The first and only time the Wallabies stamped early authority on the scoreboard this season was the first and only time they looked anything like the team they are hungry to become.
It was Rosario two weeks ago, their last hit-out in the Rugby Championship. A converted Israel Folau try in the fourth minute and a penalty goal 20 minutes later put Australia 10 points up before Argentina could counter. The Wallabies went on to notch a historic and crucial victory, six more tries and a second penalty goal ending in a stunning 54-17 scoreline that gave the team a badly needed shot in the arm. In Ewen McKenzie's book that is no coincidence.
"If you can get on the scoreboard and get in front that creates pressure," McKenzie said. "We gave ourselves a chance to do that in Wellington, we didn't get the points, but we certainly gave ourselves every chance and we'll go out with a positive mindset and try again."
Stephen Moore's controversially disallowed try in the fifth minute of the second Bledisloe Test is the chance to which he referred.
Christian Lealiifano managed to boot the Wallabies to a 6-0 lead by midway through the first half but the All Blacks busted through, two tries before the break giving New Zealand the leg-up they needed to build a Bledisloe Cup-winning scoreline. Replicating the Rosario start is the Wallabies' priority in Dunedin. Four injury-enforced changes to that starting line-up has made the task more difficult on Saturday, with chief finisher Joe Tomane out and Test rookie Pete Betham starting in his place.
Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua is an able replacement for Lealiifano at No. 12 but the loss of the latter's laser-accurate boot could mean the difference. McKenzie was defiant on Thursday as he unveiled his latest iteration of the Wallabies' best 15, which now includes Ben McCalman at No. 8 and Ben Mowen at blindside breakaway in place of Scott Fardy.
"You're not going to beat them if you don't believe you can," he said. "There's no way, if you create a mental roadblock for yourself, that you're not going to get anywhere. I approach every Test with optimism and people might say it's [being] bullish but you have to be. You have to fancy your chances, you have to think that the work that you put in [will pay off]."
Toomua wore the No. 10 jersey in the first two Bledisloe Tests but this week partners with five-eighth Quade Cooper. Lealiifano's injury has exposed depth issues in the mid-field as well as the back three, but McKenzie backed the Brumbies regular to rise to the occasion.
"[Toomua] has all the attributes to play [No. 12] and we've already made it quite clear that we're playing a first and second five-eighth arrangement," he said.