Former World Cup-winning Wallabies halfback Nick Farr-Jones has questioned whether Australia have the mental toughness to upset the All Blacks in Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup dead rubber in Brisbane.
Farr-Jones said Australia could gain the confidence to launch a 2019 World Cup title tilt if they pulled off a drought-breaking win against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.
But, the ex-Wallabies playmaker, who held the World Cup aloft in 1991, admitted he was not convinced Australia had the mental fortitude to finally overcome their all-conquering arch enemy.
“My reservation is do they have the belief and the confidence?,” Farr-Jones said.
“I hear good things coming out of the camp but, until you can eyeball someone and see that they actually believe in that, then you just don’t know.
“I just don’t know if the guys have that mental toughness you have seen in past teams.”
But Farr-Jones believed one match was all that was needed to reverse Australia’s fortunes ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
He cited Australia’s drought-busting 1990 upset over New Zealand in a dead rubber in Wellington as the launching pad to their maiden World Cup success the following year.
Australia triumphed 21-9 in 1990 – their first win in five years over the All Blacks.
It snapped New Zealand’s unbeaten run of 23 Tests.
Farr-Jones believes a similar opportunity awaits the Wallabies on Saturday night.
The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and Australia have not beaten them in more than two years.
“Sometimes, it is that really critical match (that can turn the tide),” Farr-Jones said.
“For me, it was Wellington, 1990. When you get over the line after a lean period against this great team, all of a sudden you form this confidence that you can beat these guys.
“From there (Wellington), through the early ’90s and the last couple of years of my time in the team, we knew we could beat them on any given day.
“Confidence and belief in a team is a critical thing.”
Asked if Australia were a chance on Saturday night, Farr-Jones said: “There’s no doubt there is a possibility.
“My old teammate Anthony Herbert probably summed it up best: we could win by five but they could win by 30.
“And I think that is about right.
“If we can’t put them off their game, which is the key to beating New Zealand, they could (run away with it).”