Rugby Championship Round 2 – All Blacks vs. Wallabies Preview & Betting Tips

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The following is a preview with betting tips for the Round 2 Rugby Championship clash between the All Blacks and Wallabies. The game will be played at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on August 27, 2016. Kick-off is 7:35 PM local / 5:35 PM AEST. The referee is Romain Poite from France.

Following their 8-42 home defeat last weekend the Wallabies need to win this clash to keep their Bledisloe Cup hopes alive. With that being said, just about everyone has written off their chances.

All Blacks Squad

15. Ben Smith, 14. Israel Dagg, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 11. Julian Savea, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read (c), 7. Sam Cane, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Joe Moody

Reserves: 16. James Parsons, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Charlie Faumuina, 19. Liam Squire, 20. Ardie Savea, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Aaron Cruden, 23. Seta Tamanivalu

Beauden Barrett retains the No. 10 jersey after rewarding selectors with a Man of the Match performance last week.

With Ryan Crotty joining George Moala, Rene Ranger and Sonny Bill Williams on the sidelines, 21-year old Anton Lienert-Brown will make his Test debut at inside-centre. In a positional switch, Ben Smith will move to fullback with Israel Dagg shifting to the right wing. Waisake Naholo is out with injury so Julian Savea will start on the left wing with Seta Tamanivalu added to the bench.

In the forwards, following injuries to Nathan Harris and Codie Taylor, Dane Coles starts at hooker with James Parsons added to the bench. Joe Moody returns to the side to start at loosehead prop with Wyatt Crockett dropping to the bench.

Wallabies Squad

15. Israel Folau, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Samu Kerevi, 12. Bernard Foley, 11. Dane Haylett-Petty, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Will Genia, 8. David Pocock, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Scott Fardy, 5. Adam Coleman, 4. Kane Douglas, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Stephen Moore (capt), 1. Scott Sio

Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. James Slipper, 18. Allan Ala’alatoa, 19. Dean Mumm, 20. Will Skelton, 21. Tevita Kuridrani, 22. Reece Hodge, 23. Nick Phipps

With little to lose, coach Michael Cheika has rolled the dice and selected Quade Cooper at fly-half, with Bernard Foley shifting to inside-centre. Cooper will be partnered in midfield by Samu Kerevi, with Tevita Kuridrani dropping to the bench. Reece Hodge is poised to make his Test debut after being named on the bench.

In the forwards Scott Fardy returns to the starting XV with Ben McCalman dropping out of the squad. Another casualty of last week is Rob Simmons, who has missed out on the 23-man squad in favour of Adam Coleman. Will Skelton has been added to the bench.


The Wallabies enter this clash on a five-game losing streak, which is their worst run of form since 2005. The Wallabies are 1-2-11 in their last 14 clashes against the All Blacks.

The All Blacks enter this Test on a twelve-game winning streak. Their most recent defeat was at ANZ Stadium in the opening game of the 2015 Rugby Championship. Since June 2013 the All Blacks boast a 41-1-2 record. One of those defeats was to South Africa at Ellis Park while the other draw and defeat were both to Australia at ANZ Stadium. The last time the All Blacks lost on home soil was in 2009, when they fell 29-32 to South Africa in Hamilton. Since that defeat the All Blacks have won 41 matches on the trot at home. The last time the All Blacks lost in Wellington was in 2003, when they were beaten 13-15 by England.

Last Week’s Test in Sydney

The Wallabies were thrashed 8-42 at home last week. Most of the damage was done in the first half, with the home side down 3-32 at the break. The Wallabies perhaps had too much time to prepare, with the side incapable of matching the All Blacks’ physicality after such a long stretch without any competitive matches.

The Wallabies had been working with All Blacks skills coach Mick Byrne leading up to the fixture, but there was little improvement of skills on display, particularly on defence, where the Wallabies made 38 missed tackles and conceded 14 line breaks. The Wallabies’ line-out also performed poorly. The one upside for Australia is that they were more competitive in the second spell, even if the result was already beyond doubt by that point.

The New Zealand defence was fantastic all evening, with the Wallabies’ sole try coming when the Kiwis were down a player. Up until that point the Wallabies never looked like scoring. Beauden Barrett rewarded selectors for giving him the No. 10 jersey with a Man of the Match performance while the rest of the All Blacks dominated their counterparts.

