Australia vs New Zealand – Bledisloe Cup 3 Preview

Best Bet 1: New Zealand -12.5 @ $1.91 – Sportsbet

NRC plays to be released on Friday.

AUSTRALIA ($4.50) VS NEW ZEALAND ($1.22)

The final Test match on the southern hemisphere calendar sees Australia host New Zealand in Bledisloe Cup 3 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The Wallabies finished The Rugby Championship in style with a 37 – 20 win over the Pumas in Mendoza on the back of dominant performances by their back three, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete and Israel Folau. The All Blacks also finished the tournament undefeated for the second time in two years with a thrilling 25-24 victory over the Springboks in Cape Town. The Wallabies went down to the All Blacks on both occasions this year stretching their losing streak to seven consecutive matches, but the last match in Dunedin was an absolute thriller, with the All Blacks scoring one of the team tries of the year in the dying moments to edge out a narrow win.
Australia (2017): WLWLLDWDW
New Zealand (2017): WLDWWWWWW

Australia: Scott Sio, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Tevita Kuridrani, Marika Koroibete, Israel Folau

Replacements: Stephen Moore, Tom Robinson, Allan Alaalatoa, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi, Henry Speight

New Zealand: Kane Hames, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain), Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Rieko Ioane, Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Waisake Naholo, Damien McKenzie

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tunga’afasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili

Prediction:

The Wallabies are definitely a better team now compared to when they started off this season with narrow wins over Fiji and Italy and succumbing to the Scots in Sydney. In saying that, two wins over Argentina, two draws against South Africa, a home belting from New Zealand and an improved performance in Dunedin appears to have re-inflated the local media’s confidence. A number of players have been tried and tested this season and Michael Cheika slowly seems to be heading towards knowing what his best match-day 23 actually is. The Wallabies know they have strike power in their back line with players like Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge and Israel Folau all in career-best form, but alongside basic handling errors, their pack hasn’t provided them the platform to get the most out of their abilities. Michael Cheika has made just the one change to the starting fifteen by bringing in veteran Rob Simmons for the injured Izack Rodda at lock. As a result, Ned Hanigan returns to the bench with Lukhan Tui likely to cover the second row.

The All Blacks all but breezed through this year’s Rugby Championship, their fifth tournament win in six years. After a ferocious drawn Lions series earlier on in the season, they took care of their southern-hemisphere business with relative ease. Their 25-24 win over the Springboks two weeks ago, albeit a narrow one, really showcased their composure and their depth. They entered the fixture without first-choice starters in Joe Moody, Owen Franks and Brodie Retallick in the pack and Beauden Barrett and Nehe-Milner Skudder didn’t see out the first half with injuries. Their stalwarts (Kieran Read, Ryan Crotty and co.) stood up and their youngsters Rieko Ioane and Damien McKenzie showed that it’ll be almost impossible not to pick them moving forward. The Springboks didn’t really let the All Blacks get into any rhythm and the visitors were forced to make a whopping 240 tackles, relying heavily on turnover ball to make their inroads (which they did). Given their current injury toll, it comes as no surprise that Steve Hansen has opted to make just four changes to his matchday 23, giving his more inexperienced more game time ahead of what will be a tough northern hemisphere tour. There are no changes to the pack, but in the backline Lima Sopoaga, an underrated flyhalf, comes in for the concussed Beauden Barrett and the damaging Waisake Naholo replaces Nehe Milner-Skudder who suffered another horrific shoulder injury against the Springboks. TJ Perenara and Anton Lienert-Brown find themselves back on the bench.

In a match largely designed to generate additional revenue for both the ARU and the NZRU, one would think that this is the best chance for the Wallabies to sneak a win against their biggest rivals this season. I somewhat agree, however, this will be the last game of All Blacks defensive coach Wayne Smith tenure, as he will be signing off his 20-year association with the national team (both as a player and a coach) on Saturday night. Defence has always been the cornerstone of New Zealand’s success and the players will be doing everything in their power to send him off as a deserved final game winner. In saying that, Suncorp Stadium has been one of the tougher venues for New Zealand, with the last three matches resulting in a Wallabies win (25-20 in 2011), a draw (18-18 in 2012) and New Zealand win (28-29 in 2014). Wet weather has engulfed Brisbane for the past week, so I won’t be expecting fireworks from the get-go, but the All Blacks are definitely the better wet-weather team.An interesting stat is that the All Blacks have beaten the Wallabies by 20 points and 34 points respectively the last two times they have crossed the ditch. The Springboks showed that to trouble the All Blacks you have to win the physical battle and make next to no mistakes and I just don’t think Australia has that in them with their current personnel just yet. I think the Wallabies will give themselves a chance in this match, but inevitably, I think the All Blacks will have too much class and momentum to secure a double-digit victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Predicted result: New Zealand to win @ $1.22 – Sportsbet

Best Bet 1: New Zealand -12.5 @ $1.91 – Sportsbet

 

Author

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Glenn

Glenn has followed rugby union for 19 years and has expert knowledge on the game freely committing to over 500 viewing hours a year. Having played with and against some current Super Rugby players and International superstars, he understands the game, the players and the laws inside out. Having been born in South Africa, spent time in New Zealand and currently living in Australia, Glenn lives and breathes rugby. With so many different tournaments happening around the world simultaneously and the addition of Rugby Sevens to the Olympic program, there are always plenty of healthy betting options available. An obsession, a passion, call it what you will, Glenn enjoys sharing his insight, opinions and predictions with anyone who wants to listen.

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