylett-Petty's recovery from a groin strain may put pressure on Tom Banks, who was starting fullback in the 16-16 draw in Wellington.

"They’re training, yeah, I can tell you that. They’re full training," White told reporters.

Australia emerged from the Wellington cliffhanger with reputation enhanced, having battled hard at the breakdown and shown creativity in attack in Rennie's first game in charge.

White troubled the home side's defence with a number of jinking runs from the ruck but did not expect much space at Eden Park, where the Wallabies are winless since 1986.

"I imagine they are probably going to chock up that area around the breakdown and limit the nine running so it's something we've got to expect," White said.

"We got a little bit of pay out of that on the weekend so I'm not sure that will be there come Auckland.

"But I will take each breakdown on its merits and it certainly won't surprise me if they're going to shoot out of the line and try to take me out of the game."

- Reuters


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