8 Aug 2011

Henry sends warning to All Blacks rivals

6:26 am on 8 August 2011

The All Blacks coach Graham Henry has highlighted the huge World Cup task facing the wounded Wallabies by warning that New Zealand remain "miles off" their best.

Australia were made to look like second-rate contenders on Saturday night when the world No.1 All Blacks reinforced their tournament favouritism with a 30-14 Bledisloe Cup thumping at their Eden Park fortress.

The Crestfallen Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was severely disappointed with his side's reluctance to follow orders to make progress through the middle first before sniping out wide.

But Deans felt the most experienced All Black team in history played at the peak of their powers and the young Australians would make plenty of improvement for the World Cup starting next month.

Henry, however, scoffed at the view, and at any suggestion his team - victorious in 11 of the past 13 trans-Tasman Tests, was once again peaking too early.

Henry cited three lineout turnovers and three scrum penalties as evidence the New Zealand set pieces failed to give the expected strong platform, and also pointed to a bombed first-half try when winger Sitiveni Sivivatu wasted an overlap with an inside run.

However it's the Wallabies' worrying inability to compete with the All Blacks on New Zealand soil which has the biggest World Cup ramifications.

Fortunately, they are unlikely to meet the tournament hosts until the final on October the 23rd, but would still have to overcome dangerous England at Eden Park in the semi-final to get there.

The Wallabies haven't won in their past 12 matches at the ground, dating back to 1986, and have been unable to string two big Test wins together throughout Deans' four-season tenure.