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All Blacks paid for their slow start : McCaw

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Article Published: Sunday 28 August 2011

The All Blacks were shown the importance of a strong start and switched-on mental approach by the Wallabies in the Tri-Nations decider just weeks before the World Cup, captain Richie McCaw said.

Australia got the early jump on the World Cup favourites, surging to a 20-3 half-time lead and fighting off New Zealand's second half comeback to win Saturday's Test 25-20 and take their first Tri-Nations crown in a decade.

McCaw bemoaned his team's slow start in Brisbane and declared it a valuable lesson for the All Blacks with the World Cup kicking off on home soil on September 9.

"We were beaten to the punch in the first 20 minutes. We struggled to get our game going and they had more momentum and intensity than us," McCaw told reporters after Saturday's game.

"We managed to turn that around but it was pretty disappointing to have started like that to come from behind.

"It's going to be a good wee lesson. The two games (this season) against the Wallabies have showed that there is very little between the teams and it's how you turn up, your mental state and how you play yourself."

The All Blacks were unrecognisable in the second half from their sloppy opening 40 minutes where they were guilty of numerous handling mistakes and missed tackles.

The Kiwis regrouped at half-time and came out far more disciplined and composed, drawing level at 20-20 midway through the half only for the Wallabies to score the clinching try through Kurtley Beale.

"We were talking about it during half-time to sort it out but we would have liked to turn it around after two minutes when we realised we were on the receiving end, but it didn't happen like that," McCaw said.

"We've got to make sure we are on the job right from the word go.

"If you think you're going to carry on where you left off last time without having applied yourself mentally and do the little things then you'll come unstuck."

Coach Graham Henry said any complacency within the All Black camp had been blown away by the Wallabies' performance.

"Some guys would have been disappointed in how they played," he said.

"They didn't play as well as they normally play and they didn't play to the standard they did to get into this side.

"There are 30 guys in the squad and they are all competing for positions and hopefully that will continue right through the (World Cup) tournament.

"In this side they are a lot of players who are pretty even, so some people will be disappointed that they didn't take advantage of the opportunity tonight.

"It's the way you turn up in each game and hopefully if there was any complacency in this group it's well gone now and that will be advantage going forward."

Rugby Championship Standings
Nation Games Points    
1. Australia 3 3 0 0 85 48 37 1 13
2. New Zealand 3 2 1 0 85 65 20 1 9
3. Argentina 3 1 2 0 64 98 -34 1 5
4. South Africa 3 0 3 0 65 88 -23 2 2
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