Why there's more on the line than just the Bledisloe Cup

Saturday's Test at Eden Park in Auckland is just as big as a World Cup final for Australia because they get a chance to win back the Bledisloe Cup.

We are in for one hell of a game. They haven't won here since 1986 while the All Blacks haven't lost at the ground since 1994; all the elements are there for a true trans-Tasman contest.

Australia were nothing short of outstanding in Perth last Saturday. The Wallabies were a team that really played well together, as a unit, and I think as All Blacks, and New Zealanders, we've got to take our hats off and respect the fact we were well and truly beaten.

As for Scott Barrett's red card, we need to look at the All Blacks' ethos of 'no excuses'. You can't come up with excuses and justify it especially when a team performs the way that Australia did.

Personally, I take my hat off to Australia for their performance. It was great to see someone like Christian Lealiifano, and the story of what he has been through; he just went out there, along with halfback Nic White, and directed the play superbly. Lealiifano was brilliant.

Seeing James O'Connor back in a Wallabies jersey, playing to the level that he did, was class.

Compared to previous years, the Wallabies have Lealiifano, White, O'Connor and Samu Kerevi; they are all world-class players, which is what Australia have been lacking.

Another thing, and I've heard a few murmurs, Michael Cheika said that with what has been going on and all the distractions in the background, they've circled the wagons a little bit and they've cut some rot out of the Australian side. Their culture is obviously much better and they looked like a team that wanted to play as a team.

It just goes to show what can happen when you make the appropriate choices.

Barrett's red card was unfortunate. I think he is a fantastic player; he brings physicality to the All Blacks; he brings muscle; he brings what we need up front. But what happened, happened; there was no person in a better position to see everything than referee Jerome Garces was at that time.

If you watch where Garces was, he blew the whistle straight away and didn't wait for a knock-on, he saw something that he thought was a red card. End of story, move on.

As for the All Blacks, they can expect the criticism. I look at recent times and I don't think a lot of these All Blacks have been through what they will be going through right now.

Having been through the wringer myself, I know they have a great opportunity ahead of them this week because they have the chance to bounce back and correct things.

They will now be realising just how brutal the New Zealand public can be. I think they need to just suck that up, listen to it and take out of it what they will. You don't want to absorb too much of it, just enough to use it to help light the fire. I think that is probably the best motivation speech you can get when a country like New Zealand bemoans the loss and calls for heads.

I notice a few ex-All Blacks coaches are calling for heads and what-not. I think what we need to be mindful of when they were talking about ball carriers and the lack of input from the props was that New Zealand had 35 percent of possession, and most of that possession came in the second half. They basically didn't have the ball in the first half.

When we had the ball, a prop was the last person we wanted carrying it and creating anything. Forget ball carries, it starts up front with the physicality. If there's going to be criticism let's criticise not getting on the front foot.

You earn the right to go wide. You need to get forward momentum and that's what the All Blacks need.

The forwards must realise that Saturday night's Test will be won or lost this weekend on their performance. So go out there and do it.

I remember the British & Irish Lions series in 1993, going 1-1 into the third Test match after we were well beaten 20-7 in the second Test in Wellington; it was only my third Test match but I remember hearing the New Zealand crowd putting the knife into us.

There was only ever going to be one result at Eden Park that day. And to say it again, you don't often get a second chance and these All Blacks have got that chance and they have got to make a statement.

If the same result does happen as occurred in Perth then the cries for change might speed the end of careers for some players. The ball is in the All Blacks' court, they have got to prove everyone wrong.

I think that is the best motivation anyone could possibly get. With that in mind I have been impressed with the way Dane Coles and Sam Cane stepped up this week and the comments they made.

With Kieran Read heading offshore after the World Cup, New Zealand are going to need some leaders and these are the sorts of things we want to be hearing from those in the leadership roles.

At the same time, the All Blacks also need to be aware that the Wallabies will be better than they were last week; the Australians will sniff blood and they know they can make history. Confidence can take you a long way, and being Australians they won't be short of it.