Australia coach Ewen McKenzie aiming to complete first Grand Slam tour since 1984
Last Updated: October 25, 2013 10:07am
Ewen McKenzie: Wants five wins on Grand Slam tour
Coach Ewen McKenzie and his squad set off from Australia for their Grand Slam tour of Europe on Friday relieved that they will not be facing New Zealand or South Africa.
The Wallabies suffered three heavy defeats to the All Blacks and two to the Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
They last won consecutive matches when they beat Italy and Wales to end last year's tour. This autumn they are undertaking a 'Grand Slam tour' - their first since 1984 - facing England, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and McKenzie wants five wins.
McKenzie said: "Obviously, we've played the All Blacks and South Africa a bunch of times and I think we're looking forward to the challenge of playing five different teams, five different types of football," he said as the Aussies boarded their plane at Sydney airport.
"The last couple of weeks, there's a feeling there's a real momentum starting to build, I think the players are starting to feel that."
"The last couple of weeks, there's a feeling there's a real momentum starting to build, I think the players are starting to feel that.
"There's a lot of positive things going on behind the scenes and this tour will be a great opportunity for us to work hard and get some results.
"We're out there to win and obviously build some consistency, winning one game here and there is not enough, we want to be able to win consistently."
McKenzie takes encouragement from the three tries they scored in the 41-33 defeat to New Zealand last weekend.
"There's been encouragement in all of the games, but ultimately you can only talk about the scoreboards," McKenzie added. "The scoreboards haven't been kind to us. In the end, we've got to tie up a few things and this will be a good chance to do that."
The tour starts with the match against England at Twickenham and Australia won the corresponding fixture last year.
"It's a great one, I have great memories from last year," said openside flanker Michael Hooper, who was Man of the Match in last year's encounter and won the John Eales Medal as Australia's outstanding player of the year on Thursday.
"We're starting to put things together, our backs are starting to fire and we've come out with some good results on the back of not our best performances. I think we can do a lot better."
After two wins and five defeats in his first seven matches in charge, a first Grand Slam tour since Mark Ella inspired the 1984 Wallabies to the feat looks unlikely.
McKenzie said his target is: "Five wins, confidence. We want to keep expressing ourselves as a team, I think the guys are really enjoying the spirit we're trying to play with," McKenzie said.
"We've just got to tidy up bits and pieces, that's narrowing down, we've got a lot of specific things we can work on in training so if we can use to focus on that, that'll be a good base for next year."