Former Wallaby Stirling Mortlock concedes that New Zealand are on a level of their own, making for some tough comparisons.
Former Wallaby centre Stirling Mortlock concedes that New Zealand are on a level of their own, making for some tough comparisons.
The All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday after recording a 27-16 victory over Australia in Wellington, backing up their 47-29 win the previous week. Steve Hansen's men have suffered just one defeat since lifting the World Cup trophy in 2011 and look near unbeatable at times.
“The reality is the New Zealand team right now are essentially a machine,” Mortlock told Reuters.
“They're full of confidence, they know exactly what they're doing both on an individual and collective level and they're accuracy and execution when opportunities arise is fantastic.
“It seems as though, since winning the World Cup in 2011, this All Blacks outfit has just gone up another gear, which you'd almost argue you didn't think that they were capable of doing. But that seems to be the case.”
In contrast Australia are at the beginning of a rebuilding phase following the exit of Robbie Deans, with new coach Ewen McKenzie looking to mold a team of his own.
Coming up against the All Blacks so early in his tenure has given McKenzie an early insight into the perils of coaching at Test level and while his team has suffered back-to-back defeats, Mortlock believes he should not yet lose faith in the current crop of players.
“I guess (the All Blacks) are a fairly tough yardstick to measure the Wallabies against,” Mortlock admitted.
“There's a lot of positive things the Wallabies have been doing over the last two test matches but to do that consistently and to be able to finish your opportunities off when you have a sniff, that takes a bit of time to get that right.
“There's probably a few changes that they'd be looking into but the reality is the bulk of that squad has a lot of fresh faces who deserve that opportunity and I really hope that they'll continue to work in that environment and continue to improve.”