Friday, August 21, 2009

Test Rugby: Tri Nations Do or Die

New Zealand v Australia in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)

Venue: Sydney

There is so much hinging on this test match. The team that losers will almost certainly bow out of any Tri Nations contentions. Also up for grabs is the Bledisloe Cup, the trophy that is the symbol of rugby rivalry between Australia and New Zealand.

Both Australia and New Zealand have been playing test rugby recently with their backs to the wall. The pressure is on for both teams to perform now that the half way point to the 2011 Rugby World Cup has been reached.

New Zealand is bringing Daniel Carter back into test rugby after a 10 month break mostly due to injury. The pressure will be on him to perform and to help turn the tide for this under performing All Black side. The pressure is also on head coach Graham Henry. Another loss would put real doubts in the minds of New Zealanders that this may not be the man to lead the All Blacks into a Rugby World Cup.

Australian coach Robbie Deans is also under pressure from the Australian press and Wallaby fans. Another loss and he will also be under the spotlight.

Last Five Encounters
18.07.2009 New Zealand 22-16 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations)
01.11.2008 New Zealand 19-14 in Hong Kong (Bledisloe Cup)
13.09.2008 New Zealand 28-24 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations)
12.08.2008 New Zealand 39-10 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations)
26.07.2008 Australia 34-19 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations)

Last year Australia walked over the All Blacks in the Sydney test. New Zealand won the 2005 test in Sydney 30-13.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-New Zealand 2nd, Australia 3rd
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd

Prediction: New Zealand by 7


15 James O'Connor
14 Lachlan Turner
13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
12 Berrick Barnes
11 Drew Mitchell
10 Matt Giteau
9 Luke Burgess
8 Richard Brown
7 George Smith, Capt.,
6 Rocky Elsom
5 Nathan Sharpe
4 James Horwill
3 Alistair Baxter
2 Stephen Moore
1 Benn Robinson

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Benjamin Alexander
18 Dean Mumm
19 David Pocock
20 William Genia
21 Ryan Cross
22 Peter Hynes
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina
14 Josevata Rokocoko
13 Conrad Smith
12 Luke McAlister
11 Sitiveni Sivivatu
10 Daniel Carter
9 James Cowan
8 Kieran Read
7 Richard McCaw, Capt.,
6 Jerome Kaino
5 Isaac Ross
4 Bradley Thorn
3 Owen Franks
2 Andrew Hore
1 Tony Woodcock

16 Aled de Malmanche
17 John Afoa
18 Jason Eaton
19 Rodney So'oialo
20 Brendon Leonard
21 Stephen Donald
22 Ma'a Nonu
Head Coach: Graham Henry

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