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Wallabies to follow Lions and put All Blacks 'under pressure'

© AFP/File | Australian Wallabies' head coach Michael Cheika oversees a training session in Saint-Denis, near Paris, in November 2016

SYDNEY (AFP) - 

Coach Michael Cheika says he intends to follow the British and Irish Lions' lead and put the All Blacks under pressure to conjure a huge upset in next weekend's Rugby Championship opener.

Pundits rank the Wallabies' task as a mission impossible against the world champions in the first of three Bledisloe Cup Tests in Sydney on Saturday.

Cheika wants his Wallabies to apply pressure to the All Blacks as the Lions did in their recent closely-fought drawn series in New Zealand with swarming defence.

"I am not saying it is going to be easy," Cheika said in a television interview on Sunday.

"But at the same time I believe that, with the right preparation, we've still got a week to go, getting the guys in the right mindset.

"The target needs to be to put New Zealand under pressure, not necessarily to go out there and win.

"Then we will see what happens from there, we'll see if we can take the pickings."

Australian rugby is in the midst of a horror season with a home loss to Scotland and a close-run win over Italy in June.

The Wallabies have won just three of their last 29 Tests against New Zealand with two others drawn going back to 2008.

Australian Super Rugby teams were also 0-26 in games against New Zealand opposition and on Friday the Australian Rugby Union finally announced it was axing the Western Force in a contentious long-awaited decision from next year's southern hemisphere competition.

© 2017 AFP