PREVIEW: Bledisloe Cup second Test

The Rugby Championship
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

The All Blacks are coming off their biggest victory over the Wallabies on Australian soil and are just one win away from securing the Bledisloe Cup for a 14th straight year.

Michael Cheika has made multiple changes to his side that lost 42-8 in Sydney on Saturday, reshuffling his backline, including three forced switches. Matt Giteau (ankle), Matt Toomua (concussion) and Rob Horne (shoulder) are all unavailable for Saturday’s second Test paving the way for Quade Cooper to start in his first Test at flyhalf since the Rugby World Cup, pushing Bernard Foley to inside centre and Samu Kerevi has been given the nod ahead of Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre.

Kerevi has his first opportunity in the number 13 jersey for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

In the forwards, Scott Fardy returns to the starting lineup while Adam Coleman will start his first Test after Rob Simmons was dropped out of the 23. Reece Hodge is set for a possible debut off the bench, while Will Skelton could prove the second half enforcer.

A hamstring injury to winger Waisake Naholo has given Julian Savea a chance to start, after becoming the fastest All Black to 40 Test tries last weekend. Young Chiefs back Anton Lienert-Brown will have his first taste of international rugby after being named at inside centre. Ben Smith returns to his preferred position of fullback with Israel Dagg moving to the wing.

Anton Lienert-Brown will debut for the Wallabies at inside centre. Photo: Getty Images

Match Stats

The All Blacks have won their last 41 test matches at home, having not lost since 2009.

Australia has not won in New Zealand since 2001, and Wellington has been an even unhappier hunting ground, with the Wallabies suffering their largest defeat at the ‘Cake Tin’ in 1996 (43-6).

The Wallabies have crossed for at least one try in each of their past 22 games on the road.

Key Match ups

Beauden Barrett vs Quade Cooper

Barrett put in a man-of-the-match performance in the opening Bledisloe Test, slicing through the Wallabies defence on numerous occasions to set up the All Blacks victory. On the other hand, Quade Cooper will have his first opportunity in the gold jersey in almost a year. Cooper has struggled in New Zealand in the past but will be eager to show that he’s matured as a player since his return from France.

Quade Cooper will play his first match for the Wallabies since September last year. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

Dane Coles vs Stephen Moore

Coles was forced to play 77 minutes of Test rugby last weekend despite a rib injury. He certainly didn’t look injured in his game time, winning the battle with Stephen Moore and even scoring one of the All Blacks’ six tries. Moore will be looking for more impact this weekend after making just six tackles and missing three throughout the match. He can expect the lineout to once again be targeted after having three lineouts stolen against his throw.

Dane Coles scores a try against the Wallabies last Saturday. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

Where will the game be won?

The Wallabies’ kicking game was well below par last Saturday and their cause wasn’t helped when left-footer Matt Giteau went off with an ankle injury after 11 minutes. The All Blacks targeted Bernard Foley and his field kicking with Jerome Kaino even scoring a try off a chargedown. Quade Cooper’s inclusion adds another dimension to Australia’s kicking game and it’s something Steve Hansen said on Thursday he expects the Wallabies to do more of on Sautrday night. New Zealand dominated field position last weekend off the back of the skillful boot of Barrett and his experience in Wellington’s wild weather will make him more threatening in the second Test.

All Blacks

15. Ben Smith 14. Israel Dagg 13. Malakai Fekitoa 12. Anton Lienert-Brown 11. Julian Savea 10. Beauden Barrett 9. Aaron Smith 8. Kieran Read — captain 7. Sam Cane 6. Jerome Kaino 5. Samuel Whitelock 4. Brodie Retallick 3. Owen Franks 2. Dane Coles 1. Joe Moody. Reserves: 16. James Parsons 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Charlie Faumuina 19. Liam Squire 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Aaron Cruden 23. Seta Tamanivalu.


15. Israel Folau 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper 13. Samu Kerevi 12. Bernard Foley 11. Dane Haylett-Petty 10. Quade Cooper 9. Will Genia 8. David Pocock 7. Michael Hooper 6. Scott Fardy 5. Adam Coleman 4. Kane Douglas 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Stephen Moore (captain) 1. Scott Sio. Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau 17. James Slipper 18. Allan Ala’alatoa 19. Dean Mumm 20. Will Skelton 21. Nick Phipps 22. Tevita Kuridrani 23. Reece Hodge.

You can watch the game LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Network 10 from 5:30pm AEST.

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