Lynagh: Lions provided blueprint to beat All Blacks
Michael Lynagh believes the British and Irish Lions provided a blueprint of how to beat New Zealand, but knows Australia will need to cut out the errors to have any chance of overcoming the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship opener.
New Zealand had to settle for a 1-1 draw from their three-Test series with the Lions in June after the spoils were shared in the final Test at Eden Park.
The world champions will nevertheless begin the Rugby Championship - a tournament they have won in four of the last five years - as strong favourites and Australia can expect to face a stiff test at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Asked if the Wallabies can take confidence from seeing the All Blacks suffer a defeat against the Lions, former Australia captain Lynagh told Omnisport: "It's probably given them a bit of a blueprint of what to do. Whether they can do it is another thing.
"As a supporter, I'm not overly confident given the Super Rugby results [for Australian teams]. But when Australia come together and they get those best players together, they're a team that is capable of doing some really good things and I just hope we see them.
"In terms of confidence, I think they've just got the blueprint - there you are, that's what you've gotta do. You've got to stand up to the All Blacks and make your tackles, to start with, put them under pressure. Easy to say, but not many teams do it."
Australia have lost three of their last five Tests and were well beaten in a trio of meetings with the All Blacks in 2016, but Lynagh still feels there is reason to be optimistic.
"You hope that the Wallabies are heading in the right direction," he added. "Results probably don't indicate that that is the case, but when you look at each individual game and moments within that game, the Wallabies have played some really good stuff. I mean, really good rugby. It's just that it's not consistent enough.
"They'd play 10 minutes of good rugby, score a try or two and then have 20 minutes where they just switch off and allow the other team into the game. They've got to cut those out.
"It seems to me that once the Wallabies come together, there are some good, talented players there. It's just that consistency of performance in each game."
Asked if Michael Cheika remained the right man to serve as head coach, Lynagh continued: "I think so. I think he seems to be a guy that drives the players pretty well. It was only two years ago that the team was in a World Cup final. So, there's been a lot of disappointment since then.
"There was some great hope off the back of the World Cup and a great performance there and it just hasn't eventuated. So one hopes that the cycle starts up again and now start that run into the next World Cup, it's two or so years out.
"We've got the players there, it's just a matter of getting them experienced, getting them playing. But also, it's a matter of winning. Winning gives you some great momentum. It's much harder to talk about a loss and say 'we're building, we're building'.
"The All Black model is pretty good - you just keep winning and it builds on itself."