The Australian Wallabies will attempt to snap a 25-year losing streak at Eden Park when they go head to head with the New Zealand All Blacks in the battle for the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday, in what should prove to be another epic Tri-Nations Tournament clash.
Date/Time: Saturday, August 6, at 3:35 A.M. EST
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland, Australia
Wallabies vs All Blacks Betting Odds
The last time the Wallabies won on New Zealand soil was back in 2001, when Australia beat the All Blacks 23-15 at Dunedin. Since then the Kiwis have taken 11 straight wins.
Will this year be any different? We think maybe.
Considering that the Wallabies ended a 10-game losing skid at the hands of the All Blacks in Hong Kong last time out, along with their recent 39-20 win over the Springboks two weeks ago in Sydney, the Australians definitely have momentum heading into this weekend’s match.
Add in the interesting fact that a Wallabies-heavy Reds side beat an All Blacks-dominated Crusaders team to this year’s Super Rugby title, and you have a perfect storm and a preview of two sides that are favored to dominate this year’s Rugby World Cup.
However, the All Blacks 60-14 shellacking of Fiji in a pre tournament test, followed by their 40-7 thumping of South Africa in their Tri Nations opener last weekend, provides a rather bleak backdrop for the Aussies.
If they want to derail the Kiwis they will need to get the same production from a side that coach Robbie Deans has made little adjustments to after they dominated the South Africans.
Flanker Rocky Elsom will continue in his role as skipper while Deans will hope the Reds pairing of fly-half Quade Cooper and Will Genia will provide enough fire power to counter the All Blacks offensive attack.
In the meantime, Kiwis’ coach Graham Henry has made several changes to his starting XV, recalling luminaries Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Kieran Read, Piri Weepu, Sitiveni Sivivatu , Hosea Gear and Brad Thorn, who will start at lock alongside No.8 Kieran Read who was in sensational form for much of 2010 and will look to solidify his spot on the World Cup roster with a quality outing against the Wallabies.
Dan Carter, meanwhile, will earn his 82nd cap against the Wallabies and joins the list of the top five most capped All Blacks.
It is without a doubt that the key to this battle will be Carter v Cooper, two of the most dynamic and talented ruggers to ever play on the international stage. The pair will meet for just the second time on Saturday, with Copper putting on a clinic in Hong Kong that Carter will not soon forget the last time they met.
The All Blacks have won an impressive 53 of their 65 matches at Eden Park, and have not tasted defeat on the ground since a 23-20 loss to France in 1994. It is an intimidating statistic, but the Wallabies will be up to the task.
The stage is set, and I expect the All Blacks to extend their Eden Park record, but not before a scare or two from the Aussies.
Matt’s Free Prediction: New Zealand 35-29 Australia