These two teams meet at Eden Park for the second time in a week and the result has a certain amount of inevitability about it.
Australia did put in a better showing in the opening Test of this Bledisloe Cup though, being some 12 points inside the handicap line, but there was always only going to be one winner.
New Zealand extended their spectacular unbeaten run at Eden Park on Saturday to 44 matches dating back to 1994, as they’ve drawn just twice over that period – versus South Africa in 1994 and the British and Irish Lions in 2017.
With this next encounter also being the first of the 2021 Rugby Championship, it puts that extra bit on the line for both sides, not to mention a win for the Kiwis would secure the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th consecutive year.
Goal kicking let the Aussies down with Noah Lolesi making just two of his seven attempts. Although it was a windy day, they’ll still be expecting more from the flyhalf and perhaps Dave Rennie’s selection has been based around their goalkicking.
Australia +22 Point Handicap
Matt To’omua comes in at inside centre and he is more than capable of handling the pressure on the big stage, while the other changes see Lachlan Petaia, Matt Philip and the exciting Marika Koroibete come into the starting team from last weekend.
Ian Foster has also made a few changes from his winning side, Rieko Ioane, who was phenomenal last weekend, slots in at outside centre, the tryscoring machine that is Will Jordan fills in on the wing and TJ Perenara moves onto the bench in what looks another very strong All Blacks side.
You have to go back to 1986 for the last time the visitors managed to win at this stadium, but based on what we saw in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash we’d be surprised if they can cover the even bigger 22 point handicap this time around.
There is no denying that the hosts are the most likely winners, but given the way the opener panned out, the current 94% chance of victory that the odds suggest looks too big for this matchup between the Tier One nations, and we’ll get behind Rennie’s men to make another game of it.
All Blacks v Wallabies Teams
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Australia: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Matt Phillip, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20 Harry Wilson, 21 Nic White, 22 Len Ikitau, 23 Reece Hodge.