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AllBlacks wary of their "arch-rivals"

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James Mortimer     15 Oct 2012     Getty Images

With The Investec Rugby Championship won, and a comfortable buffer established in the IRB world rankings, the All Blacks have been made a complete mockery of the theory that World Cup winners have 'soft' seasons following on from global success.

However their current record run came after a 25-20 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane, which at the time was the All Blacks second straight loss and had the Webb Ellis hosts enter the seventh quadrennial tournament somewhat mortal, although they managed to win their second World Cup with a 8-7 win over France at Eden Park.

The five point loss to the Wallabies though stung the All Blacks, who remarkably suffered just their third loss in Brisbane over 12 months ago, with New Zealand boasting a remarkable record in Queensland's capital since 1907, winning 14 and drawing two over 19 test matches played at the Exhibition Grounds, the Gabba, and Lang Park/Suncorp Stadium.

Since that defeat the All Blacks have established a three-match winning streak over the Wallabies, winning 20-6 in the Rugby World Cup semi-final, while winning 27-19 in Sydney before putting in a defensive masterclass to shut the Australians out with a 22-0 loss.

Foster said that to Fairfax NZ that recent history and form counted for little against one of the All Blacks greatest foes.

"Australia are an arch rival," he said.

"While there has been a lot said about them this year, they have had a few injuries, they have still come out with a 3-3 record in the Rugby Championship which is not to be sneezed at.

"If you go back to our two games, in both we perhaps missed a lot of opportunities to put points on them. But I think that was largely due to the tenacity of their defence and their attitude. While I think we are probably a little better than those days, their attitude and their desire to play well against us is going to guarantee that this is a very tough game.'

While the Wallabies may be 'down and out' according to some, Foster felt this made them more dangerous.

"The last time the All Blacks lost was there and history is full of times that the Australians have seemingly been down and out and they've shown a massive amount of character and played really well against us under that sort of pressure," he said.

"We are fully aware that a really strong performance from them can certainly change the whole perception of their season. They'd love to have our scalp, so there's plenty to play for."