Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
There were many not happy with last weekend’s draw in Sydney. New Zealand fans, players and management were not happy with the referee nor with the way the All Blacks played. They weren’t happy with the draw either; it robbed New Zealand of an 18th successive test victory (Tier 1 nations that is).
The Australian’s weren’t happy with the weather and the fact they let this one slip away. In control for much of the game and with an advantage of two yellow cards given against the AB’s, they just couldn’t breach the Kiwi’s defence.
So this game is another new start. Australia can take a lot of credit the way they played especially the second half. This is a team that looks to be on the way up. Coach Ewan McKenzie is putting together a squad of players who continue to improve in skill, pace and team work. They’ll be looking to break the Eden Park hoodoo. Australia last defeated New Zealand back in 1986 when they won 22-9.
New Zealand played a shocker last weekend and were lucky with a draw. They rarely play two poor games in a row. They will also be without a few key players; Ma’a Nonu, Carter, Kaino and Woodcock are all form players out with injury. Back into the side comes Conrad Smith (now that baby has arrived) and Liam Messam who had a brilliant 2013.
Last Five Encounters NZ 3, Drawn 2.
16.08.2014 Drawn 12-12 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)
19.10.2013 New Zealand 41-33 in Dunedin (Bledisloe Cup)
24.08.2013 New Zealand 27-16 in Wellington (Rugby Champ., Bledisloe Cup)
17.08.2013 New Zealand 47-22 in Sydney (Rugby Champ., Bledisloe Cup)
20.10.2013 Drawn 18-18 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup)
Australia Last Five P 5, W 4, D 1
16.08.2014 v New Zealand D 12-12 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)
21.06.2014 v France W 39-13 in Sydney
14.06.2014 v France W 6-0 in Melbourne
07.06.2014 v France W 50-23 in Brisbane
30.11.2013 v Wales W 30-26 in Cardiff
New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 4, D 1
16.08.2014 v Australia D 12-12 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Champ.)
21.06.2014 v England W 36-13 in Hamilton
14.06.2014 v England W 28-27 in Dunedin
07.06.2014 v England W 20-15 in Auckland
24.11.2013 v Ireland W 24-22 in Dublin
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.42, Australia 87.32
Prediction: History goes with New Zealand as does the home ground. A much better game of rugby. New Zealand by 8 points
15 Benjamin Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Charles Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett,
23 Malakai Fekitoa
Head Coach: Steven Hansen
15 Israel Folau, 14 Patrick McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matthew Toomua, 11 Robert Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nicholas White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (Capt.), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Robert Simmons, 4 Samuel Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements (one to be omitted):
16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Benjamin Alexander, 19 William Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani, 24 Benjamin McCalman.
Head Coach:Ewan McKenzie