After two dour fixtures involving a second string Springboks side, this Bledisloe Cup fixture is the first interesting game of the Tri Nations. The All Blacks will start heavy favourites as they host Australia in Auckland. Kick off is at 5:30 PM AEST. Australia and New Zealand are only playing two Bledisloe Cup matches this year, which makes it a big ask for Australia to take the trophy before the World Cup.
Nathan Sharpe has been dumped from the Wallabies squad for Saturday’s clash. The Western Force captain has lost out to Dan Vickerman in the 24-man squad.
Squad to travel to NZ: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Quade Cooper, Pekahou Cowan, Rocky Elsom, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill, Digby Ioane, Sekope Kepu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, James O’Connor, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, Dan Vickerman (source: smh.com.au).
All Blacks Squad
After spending two weeks with his family, second-rower Brad Thorn returns to the team. Sitiveni Sivivatu limped out of training on Tuesday with a knee injury, but it’s unclear out serious it is.
The Game Itself
History is certainly against the Wallabies. The two sides have played 14 tests at Eden Park in Auckland, and the All Blacks have won 13 of them, including the last 10. Australia’s solitary victory at the stadium was in 1986. New Zealand will be desperate to win this test, as it would enable them to enter the World Cup with unbeaten home form. Likewise, the Wallabies will be desperate for a win so they can show they can beat NZ on their home soil. Based on their games against South Africa, where Australia won 39-20 and NZ won 40-7, the All Blacks looked to be a better outfit, as highlighted by the miserly 7 points that they gave up to the Springboks.
The weather will have a big impact on the line betting. A soggy day may even things up a bit. The current forecast for Auckland is ‘Becoming cloudy, showers developing.’
At the time of writing the head to head and line odds are:
Head to head
|All Blacks||– 1.28 (Luxbet)|
|Wallabies||– 4.26 (Pinnacle Sports)|
|All Blacks (-11)||– 1.90|
|Wallabies (+11)||– 1.90|
I expect an All Blacks victory, but the head-to-odds are incredibly stingy. I’m inclined to leave these odds alone.
My tip is for the All Blacks to win by 10, so it’s touch and go whether to back the Wallabies (+11) in a line bet.
Backing the All Blacks to win by 1-13 with Luxbet (odds pending) could be a decent option.
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