It’s time for the Bledisloe Cup to again go on the line.
There’s a real sense across the ditch the Wallabies could finally break their drought and nab the prized trophy, too, given the All Blacks’ well-documented struggles.
Indeed, the All Blacks are yet to string back-to-back wins together during a year they’ve won three tests and lost four.
Should Ian Foster’s men finally back up a good performance with another, the All Blacks will lock up the second most trophy to them behind the World Cup with next week’s Eden Park test to play. They’d also go a long way to bagging the Rugby Championship, no doubt well and truly hushing Foster’s detractors.
What: Rugby Championship / Bledisloe Cup, All Blacks v Wallabies
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Kickoff: Thursday, 9.45pm
All Blacks: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Cane (captain), Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan de Groot. Reserves: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.
Wallabies: Andrew Kellaway, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koribete, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Rob Leota, Matt Philip, Jed Holloway, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, James Slipper (c). Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Pone Fa’amausili, Darcy Swain, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France).
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
All Blacks $ 1.27, Wallabies $ 3.70, draw $ 21
Played 173, All Blacks 120 wins, Wallabies 45 wins, 8 draws