Australia flanker Phil Waugh revealed his side are desperate to provide an answer to their critics when they embark on their European tour next month.
The Wallabies came under fire this summer following a disappointing Tri-Nations campaign, though Waugh believes the heavy criticism levelled at Eddie Jones’ team was unjustified.
The NSW Waratahs vice-captain is confident he and his team-mates will turn their fortunes around during the tour, which begins with a Test against France in Marseille on November 5.
"Most of the Wallaby players feel we have a point to prove against the northern hemisphere teams next month," Waugh told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"My recent performances have been inconsistent. And as a team we have to improve in all areas – that means getting the basics right and improving our execution of set-pieces.
"In close matches, small mistakes can change the outcome so what we need is for another couple of players to step up and hopefully, after a few wins, the confidence will return.
"The media seem to forget that losing is also part of sport and you can’t win every match."
Waugh believes the heady days of 2000, when the Wallabies held every trophy contested – the World Cup, Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations – can be rediscovered, though he concedes New Zealand are the form team in the world at present.
"The All Blacks are the number one side, based on recent results, but they are not very far ahead of the other teams," he said.
"I regard Wales, England, South Africa and Australia as genuine World Cup contenders. There is not much between them and they can all beat each other on any given day.
"If we keep improving and developing more depth, there is no reason Australia can’t be a force at the 2007 World Cup."
Australia will follow the Test with France with matches against Wales in Cardiff, England at Twickenham, and Ireland in Dublin.