SYDNEY (Reuters) - Dave Rennie has been impressed with the increased intensity as Super Rugby AU has progressed this year but recognises the players have to lift even further when they face the All Blacks in Bledisloe Cup tests next month.
Rennie named his first Wallabies squad on Sunday for the Bledisloe Cup tests and the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship.
They will assemble for a few days after the ACT Brumbies host the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU final on Saturday before flying to New Zealand.
"I think the competition (Super Rugby AU) has got better and (so has) the quality of the rugby," Rennie told reporters after he named the squad.
"The advantage of finals footy is the intensity, so there has certainly been an intensity in these games."
New Zealander Rennie said the All Blacks, who have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003, had all been playing well in their domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa competition and he was impressed with the depth that counterpart Ian Foster had available.
"Super Rugby Aotearoa was real high quality, real high intensity," Rennie said.
"I reckon any All Blacks side that can leave someone like Lachlan Boshier out, who I thought was incredible in Super Rugby Aotearoa and he didn't even make the North Island side, that tells you the depth of New Zealand rugby."
Rennie's squad included 16 uncapped players, while 13 others have played less than 10 tests each and the former Waikato Chiefs and Glasgow coach said the goal this year was to lay the foundations for the next World Cup in France.
"We've picked obviously with an eye to the future," he said.
"There will be some of those guys who don't play but ... we've got to make sure that we're creating depth and guys are ready to go when they get their opportunity to step up."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Robert Birsel)