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All Blacks think we are no chance: Cheika

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/08/2016 Adrian Warren

Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika speaks to the media during an Australian Wallabies media opportunity. © Brendon Thorne/GETTY IMAGES Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika speaks to the media during an Australian Wallabies media opportunity. The All Blacks don't think the Wallabies can beat them.

That's the message from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika as mind games intensify ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney.

Cheika seized on a sniping remark from All Blacks counterpart Steve Hansen on Monday, using it to underline his team's underdog status as they attempt to end Australia's 13-year Bledisloe Cup drought.

On arrival in Sydney, Hansen was told Cheika had suggested he faced some interesting All Blacks selection decisions and responded by saying Cheika had enough problems of his own to worry about.

"It's pretty cool I suppose because that's what they really think," Cheika said.

"When they say we've got our own problems, that's what they are referring to, the fact that we can't we beat them.

"We know that they think we are no chance to do anything and they are validated. We haven't beaten them for ages in the series, so it's understandable that they would think that.

Cheika said he had worked on building belief among the Wallabies since taking over the job in late 2014, but world champions New Zealand provided the ultimate test.

"We've come off the back I suppose of a fair few years of indifferent performances," Cheika said.

"Over the last 18 months we've been trying to build it (belief) in not just the guys who are starting, but in the bigger group of players.

"You need mental fortitude and there's no better place to test mental fortitude than against New Zealand."

Cheika said he was close to finalising his match 23 for Saturday and stressed his bench would play a vital role.

"The boys have worked a little bit with Mick [Byrne] on their kicking, but just in their standard stuff, the longer clearance kicking or the goal kicking, just so they are striking the ball better.

"I think it will be difficult for us tactically to suddenly make that change into doing more of that, maybe in the longer term."

Winger Drew Mitchell will train fully with the squad this week after recovering from groin surgery.

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