Preview - Australia v New Zealand. Bring it on! - Green and Gold Rugby
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Preview – Australia v New Zealand. Bring it on!

Preview – Australia v New Zealand. Bring it on!

In a few hour the questions we have pondered, the plans we have considered, the options we have discussed, dissected and discussed again; finally we will have the answers.

Or will we?

Bring on kick off of game one of Bledisloe 2016 and the opening of the Rugby Championship!

To add to the spice of the occasion we have espionage! (I know – a plot twist!!) But that’s for after the game. To the on field stuff.

The Wallabies stare down the AllBlacks as they do their traditional haka before the  first Bledisloe Cup match of 2015.

So let cut to the chase here and get in to the weeds. Opta facts tell us the following:

• The Wallabies have not held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002, with the All Blacks winning or retaining the trophy 13 times since then.

• The All Blacks have lost just one of their last 13 against Australia (W10, D2); their 10 victories in that run have come by an average margin of 16 points.

• New Zealand have lost just one of their last six at ANZ Stadium (W4, D1), whilst Australia have lost seven of their last 10 at the same venue (W2, D1).

• New Zealand have not lost their opening fixture of The Rugby Championship since 2005 (v South Africa), winning nine and drawing one since then; overall the All Blacks have won 17 of their 20 opening matches (D1, L2).

• Australia have lost their last four Tests in a row and have not lost five on the bounce since a run of seven consecutive defeats in 2005; the fifth defeat in that run came against New Zealand.

But that’s all history and it can be changed on a bounce of a ball.

RUGBYU-RC-2015-AUS-NZL

MATCH UPS:

There has been plenty written and discussed about the match up, and I could speculate, but really, what are the key points we will be looking out for tonight as the parts of the game that decided the result.

Scrum: The All Blacks are without Moody and are not starting with Coles, but will it make a difference? Can the Wallabies dominate in the scrum? Even if they do will it really prove to be an advantage if the All Blacks forwards again out work and outperform the Wallabies pack?

Line out: It has been a real issue at times so have we sorted it out or will Retallick and Whitlock be dining out on freebies most of the night?

The Pooper: What impact will it have on the game?

Backline: Will the combination of Foley and Giteau be the ever reliable attacking weapon we saw at the RWC, or the old dog that can’t learn new tricks, or simply past their “best before date”? Will the All Blacks centre pairing work? Will it provide some attack, and will it hold or be a turnstile in defence?

Beauden Barrett: It’s a great show if you haven’t seen it, and we just hope that this episode is one of the more mundane and lacklustre for the Wallabies sake!

The gamble: Playing players out of position. The keyboard critics are at the ready if this one blows up in Cheika’s face.

FEARLESS PREDICTION:

Really, is this worth answering? This is always a heart v head thing, and as tough as it is to call it, the All Blacks are hard to tip against even if I don’t want to. I think this one will be close.

The All Blacks by 2.

Wallabies' captain, Steven Moore accepts the Rugby Championship trophy.
MATCH DETAILS:

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Dane Haylett-Petty, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben McCalman, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Rob Horne

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Julian Savea

Date: Saturday, August 20
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 20:05 (AEST)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Stats by Opta Sports

  • No need to worry. I’ve just seen the AB’s gameplan on Wikileaks. There’s nothing to fear. (But seriously folks). Cheika missed a trick by not bringing Issy into 13. The guile of Gits and skills/ class of Folau would have been a handful against the only average aspect of the Blacks. Their centre pairing. We need to ‘somehow’ get in front by at least 14 to win. The AB’s bench WILL score points at the backend. It’s a class above ours.

    • Dom

      I think we’re going to see plenty of Folau, AAC and DHP running off Gits.

      • Be nice to see. I just don’t really see Kurendrani (sp?) and AAC as threats though. They are so known to the ABs. I hope Cheik fast tracks Seva Naivalu into the squad. He is a line breaker and has run through kiwi teams before. I think we’ll hang on until the subs take it away from us. Hope I’m wrong.

  • Adrian

    NZ by 20.
    Mainly by dominating our lineout (stealing our ball) and attacking on the first phase.
    Other way will be clean breaks through the middle as kiwi forwards offload to Barrett, or Barrett makes the break himself.
    I hope not though!

  • Easycooper

    Jeez guys, is the glass half empty or what? Stop the negative vibes, fellas, this is more then doable. Stats mean bugger all when you consider who’s retired from NZ in last few months. They were hardly shit hot against a drunk Welsh side in June, we were unlucky against a good English side in a test series that could have gone either way. I fancy Wallabies by a score (5 not 20!).

    • Easycooper

      Well I got that one wrong. FFS. Bring on Argentina!

  • Who?

    So, does anyone know how Mr Rowley managed to get the bugs into the ABs’ hotel..? :-P
    Seriously, just kidding!!!

  • Bob

    That was just fucking painful.

  • Bada_bing8

    “FEARLESS PREDICTION:

    Really, is this worth answering? This is always a heart v head thing, and as tough as it is to call it, the All Blacks are hard to tip against even if I don’t want to. I think this one will be close.

    The All Blacks by 2.”

    Haha, worst prediction ever!!!!

    • MST

      I knew I was being uber optimistic but even I could not have predicted they could be that woeful!!

      • Bada_bing8

        Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But signs were there before the test that this contest wasn’t going to be close.

        I think bringing back the French brigade did nothing last night – Genia hasn’t played since January, AAC – ordinary/ anonymous, Giteau lasted 10 minutes and his Wallaby career looks to be over. Kefu was not prominent in loose enough. I think NZ and England have it right not choosing overseas players, as it is harder to integrate them back into the national squads after playing a different brand of rugby/fitness levels.

        Added to that a key player in the RWC like Kane Douglas has not played enough rugby since returning from his ACL and was not on form. Moore is also not in form for Brunbies or Australia.

        Chieka also didn’t learn from RWC final. Playing the Pooper, whilst great at the breakdown severely limits the Wallaby jumping options at the line out. To compound it he drops Fardy who is one of the main jumpers.

        The Super rugby players have also played for struggling teams this year and not one of Australian teams made it to the semis. Whilst NZ teams had 3 in the semis.

        Next week in Wellington could be brutal.

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Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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