White helps to sink All Blacks
By Melissa Woods
Recalled Wallabies half-back Nic White knows all too well how seven days in rugby can turn into four long years.
History is repeating itself for White but this time he's determined to ensure there's a better ending.
Back in the last World Cup year – 2015 – the Wallabies won game one of the Bledisloe Cup series in Sydney, just as they did in Perth on Saturday night.
White helped seal that 27-19 victory over the All Blacks when he came off the bench and landed a booming penalty goal and then scoring the match-winning try.
Seven days later at Auckland's Eden Park, New Zealand responded with an emphatic 41-13 scoreline for the Bledisloe to remain in Kiwi hands, where it has been since 2003.
White didn't play well in that match and subsequently went from match-winning hero to missing out on the 2015 World Cup squad.
He took his career to France with Montpellier then Englandand the Exeter Chiefs, where he played until this year's return at Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's urging.
White insists the heartbreak of his last Auckland Test and World Cup omission hasn't been fuelling his rugby. Despite that, in Perth he played like a man on mission as he helped ensure the Wallabies can claim the Bledisloe Cup with victory or a draw at Eden Park on Saturday ahead of this year's World Cup.
Chosen ahead of regular starter Will Genia, he mixed up his game with numerous sniping runs and clever passing to keep the All Backs guessing and also picked up a try to earn best-on-ground honours.
"That's four years ago now – I've played a lot of rugby and it's a completely different time, different group and we're trying to build some momentum here, some belief," White said. "We've got an opportunity now to go over there and that's all it is at the moment, an opportunity, and we'll work hard this week to hopefully take that."
White said Eden Park brought out the best in the All Blacks so despite Saturday's six-try performance, the Wallabies would have to improve to claim their first win there since "We're coming up against a bit of a beast over there in Eden Park, a place where we haven't won in a long time, and going for a trophy we haven't won in a long time," he said.
"So four years ago, we'll remember that – we won that game in Sydney and then went over there and got pumped. You'll have to ask them why they go up to another level over there but it will go up another level so we'll have belief in what we can do, but it's going to be one for the ages when we get the result."