The Bledisloe Cup is upon us, the game between Trans-Tasman rivals the Wallabies and the All Blacks that usually serves as a precursor to the Rugby Championship. This weekend the All Blacks welcome the Wallabies to Eden Park where the Australians have not tasted victory in 35 years.
Discipline Being A Hindrance
Disciplinary issues from the Wallabies camp will definitely not help their cause as they seek to get their first win in Auckland since 1986, star winger Marika Koroibete, Isi Naisirani along with uncapped prop Pone Fa’amausili have been dropped for breaching the alcohol ruling within the Wallaby camp.
Commenting on the incident Dave Rennie emphasised that the team were building a team of working hard and that meant players need to be held accountable for their actions. “These three players haven’t lived up to that and we have taken a very clear stance, ultimately these three men have paid a big price for their decisions, but that’s the standard we expect of each other,” Rennie added.
The loss of Marika Koroibete in particular is a big one, he is a model of consistency and the experience he brings in a youthful Australian side is invaluable.
Youth v Experience
The Australian side that took on a strong French side was largely very good despite its youth, that being said the French side they took was also relatively young and they now get to take on a very experienced All Blacks side.
The youthful exuberance that Rennie has opted for seems to have Australian Rugby on the right track in the quest to rebuild their team and bring back the aura that existed during the days of Matt Gitaeu, Stirling Mortlock and if we look back a little further when John Eales and Tim Horan were players propelling Australia to be amongst the elite.
The All Blacks’ experience is seen across the board with 2 of the finest locks to play the game in the second row while the experience of Cody Taylor and Ardie Savea will come in handy in the front and back rows respectively. Experience doesn’t always guarantee success, Noah Loselio, who is expected to start, has acclimatised to Test match rugby much faster than his opposite number Richie Mo’unga, so could the youngster outclass Mo’unga? It remains to be seen.
Celebrating A Great Of The Game
One of the most experienced players in the All Blacks side will run out for his 100th Test match for the All Blacks, Aaron Smith has been a rock at scrumhalf for the New Zealanders for the best part of the last decade and is rightly considered one of the greatest scrumhalves of all time.
The motivation to mark his century of Test caps with a win will almost be the biggest motivation for an All Black side who have been inspired to victory by Smith on countless occasions. Bledisloe 1 will be no different, Smith will be a huge factor in how the game swings at Eden Park on Saturday.
Predictions and Best Bet
The Wallabies are a much-improved side over the last year and a bit under Rennie, they may have even made more progress were it not for the pandemic that has distracted just about everything in the sporting world, but it is unlikely that they have made enough progress to dethrone the All Blacks at the Eden Park, particularly not on crown Prince Smith’s Day of celebration.
All Blacks to run away with it in the last quarter and get a comfortable victory at the very least.