Rugby World Cup: All Blacks take no pleasure in Wallabies' failings as Australia stares at early exit

As the fallout of the Wallabies' disastrous World Cup campaign rolls on, the All Blacks are taking no joy in their trans-Tasman rivals' demise.

Ian Foster's side have their own must-win pool match to prepare for, but they've reinforced the importance of rugby across the Tasman remaining strong, in order to keep the game on the up.

Back at their home away from home, the All Blacks are soaking up the comforts of a return to Lyon. But it's the drama that unfolded 20km across town on Monday they're desperate to avoid.

The Wallabies are on the brink of being sent packing from the World Cup in pool play, after losses to Fiji and Wales.

Australia will likely exit the World Cup in the pool stage for the first time.
Australia will likely exit the World Cup in the pool stage for the first time. Photo credit: Getty Images

"The fact that it's real for them, our close neighbours, [I'm] feeling for them," said All Blacks defence coach Scott McLeod.

But the Wallabies' demise is far more serious than just needing sympathy.

Australia and New Zealand are tied to each other, through Super Rugby and at international level, and the Wallabies' woes aren't good for the game in New Zealand. 

"We're in the same competition as them," McLeod continued. "We need their level to be very high.

"We want to push each other so we can get ready for test matches during the year, so we definitely need their standard high."

The All Blacks' sole focus this week is their own must-win match. A slip-up against Italy on Saturday would have them in the same boat as the Wallabies, and staring at unwanted history of their own.

While the All Blacks have never lost to Italy, there's no denying the Azzurri's rise over the last year.

"They've come a pretty good way," said loose forward Dalton Papali'i. "They always were good but now they're a team where you have to put your best foot forward."

"They had the fastest ball available in the Six Nations," added McLeod. "That's better than Ireland."

The way things are going, they're likely to get a taste of both. Assuming the All Blacks' Italian job goes off without a hitch, waiting for them in the quarter-finals is almost certain to be Ireland.

Not that McLeod was keen on entertaining the idea of that just yet.

"I have rats and possums on my property and that's a trap right there," he joked. "Italy are a very good side and if we look too far ahead or start thinking about others, we'll come undone."

A quick look at the Wallabies campaign will show them just how easily that can happen.