James Hanson grapples with a teammate. Matt King - Getty Images
James Hanson grapples with a teammate. Matt King - Getty Images Matt King - Getty Images

Confidence running high in Aussie camp

KEEPING the shackles off in attack will be the key to the Wallabies beating the All Blacks in the opening Bledisloe and Four Nations Test at ANZ Stadium tonight, front-rower James Hanson says.

The Reds prop watched with interest as England suffered narrow losses to the New Zealanders in the first two games of the three-Test series in June.

Then, a fortnight ago, the Waratahs won an epic Super Rugby final against an All Black-laden Crusaders team.

"England pushed the All Blacks by moving away from their stop-start game that we've seen from them in the past and bringing in more of an attacking focus," Hanson told APN.

"Ewen (Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie) is trying to bring in an attacking style too, like he did when he was at the Reds.

"The Tahs played great attacking rugby this year, and that was how they managed to beat four of the New Zealand teams."

With an attacking focus firmly entrenched at the Wallabies, Hanson believes history - the All Blacks have won the Bledisloe Cup over the past 11 years - means nothing.

"It's no secret we want to go hard at the All Blacks, and we can't let them come hard at us," Hanson said.

"I've only played in one Test against the All Blacks and that was a draw (in 2012). I've never lost to them so I'll go into the game without any past baggage."

Hanson said after McKenzie took over the Wallabies coaching job from New Zealander Robbie Deans last year, the players' mindsets changed almost instantly.

No longer is any Australian player scared of taking on this mighty All Black team, which has won an its past 17 Tests - an equal world record.

"It's a confidence thing - we're back playing a style of rugby we enjoy and the Waratahs players in the squad are also high in confidence at the moment," Hanson said.

"Everyone in this camp has proven himself at Super Rugby level."

Hanson said the loss injured veteran loosehead prop Tony Woodcock would be a big blow for the visitors.

"It definitely is, but their depth is their strength - they've got capable players all around the park that can step up," Hanson said.



ANZ Stadium, 8pm