The Wallabies host the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday 11 September 2010 for the last Tri-Nations match of the year at 12:00 SA Time. Can the All Blacks do a complete 6 from 6 Tri-Nations whitewash and can they go 10 in a row against the Wallabies?
The All Blacks have had the luxury of a few weeks rest whilst the wallabies and Springboks were duelling in Pretoria and Bloemfontein, but they have to do without mercurial flyhalf, Dan Carter, who has had an operation. Aaron Cruden, the very inexperienced youngster does duty at flyhalf and we can expect the wallabies to attack that channel all day.
All in all there are 5 changes in the All Black squad, with Israel Dagg slotting in on the wing in place of Smoking Joe Rokocoko, Cruden at flyhalf, Piri Weepu at scrumhalf, Victor Vito at blindside flank in place of Jerome Kaino and Owen Franks replacing his brother Ben.
Let me say this first, the All Black defence WILL BE better than the Springbok defence, it is clear that they embrace an overall type of game but it is also very clear that defence is treasured and respected.
There is a sense of a settled sode, despite the changes and depite the vulnerability of the Cruden inexperience.
The Wallabies on the other hand, is a young side who will be boyed by their backline attacking success against South Africa, but there has to be a worry in their minds too, having allowed the Springboks to come back in 2 matches in a row.
They will depend on the slippery nature of their silky skills in the backline, from Genia at No 9 right through to No 15, but they have lost an important weapon in attack in Drew Mitchell who is injured and not playing this week.
David Pocock and Rocky Elsom will keep their All Black counterparts busy but this week they play against a team who compete better than the Springboks at the breakdown.
I predict an All Black win, I can offer no reason why I should go the opposite way….. All Blacks by 15 PLUS and maybe that is being kind to the Wallabies.
2010: New Zealand won 20-10, Christchurch
2010: New Zealand won 49-28, Melbourne
2009: New Zealand won 32-19, Tokyo
2009: New Zealand won 33-6, Wellington
2009: New Zealand won 19-18, Sydney
2009: New Zealand won 22-16, Auckland
2008: New Zealand won 19-14, Hong Kong
2008: New Zealand won 28-24, Brisbane
2008: New Zealand won 39-10, Auckland
2008: Australia won 34-19 at Stadium Australia, Sydney
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom (captain), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Mark Chisholm, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 James Slipper, 18 Dean Mumm, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Berrick Barnes, 21 Anthony Fainga’a.
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Israel Dagg, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Rene Ranger.
Date: Saturday, 11 September 2010
Kick-off: 20.00 (12.00 SA Time)
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Expected weather conditions: Clear with a high of 21°C, dropping to 10°C and a westerly wind outside the stadium of 10 km/h, a spring perfect day for rugby
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)