The losses of centres Matt Giteau, Rob Horne and Matt Toomua didn’t help the Wallabies’ cause, but the All Blacks had been juggling numerous injuries themselves leading up to the clash and they suffered additional casualties during the Test as well, with Codie Taylor, Ryan Crotty and Waisake Naholo succumbing to injuries in the first half.


Below are the most recent head-to-head results on New Zealand soil.

2015 – Auckland: New Zealand 41-13 Australia
2014 – Auckland: New Zealand 51-20 Australia
2013 – Dunedin: New Zealand 41-33 Australia
2013 – Wellington: New Zealand 27-16 Australia
2012 – Auckland: New Zealand 22-0 Australia
2011 – Auckland: New Zealand 20-6 Australia
2011 – Auckland: New Zealand 30-14 Australia
2010 – Christchurch: New Zealand 20-10 Australia

The Wallabies can take heart this week from the fact that they have been comparatively more competitive when they’ve played away from Eden Park. This week’s clash is at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Game Preview

The Wallabies have rolled the dice by selecting Quade Cooper at fly-half in response to Bernard Foley’s poor tactical kicking performance last week. It is a risk because the last time Cooper played the All Blacks the Wallabies were comprehensively beaten 41-13 at Eden Park last year. Given nothing went right for the Wallabies in Sydney, you could argue it’s a risk worth taking, however. If the Wallabies do continue to kick possession away they will need to do so with better precision this week after the All Blacks scored four tries off kick returns in Sydney. The Wallabies will hope that Scott Fardy’s inclusion in the starting XV can improve their line-out performance after they lost five of their own line-out feeds in Round 1.

All Blacks management will be hoping complacency doesn’t creep in because it’s difficult to back up a superb performance with a similar effort. The selected Australian squad likely won’t concern them. They have had the edge over Cooper in recent history and in their last two meetings the All Blacks have shown they can nullify the Pocock-Hooper combination. Like the Wallabies, the All Blacks have their fair share of injury woes, but the quality of players they’re bringing in as cover is testament to the depth of rugby across the Tasman.

Betting News

In response to their heavy defeat last week, the Wallabies opened at +19.5 in the line market, making them the highest-priced underdogs in Bledisloe Cup history. The pessimism from punters isn’t helped by the fact that the Wallabies haven’t beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand since 2001.

The last time Australia opened as heavy underdogs was in 2012 when the All Blacks were 1.12 favourites at Eden Park. New Zealand won that clash 22-0.

Betting Tips

Head-to-head market

At the time of writing the best available head-to-head odds are:

Australia: 9.50 (Unibet)
New Zealand: 1.07 (Luxbet)

Despite the low odds the All Blacks appear to be the better value selection. They have won 41 straight Tests on home soil and were superior to the Wallabies all over the park last week. The fact that the Wallabies lost three straight Tests to England suggests they have a poor ability to made game-winning adjustments in a short amount of time.

Line market

Most bookmakers have installed the All Blacks as 18.5 to 19.5 point favourites.

In recent history the Wallabies have frequently hosted the first Bledisloe Cup Test with the All Blacks hosting the second Test a week later. Below are the most recent outcomes of these pairs of fixtures:

2015: AUS 27-19 NZL in Sydney followed by NZL 41-13 AUS in Auckland, representing a 36-point swing in favour of the All Blacks in one week.

2014: AUS 12-12 NZL in Sydney followed by NZL 51-20 AUS in Auckland, representing a 31-point swing in favour of the All Blacks in one week.

2013: AUS 29-47 NZL in Sydney followed by NZL 27-16 AUS in Wellington, representing a 7-point shift in favour of the Wallabies in one week.

2012: AUS 19-27 NZL in Sydney followed by NZL 22-0 AUS in Auckland, representing a 14-point shift in favour of the All Blacks in one week.

2011: Bledisloe Cup played in NZ first, then Australia

2010: AUS 28-49 NZL in Melbourne followed by NZL 20-10 AUS in Christchurch representing an 11-point shift in favour of the Wallabies in one week.

It appears the better the Wallabies do in the first Test, the bigger the swing against them in the second Test. In two out of the last three times the Wallabies lost at home in week 1, they lost by a smaller amount the following week in New Zealand.

The winning margin last week was 34 points. If the Wallabies can repeat an 11-point swing this week they would still lose by 23 points on Saturday. Based on this the All Blacks -18.5 at 1.92 (Luxbet) appears to be the better value selection. Keep in mind that the Wallabies lost the first June Test to England by 11 points, only to regress and lose the second Test by 16 points.


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