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Sharpe questions emotional Aussies

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Sportal.co.nz     20 Oct 2012     Getty Images

An extensive injury list and the strength of the world's best team, New Zealand, means that Australia is the clear underdog for Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane.

Yet the feeling remains that if any team is capable of climbing up off the canvas and pulling off a massive upset to break the All Blacks' run of 16 consecutive wins, it is the wounded Wallabies.

"We like a challenge. It probably fits the Australian psyche a little bit," Sharpe told reporters on Friday morning.

"When (our) backs are to the wall the guys like to show their character.

"That's a strength and a weakness, and something we've got to get away from in Australian rugby.

"You can't rely on the emotional side of things to get you up each week. It doesn't allow you to build consistency in your performance.

"To be consistent you've got to be able to prepare the same way and perform with minimal degrees of difference in your performance."

Coach Robbie Deans accepted that emotion is part of professional sport. But that does not mean playing with 'heart' is a quality exclusive to Australia.

"It's easy to respond when you're under the pump. The key is being more than that," Deans said.

"That's what the Kiwis have mastered in many ways, hence they've retained their number one status for some time.

"Nothing we bring will be of any surprise to them this weekend."

Saturday night will mark the retiring Sharpe's last appearance in a gold jersey on Australian soil, with a capacity Suncorp Stadium crowd expected to spur him and the team on.

Deans admitted the celebration of such milestones can often serve as a distraction.

"It's a bit like the haka for the All Blacks. It's emotive. But they manage their emotions," he said.

"They use it to their advantage very well. It can be emotive when you're meeting the haka, but the key is to recognise it is what happens before the main event happens.

"All of those skills are an essential part of doing well in the game."

However, both captain and coach are adamant that Australia has done their homework on the All Blacks.

Having a plan, putting it into practice and executing it to perfection is what will win this game for the Wallabies - not just emotion, according to Sharpe.

"We'll have to play the best game we've played this year (to beat them) - and by a way as well," he said.

"We're aware of that and we've had a great week of preparation.

"It'd be close to the best preparation we've had in a long time, that I can remember.

"If we can translate that into a performance on the field tomorrow night we'll give ourselves a shot."