undergroundnewsroom.com April 26, 2018

Rugby Championship: Sonny Bill Williams starts for New Zealand against Australia

19 August 2017, 08:18 | Rodolfo Quinn

Brodie Retallick was amongst the big names being put through their paces at the Sydney Oval

Brodie Retallick was amongst the big names being put through their paces at the Sydney Oval

Hansen, of course, was more than happy to take up the baton of talking up these Wallabies and the gruff serial victor pin-pointed three aspects which make them "a unsafe beast": talent, preparation and hunger.

Hansen opened the news conference by brushing off allegations in the Australian media that scrumhalf Aaron Smith had misled team management over a toilet tryst with a woman a year ago.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been looking for a settled midfield partnership since the worldwide retirements of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith after the 2015 World Cup and the Williams-Crotty axis was seen as their potential successors.

It's boom or bust for the Wallabies as the raging underdogs look to snap a five-Test losing streak against the All Blacks to retain any realistic hope of wrestling back the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 15 years.

An increasingly acrimonious rivalry between the All Blacks and Wallabies has become more pronounced ahead of their first test of the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

"I don't know if he confronted me", said Hansen.

The messages came to light after the woman involved approached The Mail Online, after growing frustrated that the true story regarding the airport incident had not been revealed.

That inability to put away the Lions raised doubts whether the All Blacks' era of dominance was on the wane after they were shocked by Ireland 40-29 in Chicago last November.

Investigation re-opened: An independent lawyer is now going to investigate the "toilet tryst" incident involving All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith.

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The Smith controversy has also intruded into the All Blacks' match preparation. "I'm also sorry to my team mates, NZRU and the New Zealand fans".

"I was the villain, I was the skank in this situation", she says.

Last night the team gained some relief in the Spygate saga after their security consultant Adrian Gard was found not guilty of making up claims he found a bugging device at the team's Sydney hotel a year ago.

"We were perhaps tested in areas where we haven't been before, so that's exactly what we wanted", he said.

"There's nothing more that I can add to that but if there is anything else that needs to be spoken about, it will come from the New Zealand Rugby Union themselves".

"The third thing that makes the really unsafe is their desire to try to help Australian rugby and at the moment it has a bit of a cloud over it and they haven't won the Bledisloe in a long time".

Hansen believes that due to only one Australian franchise qualifying for the Super Rugby play-offs and that side going out at the quarter-final stages, the national team had longer to prepare as a result.

"He's in a great space in that he knows he's dealt with this issue and done the things he needed to do around this".

He tearfully apologised back in October for the incident, saying he let down friends, family and partner Teagan Voykovich.

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