All Blacks boss Steve Hansen said he did not mean to upset Wallabies coach Michael Cheika by saying he allowed England counterpart Eddie Jones to bully him.
Hansen made his comments after England had claimed their first ever series victory over the Wallabies in Australia last month and said he was surprised that Cheika didn't respond to Jones' verbal taunts.
Cheika accused Hansen of being "shallow" and said "it's easy to kick blokes when they're down" and promised that the Wallabies would bounce back.
New Zealand face Australia in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on August 20 and Hansen revealed that he did he didn't mean to offend Cheika with his comments.
"It wasn't directed at Michael, I just thought that Eddie had dominated him a wee bit in the media and he took it quite personal," Hansen told Radio Sport.
"It wasn't meant to be personal."
Hansen dismissed suggestions that the All Blacks would dominate the Wallabies in the Rugby Champiionship after due to the poor performances of Australia's Super Rugby teams, who have lost 20 out of 24 matches against New Zealand sides this year.
"History tells you it doesn't matter where you finish in the Super Rugby, it's how you come together as a national team," he added.
"Australia, I think, will field a very, very strong side, they'll be hurting after their 3-0 loss to England and they'll be competitive."