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Sport

'Not good enough', All Blacks look to make things right in Auckland

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith gave a scathing assessment of his performance in last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup test as New Zealand continued to pick at the scabs of the 16-16 draw with Australia on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - All Blacks training - Sydney, Australia - August 17, 2017 - New Zealand's All Blacks rugby union half back Aaron Smith passes the ball during a training session before the first Bledisloe Cup game against Australia's Wallabies. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

Smith was not alone in offering his analysis of what went wrong for the three-times world champions, with the local media offering another ream of copy on where Ian Foster’s side fell short and how it could be fixed.

Few were as harsh on Smith as the 93-test halfback himself, however, especially when he compared his display in Wellington with that of his opposite number, Australia’s Nic White.

“My own standard wasn’t up to it,” he told reporters after landing in Auckland for Sunday’s second test.

“My passing was erratic, inaccurate and really set us up. It gave them shots at (flyhalf) Richie Mo’unga, it didn’t give our forwards opportunities to run on to the ball ... things I take pride in I need to sharpen up.

“Nic White had a field day. He was able to attack our (defence), he set up a couple of tries, he kicked well. Having that impact on a game is something I like to do.

“I just want to always keep pushing myself to another level of my performance and it wasn’t good enough at the weekend.”

That the Wallabies can expect a backlash on Sunday is a given, especially as the match takes place at Eden Park where the All Blacks have not been beaten for 26 years and last lost to Australia in 1986.

Hooker Dane Coles, who came off the bench in Wellington, said the pack also had plenty to prove in front of a crowd expected to number in excess of 47,000.

“When you see clips with their intent and smashing guys at the ruck and us just parking up and having a holiday ... that’s personal pride stuff,” he said.

“The beauty of rugby is we’ve got a chance to fix that and make it right.”

Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford

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