Australia Rugby: Horwill wary of “benchmark” All Blacks

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Australia return to action for first time since their series defeat against British & Irish Lions, and captain James Horwill expects a stern test from All Blacks.

The Wallabies face New Zealand in the Rugby Championship curtain-raiser on Saturday, and Horwill admits the All Blacks are the “benchmark” in international rugby.

However, the Wallabies skipper insists his side can secure the win and in fact believes Australia can go all the way and lift the trophy.

“We’ve got to make sure that whatever we do, we don’t do it half-hearted and go out full bore and make sure we enjoy it, ” said Horwill.

“It’s enjoyable, you get that physical confrontation, the rivalry’s been going for so long and these are the games you want to play.

“You love playing the All Blacks because at the moment they are the benchmark and we need to play as well as possible because we want to get our hands on that trophy.”

Horwill feels it is vital for his side to get former NRL star Israel Folau into the game as much as possible when they face the All Blacks, following his impressive displays against the Lions – particularly in the first Test when he grabbed two tries on his Test debut in a narrow defeat for Australia.

He added: “We need to make sure as a forward pack that we get as much ball to our backs as possible because we’ve got a very dangerous backline that can really do damage when they get clean ball.

“He’s (Israel) a guy you want to get the ball because he makes things happen. He’s got free rein to make sure he gets the ball as much as he wants.”

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