Kirwan: Wallabies could benefit from Bledisloe Cup thrashing

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John Kirwan believes a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand in the opening game of the Rugby Championship could ultimately prove beneficial to Australia.

A distinguished former player and coach for the All Blacks, Kirwan feels significant changes are required in Australian rugby following a tumultuous period that has seen mixed results for the Wallabies and the controversial decision to axe the Western Force from Super Rugby.

Michael Cheika's side will start Saturday's first Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney as underdogs against the world champions, but Kirwan feels a thumping away win could help Australia in the long term.

"In a way I want them to get pumped, because I think Australian rugby needs to hit rock bottom," Kirwan told the Radio Sport Breakfast in New Zealand.

"They need a complete change at board level, at management level. I'm not saying Cheika - I think he should stay in the role.

"They need to recreate Australian rugby and give it a five- to 10-year plan, to get back to where they should be. If they win this week or if they play well, it just might paint over a few of the cracks.

"They are good enough individually to have a good crack, but I think if the All Blacks play well they'll be in trouble."

New Zealand's team was announced on Thursday, with Damian McKenzie selected at full-back and Ben Smith - who is set to take a sabbatical after the second Bledisloe Cup fixture in Dunedin - picked on the right wing.

Kirwan added: "Bringing Damian McKenzie in with the help of what we would say is one of the world's best full-backs, he's going to help him on the wing. For me it's just another really good strategic decision."