Bledisloe Cup Game 2: All Blacks v Wallabies preview - Green and Gold Rugby
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Bledisloe Cup Game 2: All Blacks v Wallabies preview

Bledisloe Cup Game 2: All Blacks v Wallabies preview

The biggest rivalry in southern hemisphere sport has exploded, with the Wallabies travelling to Eden Park to face the All Blacks in game two of the Bledisloe Cup. The Wallabies head into the contest with renewed confidence and optimism after handing the All Blacks their largest loss in history after a 47-26 win in Perth last Saturday.

In order to retain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002, they must travel to the fortress that is Eden Park to face an All Blacks team looking to avenge the loss and re-establish themselves as the premier team in world rugby.

Background

The Wallabies got off to a slow start to their 2019 campaign, losing 35-17 to the Springboks at Ellis Park in a sloppy performance that saw the side waste possession and opportunities.

The side would bounce back the following week, with a more convincing performance, defeating the Pumas 20-16 in a game dominated by a committed defensive effort and an impressive scrum.

However, their best performance would be saved for their following game, putting in a clinical performance to dominate the All Blacks 47-26 at Optus Stadium. They now head to Eden Park with dreams of breaking droughts firmly in their mind, having not won a game at Eden Park since 1986 and a Bledisloe series since 2002.

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

The All Blacks have had a less than convincing start to 2019, beginning their campaign with a 20-16 win over Los Pumas in Buenos Aires. The much-weakened side raced out to a 20-9 lead at halftime but was forced to out the rampaging Argentinians on their goal line after they were held to nill in the second half.

They were they held to a 16-all draw against the Springboks after looking certain to win after the sharp boot of Richie Mo’unga and a try to the flying mullet Jack Goodhue. However, like the Wallabies, Herschel Jantjies broke the hearts of the home supporters, pouncing on a chip kick with minutes remaining to split the points.

They were then humbled by the Wallabies, recording their worse loss in history. This was compounded by the loss of Scott Barrett due to a red card and Jack Goodhue, who has been sidelined with an upper leg injury.

Team News

The Wallabies have made minor changes to the victorious side last week, highlighted by lock Rory Arnold being ruled out with a hand injury. He has been replaced by Rebels second-rower Adam Coleman, with Rob Simmons coming onto the bench.

In further team news, Liam Wright comes onto the bench for his potential debut in gold, joined by Adam Ashley-Cooper who has replaced Tom Banks as the outside back reserve for his first test of the year.

The All Blacks have made widespread changes to the side that suffered the record-breaking loss to the Wallabies last week. Chiefs prop Nepo Laulala comes in for Owen Franks at tighthead prop, with Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi coming in for Atu Moli on the bench. Team-mate Patrick Tuipulotu will start at lock alongside Sam Whitelock in place of the suspended Scott Barrett, with Jackson Hemopo coming onto the bench.

In the backs, Sonny Bill Williams will start at inside centre, pushing Anton Lienert-Brown to outside, replacing the injured Jack Goodhue. There’s a fresh pair of wingers, with George Bridge and Sevu Reece come in for Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith respectively, whilst Jordie Barrett comes onto the reserves bench.

Key Match-Ups

Adam Coleman

Adam Coleman

Adam Coleman v Patrick Tuipulotu
Both locks come into the second tests with a point to prove after replacing their more-fancied teammates. Coleman was a regular starter in the Wallabies set across the past three years before the emergence of Rodda and Arnold saw him riding the bench. Tuipulotu has faced a similar demotion, with Scott Barrett displacing him from the All Blacks set up in 2017, with his dominance along with the likes of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick restricting him to just two tests at the end of last year.

Putting aside both players claims for a World Cup spot, this will be a crucial area of the game that the All Blacks will want to disrupt in order to secure victory over the Wallabies. The Australians have been operating at a 90% success rate across the Rugby Championship. If Tuipulotu can disrupt the first couple of throws from Latu and potentially steal a couple, it could help dent the confidence of the Wallabies pack and cough up memories of the previous year’s struggles.

WAL038

Samu Kerevi v Sonny Bill Williams
This matchup this week will a battle of prolific v profile when Samu Kerevi lines up against Sonny Bill Williams at inside centre. Kerevi has been one of the shining lights of the Wallabies campaign so far, leading Rugby Championship in terms of metres gained and line breaks. Kerevi has positioned himself as the premier centre in the world, with the barnstorming Queenslander becoming the central piece in the Wallabies attack and a strong showing from him will put the Wallabies in a great position to win this match.

SBW is probably the best known outside back in World Rugby thanks to his stint in rugby league. However, he has failed to find the form that made him a dual-premiership winner and an automatic starter in the All Blacks set-up, being dropped from the initial squad for the Bledisloe series. The injury to Goodhue has provided him with the perfect opportunity to reclaim his spot and live up to his big profile, with a World Cup spot pretty much guaranteed if he can stop Kerevi.

