Lote Tuqiri says Australia measure themselves against the Springboks not the All Blacks.
Tuqiri believes that Australia are no longer intimidated by New Zealand and feels that the Springboks are now the premier side in world rugby.
After failure at the World Cup and the recent defeat to South Africa in Dunedin many former Wallaby greats and some of the current stars voiced their opinions on the state of All Black rugby.
The Waratahs’ speedster now joins the list of Australians who believe New Zealand are beginning to lose their reputation as the worlds best.
“In the past we may have been beaten almost before we’ve run on. We have moved on from there and with Robbie [Deans] as coach it’s certainly instilling a lot of confidence in the squad,” Tuqiri told The Daily Telegraph.
“I actually think the South Africans are the benchmark team coming into the Tri-Nations. We beat them last week. That’s good for us, but the All Blacks are always up there, I suppose.”
After last week’s victory over the Boks, Australia believe they are perfectly placed to win the Tri-Nations crown this year.
“In the past we have relied on one or two guys standing up and that’s why we haven’t got there. Now, collectively, there’s a belief we can really do something in this Tri-Nations competition,” said Tuqiri.
“All the Tri-Nations games will be close and [Australia's performance] will be built on the strength of the team rather than the individual.”