Bledisloe Cup Game 3
|Australia vs New Zealand
Sat 8:00pm at Suncorp Stadium
|Best bet: Australia +12 ($1.90)
Value bet: Australia WIN ($4.25)
The last home test of the year sees the men in gold handed one last chance this year to knock off their arch rivals from across the ditch. The Wolf firmly believes this is as good a time as any for the Wallabies to break their Trans-Tasman drought.
Two huge enforced changes for the All Blacks with two World Rugby players of the year ruled out mid-week. Brodie Retallick has withdrawn due to personal reasons and will be replaced in the second row by Crusaders lock Scott Barrett, while Scott’s older brother Beauden has withdrawn due to ongoing concussion symptoms, Lima Sopoaga will partner Aaron Smith in the halves.
Just the one change to Michael Chieka’s Wallabies with boom rookie Izack Rodda ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Veteran lock Rob Simmons has been promoted to the starting side in his place, with Ned Hanigan recalled to the bench.
Last time they met
26 August 2017 – New Zealand 35 – 29 Australia
Stat that matters
Although the All Blacks have won the last 7 matches in a row against the Wallabies, Brisbane has been a relatively happy hunting ground for the Aussies. Last time they met in Milton NZ scraped home with a try and conversion after the siren to snatch victory. This result followed 2 draws and a Wallaby win at Suncorp stadium.
Bernard Foley vs Lima Sopoaga
No doubt Wallabies fans across the country breathed a sigh of relief with the news that Beauden Barrett had been ruled out of the final Bledisloe of 2017 and the Wolf firmly believes that this has swung the advantage in the Wallabies favour. Don’t get me wrong, Lima Sopoaga is a very good footballer and arguably the premier goal kicker in NZ rugby but he lacks the attacking flair and big game temperament that Beaudy brings to the table. Foley was excellent throughout the Rugby Championship and is now looks to be thriving having a settled halfback and centre paring either side of him, if the ‘iceman’ can sort out his recent goal kicking woes the Wolf can foresee an all gold party on Caxton street on Saturday night.
After an underwhelming June series and a disappointing opening Bledisloe in Sydney the Wallabies sprung to life in Dunedin and haven’t looked back. Despite losing on the bell that night, they have since gone on to be unbeaten in their last 4 outings. The All Blacks won the RC convincing winning every game. Both the Spring Boks and the Wallabies went close to knocking them off however and after the disappointment of the June Lions Series, All Blacks fans aren’t feeling as comfortable as this time last year.
How It’s shaping
The All Blacks are coming off another successful year and with the Bledisloe locked up safely in NZRU HQ for another 12 months you have to question the motivation of Saturday night’s game for the men in Black. The Wallabies have been building very nicely in 2017 and with their most settled side in some time, playing in front of a passionate QLD crowd this will be as good a time as any to knock off their arch rivals. Both Backlines look relatively even on paper and with Retallick out their forward is more vulnerable than usual. If Adam Coleman, Sean McMahon and Michael Hooper can get consistent go forward, holes will begin to appear out wide of which the Wallabies backs are good enough to exploit. The Wolf is putting his neck on the line for the last home test match of the year and predicting the Wallabies to upset the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium.
Wallabies by 6