Pile into the ruck with Rugby Union tips for the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland as the Wallabies look to go one better than last week’s shock draw against the All Blacks.
14:00 (AEDT), Sun 11th Oct @ Sky Stadium, Wellington
History: Played 167: New Zealand 115 V Australia 44 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: October 11, 2020: 16-all draw at Sky Stadium
Final Thoughts: Rank outsiders heading into last Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup opener, Australia stunned the rugby world by sharing in a 16-all draw with 15.5-point favourites New Zealand.
But Dave Rennie’s first Test in charge of the Wallabies was also a lost opportunity to snatch a momentous win. The visitors clawed back to lead in the last 10 minutes, while Reece Hodge’s long-range penalty after the siren hit the post.
The positives, though, were overwhelming. The Wallabies’ work at the breakdown was a vast improvement on recent years. Their scramble defence was excellent and they regrouped after falling behind. Debutants Filipo Daugunu and Harry Wilson were two of the best players on the field. Halves Nic White and James O’Connor both had blinders.
On the evidence of 80-odd minutes in Wellington, Rennie has instilled a new mentality and hard edge.
But that can all get swept away by the might of the All Blacks. The likes of Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Aaron Smith had big games, but their star-studded backline was erratic. The likelihood of New Zealand failing to convert their opportunities as they did in Wellington is remote.
Winger George Bridge has been ruled out for six months with a pec injury. But that should give Caleb Clarke – damaging off the bench on debut – a chance to start. Few other changes are expected in either line-up.
All Blacks’ Eden Park advantage
Australia have managed just three wins in their last 24 Tests against their overbearing neighbours. But last week was the third trans-Tasman draw during that time.
The result also ended the All Blacks’ run of 23 consecutive Test wins against the Wallabies on home soil. Australia last bagged a win across in the Tasman in 2001 in Dunedin.
However, Australia now confront the Eden Park hoodoo – last winning at the venue in 1986. New Zealand are undefeated in Auckland against all comers since 1994. The Wallabies have lost all five Tests against the ABs at Eden Park since 2014 by at least 27 points – including last year’s 36-0 pre-World Cup beatdown.
Australia have again been afforded a 15.5-point start, with New Zealand $1.14 favourites head-to-head.
A historic win is probably beyond the Wallabies in all likelihood. But from a betting perspective, the rejuvenated green-and-golds are worth backing with the points.