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Preview – Australia v New Zealand


The Rugby Championship kicks off in Australia again this year when the Aussies host the All Blacks on Saturday.

The Aussies had a better lead-up this to the Championship in the June internationals where the lost the series against Ireland but showed must improvement as a team.

Sydney is the place where it will start for the Aussies to re-load and see if they can get one over the All Blacks.

Cheika was forced to pick Hodge at outside centre due to injury to Kerevi. At nine Genia will also start ahead of Phipps.

Cheika will start with Polota-Mau and Robertson up front due to injury to Paenga-Amosa and Sio.

The All Black have picked another classy team with Naholo and GoodHue in the starting XV.

Naholo has been preferred to Jordie Barrett for the third back-three spot, and will slot in alongside Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane.

Goodhue will partner with Crotty in the midfield after a successful Super Rugby campaign.

Beauden Barrett will start at the number 10 jersey with McKenzie as cover. There was no place for Crusaders flyhalf Mo’unga.

Read will captain the side with Whitelock that will run on in his 100th test on Saturday.

The Aussies beat the All Blacks in their last test in Brisbane but have not won a back to back since 2000-2001.

With a 14.7 clean break per game in the June series against France, the All Blacks will be a hand full on Saturday if the Wallabies slip in their defence.

One thing all nations struggle to keep up with the All Blacks is scoring tries. They average 6.3 in the last 14 test matches.

With Ioane the All Blacks have also a try scoring machine having scored 16 tries in 16 test matches for the All Blacks.

Starving the All Blacks from the ball will must be the main focus for Cheika men if they want to beat them.

We expecting a close contest and that the team with the superior defence to take this one.

Saying that the skills and vision of the All Blacks makes it even harder for teams to defend against.

Prediction: All Blacks by 7


Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jack Maddocks.

All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith; 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu’inukuake, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.



  1. Ah it’s a thing of beauty seeing the All Black’s loose-forwards every single time they announce a team-sheet… uber-balanced.

    A specialist open-sider (Cane 189cm 105kgs), a specialist blind-sider (Squire 196cm 113kg) and a specialist eighth-man (Read 193cm 111kg) with an impact hybrid loose-forward (Savea 188cm 102kgs) off the bench… every time .

    Rassie Erasmus take note!

  2. @bryce_in_oz: I agree fully, but fail to see how Cane still makes the squad. So many other real quality players to choose from.

    Anyway, I see these two battling it out for 1 and 2.aussie tight 5 have gone from a weakness to a strength recently and the backs are class. And the AB’s, nothing left to say. Class all over the park.

  3. @DJ:

    Clearly you have never watched much rugby league then.

    The most successful traditional specialist loose-forward trios have always, for the most part, met similar size norms.

  4. @Aldo:

    Cane has always been the incumbent since McCaw left, he had another great season for the Chiefs… albeit Todd might feel a bit hard done by… he is for mine just behind Cane however a different player to Savea when it comes to an impact bench player.

  5. @bryce_in_oz: Todd to me is better and with the amount of time Cane’s had, I don’t feel he’s been as good as Todd would be with the same amount of backing. I’m not saying he is bad, because he is brilliant, but I reckon NZ has better

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