SYDNEY, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Australia need to tighten up their kicking game if they are to keep Caleb Clarke and the other All Blacks outside backs quiet in the third Bledisloe Cup test next weekend, Wallabies prop Scott Sio said on Sunday.
Clarke’s rampaging performance on the left wing in his first test start was one of the major differences between the two sides as Australia crashed to a 27-7 loss in the second test last week following a 16-16 draw in the first.
Avoiding aimless kicks towards Clarke or his back-three partners Beauden and Jordie Barratt was one of Australia’s biggest takeaways from the Eden Park defeat, Sio said.
“Obviously there were many parts of the game there where we need to be better as a team if we want to beat the All Blacks,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Within our kicking game, I don’t think we gave ourselves the best chance to cut space down. They’ve got a pretty electric back three, and if you give them time and space they’re very talented.
“The most important thing we took out of that game was kicking on our terms technically and making sure we’re set early in the defensive line so we can make the right reads.”
Saturday’s test at Sydney’s Olympic stadium, which doubles as the Rugby Championship opener, will be Australia’s first match on home soil since they beat the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth in August 2019.
“We know how passionate our fans are, so to be able to play in front of many people with gold jerseys on is very special to us,” Sio added.
“Just being back at home you can feel the vibe - everyone got a bit of time to see family, partners and kids and it’s created a lot of positivity in and around the group, which is something I think we can put into our week.” (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by William Mallard)
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