Tuqiri calls a cracker

Australia wing Lote Tuqiri says the Tri-Nations decider won’t be a dour forward-orientated affair.

The teams meet in Brisbane on Saturday, with the winner being crowned tournament champions. Finals rugby is usually characterised by two conservative teams who play the percentages for fear of a costly error. However, Tuqiri predicted that this Test would buck that trend.

“The Kiwis are bound to come out pumped up and I’m tipping it’s going to be one of the best games of the year in terms of entertainment,” he wrote in his column in the Sunday Telegraph. “The All Blacks are not shy about giving the ball some air and neither are we, so everything points towards a high-quality spectacle.”

Tuqiri said they had moved past the pain of the 53-8 defeat to the Springboks a fortnight ago and were hoping to rebound in Brisbane.

“I questioned whether I was worthy of wearing the Australian jersey,” Tuqiri said. “On the positive side, we have a shot at redemption against the All Blacks.

“This is shaping up as the biggest game of the year for us and we need to prove we’re capable of bouncing back as a group after a heavy loss. We’ve got a great record in Brisbane and we’re playing for the Tri-Nations title and to stay alive in the Bledisloe Cup, so motivation is certainly not going to be a problem.

“It’s times like these that you’re glad there’s another game to get excited about, so you can stay optimistic about righting the ship and burying a bad result.

“For the Wallabies, we need to keep believing in what we’re doing despite one poor performance in South Africa. We need to put more consistency and fluency into our performances before we truly announce ourselves as being back among the big boys of world rugby.

“We’re not too far off, and personally I’m very psyched up about the challenges that lie ahead.”