Numbers that matter (Thanks to Opta Sports)

2000:The last time that the Wallabies won consecutive games against the All Blacks
1986: The last time that the Wallabies beat the All Blacks at Eden Park, losing 17 straight
6,221: Days since an Australian last hoisted the Bledisloe Cup
5: The age I was when the Wallabies last won the Bledisloe Cup
20%: The Wallabies record away from home over the past ten games, winning just two (Italy in Padova and Argentina in Salta)
4,933,246: The approximate amount of people in Australia who have not witnessed the Wallabies hoist the Bledisloe Cup, nearly 200,000 more than the population of New Zealand
42:The All Blacks consecutive winning streak at Eden Park (Last loss v France, 1986)

Predictions

Despite their strong win last week in Perth, I just can’t back the Wallabies to win at Eden Park. The fact that the All Blacks have had three sub-par games has me waiting for that big statement performance and with the Bledisloe Cup in danger, this seems like the perfect stage for it. It will a big ask for the Wallabies to win at the fortress that is Eden Park. I think the All Blacks will find a way to somehow nab victory at the death.

Match Prediction: All Blacks by 3
Bold Prediction: 2+ cards shown during the match

Match Details

Wallabies (15-1): Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Liam Wright, Will Genia, Matt To’omua, Adam Ashley-Cooper

All Blacks (15-1): Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, George Bridge, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Sam Whitelock, Patrick Tuipulotu, Nepo Laulala, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta’avao, Jackson Hemopo, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett

Date: Saturday, August 17th
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 5:35 pm AEDT (7:35pm local time)
Where to Watch: Channel 10 on FTA and Fox Sports 6 (Channel 506) for Foxtel.

  • Hoss

    Cheers Nath.

    I like what Goog said the other nite mate ‘sport has no respect for history’ and so shall it be Saturday.

    You’ve got the margin right, just round the wrong way.

    Wallabies by 3

    • From NooZealand

      Maybe or maybe more or maybe not. I am sure I am right.

      • laurence king

        Hope that fence doesn’t have pointy bits, lol.

        • From NooZealand

          LOL – now that you bring this small matter to my attention ….

      • Hoss

        It’ll be one of those games for sure.

    • Alister Smith

      It had a three in it I suppose Hoss

  • Who?

    I’m impressed Nath. How’d Opta Sports get your age? :-P

    • Nathan Williamson

      Haha, they are everywhere, they know all. Was a bit concerning when they starting reading out my credit card numbers though

      • Who?

        Maybe they should be paying for the data they’re mining..? Might help with the credit card. ;-)

  • Yowie

    That’s an awesome photo of Kerevi & Barrett.
    Is there some way we can figure out if it was taken before or after the collision?

    • theduke

      It’s a new style of tackling from the kiwis. You invert yourself onto your shoulder to minimise the risk of using them in the tackle. Scott B missed the memo

    • Jcr

      If you line up the hoardings behind him and
      then notice Whites moustache curling up pre belly laugh , all this indicates it’s post Barrett coitus.

  • Huw Tindall

    Cheers Nathan! Goes without saying that we are looking forward to this one! Despite the rash of changes to the ABs I still think they’ll start favourites this weekend. Arnold is a big loss for us too and I don’t see Simons having the same sort of impact as Coleman did off the bench. To top it off the wet weather forecast makes me think our possession game will be harder to execute and the ABs are probably a smarter kicking team with more options. Good news is a draw will secure the Cup for us as well so Wallabies by 0 or more and I’m happy!

  • It would be trying to write the Match Prediction line of a preview like this that would leave me a nervous wreck.

    I just have no idea how it will play out. The ABs will be fired up, but they’re significantly weaker in the second row, and I think SBW + ALB is bad call in the centres. I’m not convinced about their back three either, I think Smith to 15 and either Barrett to the bench if you think Mo’unga needs more time, or Mo’unga to the bench if you want to win more. Heresy though it might be, I’d look seriously at the options for a 6 (Frizzel looked OK to me, but there must be one decent 6 in NZ) and play X, Cane, Savea. Drop Read. For me, Read is doing what LSL is doing for the Wobs – looking good in patches but not good enough overall. I think he was, undoubtedly one of the game’s greats, but all those injuries have taken their toll, and 2019 is a year too late for him. It’s sad, but there it is.

    I think the G&G forwards look weaker with Arnold and Simmons, I think their backline reserves look considerably worse with AAC. I’m pleasantly surprised to see no rotation at 9 and 10 though. Will last week’s win prove a stepping stone, or was it a case of almost everything running right for them?

