Wallabies put target on Clarke

Wallabies wing Filipo Daugunu says he cannot wait for his rematch against his opposite number and All Blacks star Caleb Clarke in the Tri Nations opener on Saturday.

Clarke was a handful for the Wallabies defenders during his first start for the All Blacks in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland two weeks ago. The 21-year-old made a massive 123 metres from eight carries as the All Blacks stormed to a 27-7 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series after the 16-16 draw in the first Test.

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The Wallabies are set to welcome the All Blacks to Sydney on Saturday in the first match of the reworked Tri Nations, which will also serve as the third of four Bledisloe Cup Tests.

Unsurprisingly, the All Blacks have opted to keep their backline unchanged for the third Test, with Clarke set to retain his place on the left wing and win just his third Test cap.

Speaking ahead of the match on Thursday, Daugunu appeared to start the mind games by admitting that the Wallabies are out to ‘smash’ the breakthrough star.

‘We’re looking forward to playing against him again on Saturday,’ Daugunu said.

‘Our aim is to kick to him and contest (the ball) – for him to catch it so we can smash him. Our target for this week was him. I can’t wait to hit him.’

When asked to elaborate whether Clarke will be targeted by the Wallabies, Daugunu simply answered, ‘yes’.

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Wallabies lock Matt Philip, who will also be starting on Saturday, added that it won’t just be Daugunu who will be looking to shut Clarke down.

‘It’s everyone,’ Philip said. ‘He’s obviously a threat with the ball. He did some damage in Auckland and I think it’s a team job to stop him.

‘We defend as a team. It’s not just big ‘Lipo here trying to end him, it’ll be the whole team.’

Photo: MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images