Wallabies opt to walk the walk before talking the talk

There has never been a better time for the Wallabies to talk themselves up. Australian teams make up half of the Super Rugby top six and after years of injury-enforced selection decisions, coach Ewen McKenzie appears to have a handful of credible midfield and halves combinations at his disposal.

And while Israel Folau was prepared to make the tempting leap from there to Bledisloe Cup glory at the unveiling of the new Wallabies jersey on Wednesday, his 91-Test team mate Stephen Moore wants the Wallabies to cut the talk.

''I think the [end of year] tour was a really good sign in terms of playing well a few weeks in a row, that was really encouraging and probably something we haven't seen in a while,'' Moore said.

''But in terms of this year, I'm reluctant to stand here and promise anything or talk about what we're going to do. We've probably done a bit of that in the past and we haven't backed it up.''

It panned out that way last year, when early McKenzie era optimism gave way to a 3-0 whitewash and almost the worst Wallabies season in decades.

Back-to-back wins against Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales put the season back on course but the Bledisloe Cup was already lost for an 11th straight year and the 38-12 Springboks massacre in Brisbane will not easily be forgotten.

Folau, entitled to his optimism as a second-year Wallaby, said victory against the All Blacks was possible for the third-ranked Test team.

But even with two of the three Tests to be played on Australian soil (in Brisbane and Sydney), the dual international acknowledged it would take ''a lot of hard work''.

''It's been a long time since the Bledisloe has been here in Australia,'' Folau said. ''The All Blacks been a very strong side the last 12 years and they've set the benchmark. So as a team you always want to play against the best and most importantly you want to beat them and I think we've got great talent in the team to get the job done this year. But it's not going to be easy. It's going to be a lot of hard work.''

Moore, about to embark on a remarkable 10th season as a Test player, said he was more interested in becoming a team that could produce a consistent standard of performance week in, week out.

''You don't want to talk too much about results … it's more about getting the front end of your preparation right so you can almost have a bit of certainty about your performance and I think that's something we need to work towards. I don't want to come out and say, 'We're going to do this or that' because it's really not where my head would be at,'' he said.

This story Wallabies opt to walk the walk before talking the talk first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.