Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
There is no doubt that this encounter has pushed the passion, the excitement and the controversy to giddy heights.The prospect of a tight encounter between these two Trans-Tasman neighbours always sharpens the enthusiasm for international test rugby. Players get edgy, coaches say things, spectators get dressed up and make noise whilst armchair critics take up their place on the edge of their chairs.
Lets look at some stats. This will be the 150th encounter between these two Trans-Tasman rivals. New Zealand has won the Bledisloe Cup for the past eleven years Australia only winning twice in the last twenty meetings. If New Zealand wins tonight it will be their 18th consecutive win. a record for a Tier One nation (Cyprus actually holds the world record with 23 consecutive test rugby wins since 2008!).
There are some interesting changes to each team’s expected line ups. Australia has made a controversial change at fly half where Kurtley Beale comes in for Foley, the latter dropping to the reserves. New Zealand will be without experienced Conrad Smith who is home with his wife whose baby is expected.
Australia will be vulnerable at hooker and on the wings where injuries have taken a tole. Despite that Australia goes into this match on a high. McKenzie’s team is starting to gel together well. Beale’s selection is viewed as a confidence boost to a team beginning to show depth in all positions. The Waratah’s Super Rugby win has certainly been a confidence boost for Australia.
New Zealand is still the best team in the world. Australia’s most experienced back Adam Ashley-Cooper said mid week that Australia would need to be at their best in all positions for a full 80 minutes to defeat the Kiwis. If they can do that they are in with a chance. Lose this test and Australia can virtually kiss the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup good-bye for another year.
Last Five Encounters
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)
25.08.2012 New Zealand 22-0 in Auckland (Rugby Champ., Bledisloe Cup)
Australia last defeated New Zealand back in 2011, a 25-20 win in Brisbane. Australia last defeated New Zealand in Sydney in 2008, winning 34-19
Australia Last Five P 5, W 5
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
23.11.2013 v Scotland W 21-15 at Murrayfield
New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
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
16.11.2013 v England W 30-22 at Twickenham
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 3rd
Oceania Table-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.81, Australia 86.92
Prediction: New Zealand by 8 points
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.
16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 William Skelton,
20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
Head Coach: Ewen McKenzie
15 Benjamin Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa/Ryan Crotty, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read,
7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Joseph Moody, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa/Ryan Crotty.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen