The New Zealand All Blacks will be pulling out all the stops as coach Graham Henry recalls his host of stars for their crucial Tri-Nations decider with Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.
Date/Time: Saturday, August 27, at 6:05 A.M. EST
Venue: Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane
Tri Nations Rugby Final Betting Odds
Money Line (To Win):
New Zealand -250
New Zealand -4
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Meanwhile, the Australians will be going all out in hopes of winning their first Tri-Nations crown since 2001 while trying to avoid a repeat of their meeting in 2008 when the All Blacks snatched the Tri Nations title with a 28-24 win.
In that match the Wallabies could not find an answer to New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter, who finished with game with 13 points, and who will be returning to the starting XV along with skipper Richie McCaw and nine other first team players that are well rested after sitting out the Kiwis’ loss to South Africa their last time out.
Only prop Tony Woodcock, hooker Keven Mealamu, flanker Adam Thomson and lock Sam Whitelock retain their places from the 18-5 defeat.
As for the Wallabies, they will be led by for the first time by Queensland Reds lock James Horwill who will become Australia’s 77th test captain after Rocky Elsom was surprisingly demoted by Wallaby coach Robbie Deans.
Elsom has worn the armband 24 times and skippered the side that defeated South Africa 14-9 in the Tri-Nations a few weeks ago. However, injury has restricted him to just five starts this season and Deans is taking no chances, assuring his number one flanker is fit for the sides upcoming Word Cup bout against Italy on September 11.
Alongside Horwill will be Dan Vickerman, who makes his first start for the Wallabies since August 2008, as well as Reds teammate Anthony Faingaa who is the beneficiary of James O’Connor’s suspension as he comes off the bench to start alongside Pat McCabe in the centers.
All those changes will need to make quick adjustments if they want to beat an All Blacks side that has handed them 11 losses in the teams’ last 12 meetings.
However, the Wallabies did defeat their Trans-Tasman rivals in Hong Kong last year, but winning in Brisbane has eluded them, losing all three of their encounters with the All Blacks there.
History will definitely be in the Kiwis favor and they will be looking to continue their dominance over their southern hemisphere rivals, affirming that their recent 30-14 win over the Wallabies at Eden Park early on in the tournament was no lucky draw.
New Zealand are the bookmaker’s favorites for this one, a fixture that involves seventeen Reds and Crusaders faces from that not forgotten Super Rugby final last month.
It’s hard to bet against the All Blacks at this stage in the contest, but a good bet if your leaning to wager on the Wallabies is giving the points.
This will likely be a tight match with two full strength teams, with the outcome being decided by a missed conversion or penalty kick.
Matt’s Prediction: New Zealand 27-25 Australia