Live rugby updates: All Blacks v Wallabies, Bledisloe Cup II at Eden Park in Auckland
All the action between the All Blacks and Wallabies in Bledisloe II.
All you need to know ahead of the All Blacks’ clash against Australia at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday, 14 August, kick-off at 7.05pm:
The All Blacks will once again be hoping Eden Park will live up to its history of being a fortress for the team when they face Australia in Bledisloe II tonight, even if an underwhelming crowd is predicted.
Last week saw New Zealand post an unconvincing 33-25 win over the Wallabies at the same venue, though that time it was packed with over 47,000 people.
This week, the stadium could be half full at best after NZ Rugby was forced to move the test from Wellington – due to the transtasman bubble closure and a scheduling clash with Beervana – and stage the fixture on eight days notice. So sluggish are sales that Sky Sport offered subscribers two for one tickets from Friday.
Part of the lack of uptake can, perhaps, be attributed to apathy with the Wallabies. One further win and the All Blacks will claim the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th straight year – a staggering record that fuels the perception wins come easy against Australia, when the reality is often far removed.
Ian Foster was forced to make two positional tweaks to his backline following Anton Lienert-Brown’s knee injury.
Rieko Ioane will shift infield to start in the No. 13 jersey, while Will Jordan moves into the starting right wing spot.
Halfback TJ Perenara has also been named to the gameday squad to make his return to test rugby off the bench.
Meanwhile, Dave Rennie has named a strong team that is fully transparent in its attempt to target the All Blacks pack.
Matt To’omua’s inclusion at second five-eighth adds an experienced head, as well as goal kicking insurance, and Marika Koroibete’s return brings a genuine world-class attacking threat.
In recalling card magnet Lachie Swinton at blindside and Matt Philip to the second-row, Rennie clearly wants his pack to lift their aggression and apply his trademark breakdown pressure.
All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower.
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett.
Australia: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Hunter Paisami, Matt To’omua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Lachlan Swinton, Matt Philip, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, James Slipper.
Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Harry Wilson, Nic White, Len Ikitau, Reece Hodge.
Last five tests
2020: All Blacks 20, Australia 20, Wellington
2020: All Blacks 27, Australia 7, Auckland
2020: Australia 5, All Blacks 43, Sydney
2020: Australia 24, All Blacks 22, Brisbane
2021: New Zealand 33, Australia 25, Auckland
All Blacks: $1.07
Points start: -21.5 All Blacks
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