Rugby World Cup 2019: Former Wallabies skipper Phil Waugh predicts All Blacks downfall

The All Blacks are vulnerable and the Wallabies will capitalise in Perth on Saturday.

That's the opinion of former Australian skipper Phil Waugh, who has questioned New Zealand's status as the world's top rugby side.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Waugh has predicted a Wallabies sweep of the upcoming two-match Bledisloe Cup series.

The 39-year-old believes the All Blacks have been mediocre in their opening two Rugby Championship tests - a four-point win over Argentina and an unconvincing draw against South Africa a fortnight ago. 

"Coming off that draw, they should have beaten the Springboks,"Waugh said. "They should have closed out that game." 

Waugh cites recent losses to the Springboks in Wellington last year and to Ireland in Dublin a few months later as evidence Steve Hansen's side are in decline. 

The former tearaway flanker claims the last time New Zealand produced an 80-minute performance was against Australia in Sydney 12 months ago. 

Waugh says the rest of the rugby world has caught up and Saturday night's match would prove his point, labelling the All Blacks "very beatable".

"We go over to Perth and have a good win in Perth, and then we go to Eden Park and you beat the All Blacks for the first time since 1986," Waugh told Fox Sports. 

"I know I'm sounding really optimistic here, but things turn around very quickly.

"You lose [Brodie] Retallick, who's probably their most dominant forward. They've put Richie Mo'unga in at 10, Beauden Barrett's gone back to 15, so you actually go, 'well, all of a sudden, there's a few different combinations there for the All Blacks, too'. 

"They haven't got the settled look, without Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith."

Waugh also predicts a failed World Cup campaign for the All Blacks, citing the halfback/first-five combination as a potential downfall.

Coach Hansen and his selectors have tinkered with their key playmaking roles so far this year, which Waugh says is an indication he doesn't know what his best combination is. 

"If you go through World Cup history, to win, your nine and 10 really need to click, and you go right back to 1987, when it was [David] Kirk and Grant Fox.

Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett.
Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett. Photo credit: Photosport

"You need to have a really good combination at nine and 10, and that's probably a little undecided at the moment."

The Wallabies haven't held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, winning only eight of 47 tests played between the trans-Tasman rivals in 17 years. 


Join us for live updates of the All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe Cup clash from 9:30pm Saturday.