Pile into the ruck with Rugby Union tips for the fourth 2020 instalment of Bledisloe Cup action as the Wallabies host the All Blacks in Brisbane.
19:45 (AEDT), Sat 7th Nov @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
History: Played 169: New Zealand 117 V Australia 44 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: October 31, 2020: New Zealand 43 d Australia 5 at ANZ Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Wallabies and All Blacks gear up for their fourth Bledisloe Cup encounter (and the second in the Rugby Championship) in the space of a month. For the promising Australian regime under Dave Rennie, however, each week has proven more challenging than the last against their relentless neighbours.
Australia, 15.5-point underdogs heading into both New Zealand-hosted matches, pulled off a shock 16-all draw in Wellington. But after a hard-fought first half in Auckland, the All Blacks powered to a 27-7 win via three unanswered second-half tries.
Last week’s RC opener in Sydney was anything but a happy homecoming for the Wallabies. The All Blacks rocketed to a 26-0 halftime lead – featuring a mesmerising brace of tries from Richie Mo’unga – before cruising to a record 43-5 victory.
It could have been a whole lot worse for Australia had they not been able to keep New Zealand try-less for the first 30 minutes of the second stanza. But there were few other positives to glean for Rennie and co.
Big changes for both teams
Inside-back debutants Noah Lolesio and Irae Simone tried hard but looked out of their depth. Rennie has pulled the rug out from under the youngsters by naming Reece Hodge at flyhalf and Hunter Paisami in the No.12 with James O’Connor and Matt To’omua still unavailable. Meanwhile, Tom Banks returns at fullback and Tom Wright comes onto the wing. Lachlan Swinton and Rob Simmons are the new faces in the starting pack.
The All Blacks’ line-up has also undergone a shake-up, though it offers little respite for the hosts. Beauden Barrett moves to the No.10 jersey with Mo’unga given a rest, while Jordie Barrett shifts to fullback. Ngani Laumape, Rieko Ioane and Sevu Reece join the starting backline. Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane, Scott Barrett and Codie Taylor receive run-on chances in the forwards.
Brisbane record provides hope for Wallabies
The Wallabies have won just three of their last 27 Tests against the All Blacks overall. But they have won two of the last four on Australian soil – a 23-18 victory in Brisbane in 2017 and a stunning 47-26 result in Perth last year.
The last four Bledisloe clashes at Suncorp Stadium have garnered two wins and a draw for the Wallabies. The All Blacks’ sole win at the ground in the past 12 years was by a solitary point courtesy of a Malakai Fekitoa try at the death. The margin in the last 13 Brisbane-hosted Tests – dating back to the 1960s – has never been more than seven points.
But the run of River City cliff-hangers appears destined to end. Expect a more stoic defensive effort from the Wallabies, but the All Blacks have too much firepower to be contained despite their mass line-up changes.