AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Australia coach Ewen McKenzie denies he is "poking a bear with a stick" by challenging New Zealand to play at its best in Saturdays Rugby Championships test at Eden Park. Australia drew confidence from last weekends 12-12 draw with New Zealand in Sydney and McKenzie epitomized their bullish attitude when he baited the All Blacks at a news conference Friday. McKenzie said "its not about poking a bear with a stick. Its a competitive game. We want them to bring their A game because we are going to bring ours." The All Blacks have vowed to produce a much better performance at Auckland as they defend a 20-year unbeaten record on Eden Park. In 2008, Australia won in Sydney but were well beaten in Auckland a week later. "Over the years theres been occasions where a week apart things change a lot," New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said. "Back to 2008, when we got put to the sword in Sydney, there was a fair bit of edge that week." The Wallabies have been unable to win at Eden Park stretching back to 1986, but now believe they have the personnel and the form to break that hoodoo. "We know weve improved a lot from last week, we have been focusing on that," McKenzie said. "We know what we are capable of. We were off the pace at key moments last week, there were key decisions we didnt get right. We expect to do better this week." McKenzies comments are likely to further incite the All Blacks team that felt a significant factor in the Sydney draw was referee Jaco Peyper, who sin-binned two All Blacks, blew 14 penalties against them and prevented them asserting their superiority in scrums. Head coach Steve Hansen said Peyper later admitted making errors, and hoped for a more even performance on Saturday from French referee Roman Poite. McCaw said the All Blacks cannot blame the referee alone, and should recognize other shortcomings. "In the first quarter of an hour we did all right, but we certainly let the Wallaby pack get back into it," he said. "Perhaps they had the edge in the second half, so you can imagine telling the big boys that on Monday, they werent that happy. But its all words, its about putting it into action tomorrow night. Weve got to supply our backs with better ball than we did last week." New Zealand has been forced to make three changes to its lineup for a match in which victory would retain the bi-lateral Bledisloe Cup for the 13th-straight year. "There was plenty of criticism that was warranted last week," Hansen said. "We just didnt play well enough. We have to be honest about that, and if we want to retain the Bledisloe Cup we have to go up 10 or 12 notches and get on with it." Fabian Johnson Jersey
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. The world No. 1 had one of the most dominating performances in a final and was on his way to a possible shutout on Sunday until the third-seeded Berdych broke the super Serbs serve in the 12th game of the match.TORONTO – The absence of Jose Reyes from manager John Gibbons lineup is forcing the skipper to do some less than desirable juggling. The star shortstops injury has been mitigated, somewhat, by the surprising offensive contribution of his replacement, Jonathan Diaz, but the bottom of the order remains subpar in an offence heavy division. Then theres the number two spot in the order, vacated by Melky Cabrera, whos moved into Reyes leadoff role. Colby Rasmus has occupied the bridge to Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion since Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. Hes off to a slow start this season with just two hits in 22 at-bats (.090), striking out at a 40 per cent clip (10 times in 25 plate appearances). The sample sizes are small and the Blue Jays believe Reyes will return on April 16, the day hes eligible to come off the disabled list, or soon after. Still, manager John Gibbons has considered something he did last year for part of the time Reyes was down, bumping up Bautista and Encarnacion in the lineup. "We thought about it," said Gibbons. "Right now we want to kind of split the lefties up as much as possible, as far apart as we can. Colbys had some success in that two-hole in the past. Right now, the way hes swinging its not ideal but, like I said, I think hes close." For his career, Rasmus has struck out in 24.2 per cent of his plate appearances. Thats not an ideal number for a top of the order guy and its why the Blue Jays, when healthy, dont use him there. "Hes going to strike out," said Gibbons. "Thats the kind of player he is. Hes going to have some strikeouts. But I think hes real close." "I dont ever like living with strikeouts," said hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, who says he speaks to Rasmus daily. "I think theres a way to patch things up, patch up holes and get yourself into a position with a mindset and an approach to where it gives you a better chance to barrel it up and not be vulnerable in certain counts, certain pitches, certain locations." It may surprise you to learn Rasmus has played more games batting second, 239 times in his career, than in any other spot in the order. It isnt close, either. Hes hit fifth 138 times, his second-most frequeent spot in the order.dddddddddddd Rasmus former manager, Tony La Russa, often hit him second. Those two are linked for their infamous falling out, although that wasnt related to Rasmus spot in the lineup. Seitzer is working with him on an adjustment related to where Rasmus hands start when the pitcher comes set. Previously, Rasmus had been starting his hands away from his body, effectively out and over the plate. He now starts with his hands closer to his body. "Hes not comfortable with it because its new," said Seitzer. "He hit all winter and all spring and I kind of had to let him go with his thing, getting to know him and getting used to him and then seeing what happens once the season starts. Were working on making adjustments. Hes just got to get himself in good position to give himself the best chance." The hitting coach wants the player to see the adjustment through. "I dont care where guys start their hands as long as they get to their launch position in time, on time, every time. Thats the only chance you have to hit big league pitching," said Seitzer. HAPPS REHAB START J.A. Happ was scheduled to make a rehab start for the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays on Saturday evening, weather permitting. Happ is on the disabled list, back dated to March 26 so hes eligible to return on April 10, with back inflammation thats plagued him since early in spring training. ROSTER MOVE The Blue Jays designated right-hander Jeremy Jeffress for assignment after Friday nights game. The intention was to recall Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo. In fact, the Bisons had issued a press release to that effect. Turns out Jenkins isnt eligible to join the Blue Jays until April 10 because, as a player optioned to the minor leagues, hes required to spend 10 regular season days in the minors. In Jenkins place is Marcus Walden, whose contract was purchased and the player added to the 40-man roster. Walden, a 25-year-old right-hander, was a ninth round selection of the Blue Jays in the 2007 draft. To be clear on the option rule: there is an exception to the 10-day window for players recalled due to injury. Erik Kratz is an example. He was recalled when J.A. Happ was placed on the disabled list. Wholesale Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys China
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