The Storyline: The All Blacks have one hand on the Bledisloe after dismantling the Wallabies’ defence last week, scoring eight tries and winning 54-34 – after leading 54-6 at one stage early in the second half. The Kiwis have made two changes to the starting team with Dane Coles coming back in at hooker position and Nepo Laulala replacing the injured Owen Franks. The Aussies have promoted Rob Simmons, Tevita Kurdarni and Dane Haylett-Petty to the starting team.
- New Zealand is on a six-match winning streak against Australia, scoring at least 29 points and winning by margins of 17 points or more.
- The All Blacks have won their last 20 Tests against the Wallabies on home soil (the Aussies’ last victory across the Tasman was in Dunedin in 2001).
- The All Blacks boast a 13-1 record against the Wallabies in Dunedin.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 24, 2017
Three Key Match-ups
Dane Coles v Stephen Moore – Coles is returning from more concussion symptoms and he will want to re-establish himself as the world’s best hooker. Moore didn’t have the best game last week and this is surely his final chance to show everyone that he is still Australia’s best No.2.
Sam Cane v Michael Hooper – Both pretty quiet in the first Test. Hooper needs to get his hands dirty more often in this game to try and slow down the All Blacks’ attack. Instead of his hybrid role as a forward/back, the best way to help his team is to be a scavenging openside flanker. Cane always seems to have a low-key game, but statistically he generally tops the tackle and runs made list. A battle of the breakdown!
Damien McKenzie v Israel Folau – Folau will only help his team by getting involved more; this may start by the fullback making a few one-on-one tackles. If he can get his defence right, his attack will come, and that’s what Australia needs. McKenzie had a blinder last week – he needs to continue to be confident running the ball back and keep busy. Hopefully both players, who are among the most exciting players in world rugby, have a great game and can put on a spectacle.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 23, 2017
The Verdict: Let’s not beat around the bush, the All Blacks will win and win convincingly. Believe it or not, Kiwis want the Wallabies to do well – they want a game to watch, not a slaughter! The Wallabies have plenty attacking flair and ability, they just need to shore up their defence and get some front-foot ball. Sounds easy, but it’s hard to put into practice against the world’s best team. The All Blacks will hopefully keep playing with an abundance of confidence and retain the attacking mindset they took into the Sydney clash. Let’s hope for a close one, but… All Blacks by 20
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 24, 2017