RUGBY: Wallabies hard man James Slipper admits he and his teammates feel largely responsible for the heat coach Ewen McKenzie is copping in the lead up to tomorrow night's Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.
That pressure is expected to intensify if the All Blacks win as expected.
Australia's shock loss to Argentina in Mendoza earlier this month, their first to the Pumas since 1997, which coincided with Kurtley Beale's latest texting drama, put the spotlight squarely on the Wallaby coach and his future.
To his credit, McKenzie has stood firm, taking on all his critics with the steel he wants his players to display against the All Blacks tomorrow night in what is shaping as a fierce and monumental encounter.
"It's well documented what sort of pressure he is under and we (players) feel somewhat responsible for that," Slipper said.
"We have to go out against the All Blacks and put our best foot forward, that's the best thing we can do for him and it's what we're here to do."
Slipper also said Australia's results would have put any coach under pressure.
"We've got the utmost respect for Link (McKenzie) and we've got all the confidence in the world in him," he said. Meanwhile All Blacks coach Steve Hansen reacted to the loss against South Africa two weeks ago by making five changes to his line-up.