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.
One thing is for certain the Aussies have a team that will go on the field believing that they can beat the All Black, but they will have to beat not just the world number one team but also a team who are going for a record breaking 18 in a row wins.
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