We take a look at tonight’s huge Bledisloe Cup clash between Australia and New Zealand. The All Blacks are arguably the strongest team in any sport in the world at the moment and they’ll look to continue their dominance over the Aussies tonight.
When: Saturday, August 19, 8pm (AEST)
Where: ANZ Stadium
The opening fixture of the Rugby Championship featuring Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina sees Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand clash in the latest instalment of the Bledisloe Cup.
While always a fierce contest, the rivalry has all been one-sided in recent history with the Wallabies last hoisting the coveted cup in 2002 while the all-conquering All Blacks have won or retained the trophy 13 times since 2002.
Despite the All Blacks’ dominance, all is not lost for the embattled Wallabies with the British and Irish Lions providing a blueprint on how the Wallabies can overcome the All Blacks.
The Lions left New Zealand with a 1-1 draw in their three-test series on the back of relentless defence, suffocating the All Blacks’ attacking forays and neutralising their repeated phase play.
The Wallabies need to take a leaf out of the Lions’ book and pressure the All Blacks from the get-go.
As they’ve done in previous tests, the Wallabies will again field a back three of two fullbacks and one finisher, a strategy Michael Cheika and the Wallabies’ brains trust have implemented since the arrival of former All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne.
Containing the All Blacks’ scrum and lineout will also be paramount along with maintaining possession and building pressure when attacking the All Blacks’ line.
Australia have lost their last four consecutive tests but haven’t lost five in a row since dropping seven on the trot in 2005.
The All Blacks have been the dominant force in international rugby for what seems like an eternity.
Their 18-match winning streak was broken by Ireland in November 2016.
Ominously, the All Blacks haven’t lost the opening fixture of the Rugby Championship since 2005 and aren’t immune to travelling across to Tasman and conquering the Wallabies on Australian soil.
They boast a strong record at ANZ Stadium and have won five of their last six matches at Homebush.
While the Wallabies will certainly put up a determined effort, it’s hard to go past the All Blacks who have dominated recent Trans-Tasman battles.
The All Blacks have won 10 of their last 13 games against the Wallabies, drawing two and losing just one.
When they’ve won, they have done so in impressive fashion at an average winning margin of no less than 16 points.
After recent revelations of Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s New Zealand citizenship, it will be interesting to see if Senator Joyce will be sporting an All Blacks jersey?
1. Scott Sio 2. Stephen Moore 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Rory Arnold 5. Adam Coleman 6. Ned Hanigan 7. Michael Hooper (c) 8. Sean McMahon 9. Will Genia (pictured below) 10. Bernard Foley 11. Curtis Rona 12. Kurtley Beale 13. Samu Kerevi 14. Henry Speight 15. Israel Folau
Reserves 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. Tom Robertson 18. Sekope Kepu 19. Rob Simmons 20. Lopeti Timani 21. Nick Phipps 22. Reece Hodge 23. Tevita Kuridrani
1. Joe Moody 2. Codie Taylor 3. Owen Franks 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Samuel Whitelock 6. Liam Squire 7. Sam Cane 8. Kieran Read (C) 9. Aaron Smith 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Rieko Ioane 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Ryan Crotty 14. Ben Smith 15. Damian McKenzie
Reserves 16. Nathan Harris 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi 19. Luke Romano 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Lima Sopoaga 23. Anton Lienert-Brown
Australia at $6.75
New Zealand at $1.11
Tip: New Zealand at $1.11
Line tip: Australia +16.5
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