    Roll on Saturday and I guess we’ll find out…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      hey Eloise,

      I agree with some of these. Not so unhappy with the centres but SBW needs to step up and prove he’s still got it. I don’t like the twin 7 or the 10/15 combinations and agree that Read hasn’t reached his peak yet. I’m hopeful rather than expecting a win by the ABs and I think how we play the reserves will have a big impact on both teams

      • SBW has started to look a bit… not what he used to be for the last couple of years to me. I’m not sure if that’s because teams have worked out what to do to defend him, he’s just got old (34 isn’t that old, but he’s had a lot of collisions in his life, and as a former league player, possibly more than a typical union 12) or if his injuries have just taken their toll. Possibly a combination of those. Read, sadly, I think is in the same boat. He was a joy to watch and I hope he gets back to his best, I’m just not sure that at 33 and after all his back injuries it’s there any more.

    • Pedro

      I agree with everything, hopefully AAC isn’t needed because while he isn’t trash, he didn’t look test class at Super level.

      • Like I’ve commented about some of the ABs, I think he was class, but he’s just old and slow. Against Laumape and ALB that could be painful, assuming that’s who is on at that point.

      • Brumby Runner

        IIRC he missed selection in the starting lineup for the Tahs in a game or three late in the season.

    • Alister Smith

      The stepping stone turned out to be a stumbling block. I felt much the same as you going in but our blokes just couldn’t get in it.

  • Custard Taht

    So, when the Wallabies when on Saturday night, losing the Bledisloe won’t be the worst thing to happen to the All Blacks.

    Depending on who wins between the Poms and the Welsh, the All Blacks will drop from world no1 to either 4th or 6th….either way the Wallabies winning will see the All Blacks drop to their lowest ranking ever.

  • Custard Taht

    Spoiler alert, look away if you don’t want to know the score…

    New Zealand feel the Berne after Wallabies fleece All Blacks at Eden Park.

    Wallabies 33 d All Blacks 28.

    • Greg

      That is baaaaa’d

    • EmpiricalEvidence

      How did the prediction go? hehehe

  • Custard Taht

    A few other headlines;

    God defend New Zealand, because the All Blacks can’t defend the Rugby World Cup.

    New Zealand Rugby found dead after 2 weekends at Burnie’s.

    Say Cheese, Hansen caught in Eden Park mouse trap.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha very good

    • EmpiricalEvidence

      haha…how are those headlines now?

  • juswal

    My prediction: either one team will dominate or the other will, or possibly it will be close with one team prevailing in the end.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan, I’m not so sure that Kerevi and SBW will clash as it’s usually up to others to shut down the 12, however how they play will be critical to both sides. SBW has a lot to prove in this game whereas Kerevi just needs to continue. The interesting thing for me is where, when and how AAC fits in.

    The card thing is getting to be a bit of an issue and while I agree with the concepts behind it all I sometimes wonder if we’ve gone a bit far and do we need something between Red and Yellow for the hits that aren’t deliberate but are still high. I’m starting to agree that a card where a player goes off for 10 mins and is then replaced is something worth considering.

    • Greg

      Come on KRL. Stick with your previous line. The cards are not the issue…. players doing dumb things is the issue.

      We all did/do them. If they are very dangerous then your team is penalised badly. Sounds just like work!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming the referee for this, it is 100% on the players. I just think the red was originally designed for deliberate bits of foul play and a lot of the cards these days are for acts that are not deliberate so maybe there is room for looking at this. Agree 100% that if someone does a deliberate foul play, especially one involving striking, kicking or deliberate high tackle then a red card and off you go. But I think all teams have has incidents where players have slipped, or misjudged a hit rather than deliberately trying to hurt someone and I’m not sure the intent of the Red card covered that.

  • juswal

    But seriously, we can only guess at what will happen this time out. There’s nothing to base a prediction on.

  • Pedro

    I really don’t think AAC is fast enough to play test rugby anymore.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well happy Bledisloe morning, one and all. SOrry for my lack of presence, am holidaying in the land of the long white sheep! That is right BL and clan are in Queenstown NZ living it large. BL’s points for this wonderful match up:
    – Have watched many shows on NZ Sky and their rugby shows. Interesting to get their take on things. Also watched a complete replay of the game, with the NZ commentary.
    – Interesting to see that their commentators during the game were really positive towards Aus. Unlike Kearnsy is to the darkness. They were saying this is the Aus of old and it is great to see them back.
    – The commentators said during the game that was definitely a red card.
    – The Panel shows after the games had the same debate that we have had on here everytime there is a red. I.E. a red destroys a game. They were very balanced in their views.
    – They were quite harsh on the AB’s for lacking intensity, and being beaten in pretty much every area by the Wobs. The Wobs wanted it more, and the AB’s have some serious work to do.

    So enough of giving you the TV vibe. The everyday supporter in the street here is concerned. To be beaten by a team that has been consistently shite for 4 years is a worry. they are concerned and think the AB’s need to ‘pull their finger out’.

    This will be a great game. I, as you know, am always concerned when we poke the bear. And not only have we poked the bear, the NZ supporters are poking it too. And hard. I expect a really fired up NZ.

    AB’s by 7.

  • mark conley

    the nz’ers do realise that the ‘parrot’ is not a mouthpiece for the wallabies
    and should have been euthanised a long time ago and put us out of OUR misery

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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