July 5, 2017 / 5:09 AM / 2 months ago

Wallabies skipper Moore welcomes extra fitness work

(Reuters) - Captain Stephen Moore has welcomed the Wallabies plan to get Australia's players fit enough for test rugby ahead of crunch matches against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.

Moore had expressed his frustration with the fitness levels of his colleagues after Australia laboured to a 40-27 win over Italy in Brisbane last month, fading badly in the second half before grabbing two late tries to stave off a shock defeat.

Wallabies coaches have contacted Super Rugby franchises to ensure those in contention to face world champions New Zealand on August 19 are in prime condition.

"We didn't want to be in that situation where we did have to top players up at this stage of the year, but we are," hooker Moore told reporters.

"We just have to work as hard as we can now to make sure we're as well prepared as we can be for that first test match."

None of Australia's five Super Rugby teams have beaten New Zealand opponents this season with two more weeks of matches plus the playoffs still remaining.

After easing past Fiji in Melbourne in the first of three June internationals, Australia suffered a surprise 24-19 loss to Scotland in Sydney before the huge scare against Italy at Lang Park.

"I think there was a recognition the loadings weren't where they needed to be going into that June series so that's the cold, hard facts of it," Moore added.

"If you look at the big picture, you'd probably like to work that stuff in earlier in the season and I know there's some discussions to make sure that happens.

"All I know is there's a plan, now, right up until the first game. There's going to be some camps and extra work to make sure that we're as best prepared as we can."

Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien

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