Wallabies youngster Filipo Daugunu was more than happy to tell reporters how the Australians plan to deal with All Blacks star Caleb Clarke when Bledisloe 3 kicks off on Saturday night.
Clarke tore the Wallabies’ defence to shreds in a huge debut performance in New Zealand’s 27-7 win in Bledisloe II.
The debutant ran for a game-high 123 metres along with two try assists has he terrorised Australia in a memorable display.
But Clarke’s dominant showing hasn’t spooked Daugunu according to some of the comments he made to reporters on Thursday.
“Our aim is to kick to him and contest; for him to catch so we can smash him … I can’t wait to hit him,” he said with a wry smile on his face.
Daugunu was the man who faced off with the impressive Kiwi and by the sounds of things he took the loss at Eden Park personally. He identified Clarke’s left foot as the one asset the Australians need to take away.
“He usually does a left foot step and we are working on that this week,” Daugunu added. “I’m looking forward to playing against him, again, on Saturday.”
While the winger believes it’s his job to minimise Clarke’s impact, Lock Matt Philip declared it will be a team effort.
“He’s obviously a threat with the ball and he did some damage in Auckland. It’s a team job to stop that,” Philip said.
“We’re defending as a team so it’s not just big Lipo here trying to end him. It’ll be the whole team.”
Daugunu’s words sparked a fierce reaction from the New Zealand media, especially since Clarke doesn’t seem like the kind of player you want to provoke.
NZ rugby writer Phil Gifford called out the Australian for the way he responded to questions about the All Blacks star in a piece in the New Zealand Herald.
“They call it trash talk because it is garbage,” he wrote.
“Daugunu is a very good player. He may be a good man. But someone who cares for him should quietly tell him that macho posturing before a game just makes him sound like a d**k.”
The Wallabies have had to make several changes to their line up for tonight’s clash with the side looking drastically different to the team that lined up in game II.
Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone will make historic debuts as the first 10-12 combination to play alongside one another since 1985.
The duo replace the experienced James O’Connor and Matt To’omua in the line up.