Wallabies lock welcomes more niggle before third Bledisloe test


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rugby World Cup 2019 – Pool D – Australia v Wales

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto says Australia will be ready for more niggle from the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney on Saturday after the New Zealanders got in their faces at Eden Park.

A fired-up All Blacks side beat Australia 27-7 in the second match in Auckland, with hooker Dane Coles doing his best to ruffle the Wallabies’ feathers on his recall to the starting side.

Coles instigated an early confrontation with Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou at Eden Park and ran out of his way to give Salakaia-Loto a pat on the back after Aaron Smith scored the All Blacks’ first try.

Salakaia-Loto said he liked the niggle and that the Wallabies were well prepared for whatever came their way in Sydney.

“Wherever you play and whoever you play, you’re always going to have players or come across packs who try to get under your skin,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“For us, we’ve faced that all year, especially when we play those derbies in Super Rugby.

“It’s good. It’s a fun part of the game and it’s a part of the game I reckon should be encouraged because you get a few laughs and a few smiles out of it.”

Salakaia-Loto said he was not too close with any of the All Blacks but had shared a beer with Coles after the game.

“It was pretty funny. I’m sure the boys will be looking forward to seeing them,” he added.

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“I just remember Dane Coles running about 50 metres after they scored to pat me on the back. I found that pretty funny.

“I haven’t heard anything too funny (from him). I’m sure he’ll have a few lines up his sleeve this week.”

The Wallabies trail 1-0 in the four-test Bledisloe Cup, the annual series contested between the trans-Tasman nations, after holding the All Blacks 16-16 in the Wellington opener.

Saturday doubles as the first clash in the Rugby Championship, which also includes Argentina.

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