Australia v New Zealand in Christchurch (Tri Nations; Bledisloe Cup)
Venue: AMI Stadium
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
What can Australia do to improve their performance against New Zealand? Can New Zealand maintain their good form and take both trophies?
New Zealand needs to win by 7 points and score 4 tries in the process to take the Tri Nations Trophy, despite it only being halfway through the tournament. Such has been New Zealand's dominance. The talk this week has been about New Zealand peaking too soon again before a World Cup tournament. At the moment they appear unstoppable.
Australia's coach Robbie Dean has talked to the media this week about this Australian team and its future. I can't see Australia being able to overcome the Kiwis."Regardless of the outcome at the weekend, there's no doubt that this time will serve this group well. I can tell you that in 14 months, they'll be there (peaking)." What does he mean? Has he written his Australian side off for this match? Some of his selections might point that way. He is blooding a few players for their first starting lineup place.
Australia made mistakes aplenty but last weekend actually outscored the All Blacks whilst down to fourteen men. Did the All Blacks relax and just absorb the pressure only to hit out late in the second half to blow out the score? I think the Aussies will be better disciplined this week and will surely make less mistakes. I can't see the Kiwis losing but the score will be a lot closer
Last Five Encounters
31.07.2010 New Zealand 49-28 in Melbourne (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
31.10.2009 New Zealand 32-19 in Tokyo (Bledisloe Cup)
19.09.2009 New Zealand 33-6 in Wellington (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
22.08.2009 New Zealand 19-18 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations)
18.08.2009 New Zealand 22-16 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup; Tri Nations
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
IRB Rankings-New Zealand 1st (93.68), Australia 3d (86.06)
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
Prediction: New Zealand by 10 points
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Joseph Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt.
6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Thomas Donnelly, 4 Bradley Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Corey Flynn, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Albert Mathewson, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Benson Stanley
Head Coach: Graham Henry
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matthew Giteau, 9 William Genia, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, (capt). 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Benn Robinson.
16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Robert Simmons, 19 Matthew Hodgson, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 22 Cameron Shepherd.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans