The start of the Castle Rugby Championship has some added value for our friends in New Zealand and Australia as they also compete for the Bledisloe Cup.
They have been going at each other for this prized trophy since it was donated by Lord Bledisloe in 1931. The Bledisloe Cup is the largest trophy in world rugby. New Zealand have not just dominated the Rugby Championship but have also the won the Bledisloe Cup 11 times in a row since 2003.
This Saturday we will again see the start of the historic battle between the two nations for the Bledisloe Cup and the start of the Rugby Championship of 2014.
Many believe that this will be Australias best chance to stop the All Blacks dominance in Southern Hemisphere and in the Bledisloe Cup.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen started the psychological warfare before his teams departure by claiming to be “dumbfounded” by Beale’s selection at fly half ahead of Brenard Foley. He hinted that this was a way Wallaby coach MeKenzie was trying to keep Beale (who is without a contract) in Australian rugby.
“I was a little dumbfounded by it initially,” Hansen said of Beale’s selection at No.10. “I thought ‘why would he [McKenzie] do that?’ and came to the conclusion that maybe Ewen doesn’t trust [Foley] to be able to do what he wants against us, or if you really think about it, the other guy [Beale] is under contract and league are chasing him, so you might start thinking maybe the ARU have told him he’s got to pick him.”
One thing is for certain the Aussies have a team that will go on the field believing that they can beat the All Blacks.
The All Black are not just the reigning world champions but have not lost a single game in the last 17 test matches. On Saturday, in Sydney they will try to record a 18th consecutive test win .
The Kiwis side have not tasted defeat since going down to England at Twickenham in December 2012 and have beaten the Springboks twice in their current win streak.
It is business as usual for All Black coach Steve Hansen, “The Bledisloe’s the biggest cup we play for outside the World Cup, so winning this first one is important to give you a good start towards holding it,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Thursday. “We’re not approaching this Test any differently because it’s 18, it’s just about winning.”
2013: New Zealand won 41-33, Dunedin
2013: New Zealand won 27-16, Wellington
2013: New Zealand won 47-29, Sydney
2012: Australia and New Zealand drew 18-all, Brisbane
2012: New Zealand won 22-0, Auckland
2012: New Zealand won 27-19, Sydney
2011: New Zealand won 20-6, Auckland (World Cup semifinal)
2011: Australia won 25-20, Brisbane
2011: New Zealand won 30-14, Auckland
2010: Australia won 26-24, Hong Kong
15 Israel Folau, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa