Rugby Championship – Week 1 – Wallabies vs. All Blacks Preview

The following is a preview with betting tips for the Rugby Championship Week 1 (and Bledisloe Cup) clash between the Wallabies and All Blacks. The game kicks off at 8:05 PM on Saturday the 16th of August. The venue is ANZ Stadium in Sydney and the referee is Jaco Peyper from South Africa.


Starters Australia New Zealand
15 – Fullback Israel Folau Ben Smith
14 – Right Wing Pat McCabe Cory Jane
13 – Outside Centre Adam Ashley-Cooper Conrad Smith
12 – Inside Centre Matt Toomua Ma’a Nonu
11 – Left Wing Rob Horne Julian Savea
10 – Fly-half Kurtley Beale Aaron Cruden
9 – Scrum Half Nic White Aaron Smith
8 – Number Eight Wycliff Palu Kieran Read
7 – Openside Flanker Michael Hooper (c) Richie McCaw (c)
6 – Blindside Flanker Scott Fardy Jerome Kaino
5 – Right Lock Sam Carter Sam Whitelock
4 – Left Lock Rob Simmons Brodie Retallick
3 – Tighthead Prop Sekope Kepu Owen Franks
2 – Hooker Nathan Charles Dane Coles
1 – Loosehead Prop James Slipper Wyatt Crockett
Replacements Australia New Zealand
16 James Hanson Keven Mealamu
17 Pekahou Cowan Ben Franks
18 Ben Alexander Joe Moody
19 Will Skelton Steve Luatua
20 Ben McCalman Sam Cane
21 Scott Higginbotham TJ Perenara
22 Nick Phipps Beauden Barrett
23 Bernard Foley Malakai Fekitoa
24 Tevita Kuridrani  
  (one to be omitted)  



The Wallabies have suffered twelve straight Bledisloe Cup series defeats but they do have cause for optimism. They will host the All Blacks twice this year and they enter this clash on the back of seven consecutive wins. The Waratahs’ Super Rugby triumph over the Crusaders two weeks ago has also been talked up by the Wallabies squad.

Coach Ewen McKenzie has surprised many by opting for Kurtley Beale at fly-half over regular Waratahs fly-half Bernard Foley. Beale has played at inside-centre all season for the Waratahs. Adam Ashley-Cooper is back to his preferred position at outside centre after spending the three-Test series against France on the wing. He gets the #13 jersey at the expense of Tevita Kuridrani. Ashley-Cooper is one of just three backline players retained from the June Test series, so backline cohesion will be under the spotlight on Saturday. In the forwards, lock James Horwill has missed out on selection, with McKenzie instead opting for the pairing of Sam Carter and Rob Simmons. With Totafu Polota-Nau and Stephen Moore unavailable due to injury, Nathan Charles will start at hooker.

All Blacks

After going undefeated in 2013, the All Blacks are gunning for a world-record 18th straight Test win this weekend. They have named a fairly predictable line-up for Saturday, with Ben Smith starting over Israel Dagg possibly the only talking point. Dagg also failed to make the reserves. As most had expected, Wyatt Crockett replaces the injured Tony Woodcock at loosehead prop with Joe Moody poised to make his potential debut off the bench. Aaron Cruden will start at fly-half in the absence of Dan Carter with Beauden Barrett named on the bench. After returning from overseas to play for the Blues this year, flanker Jerome Kaino returns to the starting line up with Liam Messam rested for this clash.

Head-to-head History

The All Blacks have won six and drawn once since the Wallabies last defeated them in a Bledisloe Cup dead-rubber in 2011. Worryingly for the Wallabies, the last three occasions they beat or drew the All Blacks were all Bledisloe Cup dead-rubbers. You have to go back to 2008 for the last time the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks when the Bledisloe Cup was still up for grabs.

ANZ Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for the All Blacks who have won their last four fixtures at this venue.

2013: Wallabies 29 – 47 All Blacks
2012: Wallabies 19 – 27 All Blacks
2010: Wallabies 22 – 23 All Blacks
2009: Wallabies 18 – 19 All Blacks
2008: Wallabies 34 – 19 All Blacks


Click here to compare bookmaker odds for the Wallabies vs. All Blacks

The Wallabies bring excellent momentum into this fixture, however the backline reshuffle may affect their continuity. The only real concern for the All Blacks will be the form of fly-half Aaron Cruden, who hasn’t looked at his best after coming back from injury mid-season. I expect a close encounter, with the All Blacks just coming out on top.

Conservative betting

Like the Waratahs vs. Crusaders clash two weeks ago, I think this will be a tightly contested affair that could go either way. I would back the both the Wallabies 1-12 at 3.75 (bet365) and the All Blacks 1-12 at 2.55 (Sportingbet).

Aggressive betting

While I think the All Blacks will edge this, of the two 1-12 wagers, the value lies with backing the Wallabies 1-12 at 3.75 (bet365). Another option is to back either team to win by 7 or less at 2.10 in the Tri Bet market (Sportsbet).

If you were dropped on your head as a baby

Two of the last four clashes between the two sides at this venue were settled by 1 point, as was the Super Rugby final two weeks ago. The last time the All Blacks faced the Wallabies with a potential record breaking streak on the line the final score was 18-18 (in 2012). With that in mind, I would place the following three wagers in the Exact Winning Margin market:

Australia by 1 – 23.00 (Sportingbet)
Draw – 26.00 (Sportingbet)
New Zealand by 1 – 23.00 (Sportingbet)

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