Palmerbet Sports Team preview the second-round Rugby Championship match-up between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, with the Aussies aiming to end 32 years of Eden Park torture.
17:35 (AEST), Sat 25th Aug @ Eden Park, Auckland
History: Played 162: New Zealand 112 V Australia 43 (7 Draws).
Last meeting: August 18, 2018: New Zealand 38 d Australia 13 at ANZ Stadium.
Final Thoughts: The Wallabies head to their perennial graveyard, Auckland’s Eden Park, to take on the All Blacks with the odds stacked against them after a heavy defeat in Sydney last week in the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener.
Australia started promisingly at ANZ Stadium, producing an outstanding defensive display in the first half before conceding the opening try just before the break to lead 6-5. But New Zealand’s attacking brilliance and all-round relentlessness came to the fore as they ran in five dazzling tries in the second stanza to run out emphatic 38-13 victors.
Central to the Wallabies’ problems – aside from the man-to-man gulf in class across the park – was the set-piece. Their lineout and scrum were a shambles.
Meanwhile, Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick were out of this world for the ABs.
Australia’s chances of a boilover have taken a further hit with Israel Folau ruled out; Dane Haylett-Petty moves to fullback and Jack Maddocks gets a maiden start on the wing. Props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa come into a rejigged front-row.
Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty are out of the New Zealand line-up with injury, replaced by Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape respectively. Barrett comes in at fullback with Ben Smith shifting to the wing.
Australia have won just two of the last 20 trans-Tasman Test matches, though they did end a seven-match losing run against the All Blacks with a gritty and much-deserved 23-18 win in Brisbane in October last year.
But the Wallabies have lost 21 straight Tests to the All Blacks on New Zealand soil – their last win was in Dunedin in 2001 – and have not won at Eden Park since 1986, losing 17 in a row at the venue. The last six encounters at Eden Park were decided by 14 points or more, with the All Blacks winning the last three there by 27-plus.
To ram home the Eden Park advantage, no visiting nation has beaten the All Blacks since 1994. The hosts’ unbeaten run in Auckland stands at 41 matches.
Even the Wallabies’ best performance is unlikely to be enough to run the explosive All Blacks close in front of a baying home crowd.