All Blacks will be cheering for Wallabies this weekend

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NZPA     14 Jul 2008     Getty Images

The reason is purely selfish.

The Wallabies, coached by New Zealander Deans, open their campaign against the buoyant Boks, who were gutsy 30-28 winners over the All Blacks at Dunedin on Saturday, reversing the result from Wellington a week earlier.

All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said away victories were like gold in the Philips Tri Nations so was anxious that the Springboks don't snare another one before playing their last three games at home.

"If South Africa win in Perth, that gives them a big advant age," Hansen said.

"Australia are going to be tough to beat, it's going to be too close to call.

"Hopefully Australia win it, that makes life easier for us."

Just two Tests into the nine-Test tournament, Hansen said it was very difficult to pick a winner.

He acknowledged the stakes had risen following their bonus point loss at Carisbrook.

"We're now going to have to win at least one game away from home," he said.

"A lot of people have talked about the Tri Nations saying: `oh, here we go again, boring stuff' but you've got the three best sides in the world playing in this one tournament.

"It's tough footy and there's not much between us."

Fullback Mils Muliaina agreed the tournament would be tighter than the past two seasons, when the All Blacks have emerged comfortable winners.

Coach Graham Henry is trying to get his new-look team up to speed and the Tests against the Wallabies in Sydney on July 26 and in Auckland a week later which will throw up different challenges to the physical Springboks.

"Every game is going to be very crucial. They're pretty even, the three sides," Henry said, highlighting the potential value of their bonus point for a close loss.

"That may be significant at the end, who knows?

"If our guys can build on what they did in the second half, we're going to be a pretty competitive side in this competition."