Last week’s thrilling encounter saw the All Blacks storm into an early second half lead, before Australia clawed it all the way back only to be controversially punished in the dying minutes by referee Mathieu Raynal for time wasting. New Zealand claimed a last gasp winner to go top of the Rugby Championship table, though they’ll need a bonus point victory here to ensure they claim the title, with the Springboks currently level on points at the top.
The Wallabies showed real grit and character in the last test to come back from 31-13 down with 20 minutes left on the clock to lead 37-34 in the dying moments, and they’ll need to channel their frustration into this second test. The return of Andrew Kallaway was a massive boost for the Green and Gold as the winger started just his second test of 2022, scoring two tries on his return to the line-up and he could cause some more issues for the All Black back-line this time round.
All Blacks –15 Point Handicap
While Dave Rennie’s side looked the better outfit in the last game, they were buoyed by a sold out home crowd, and now that the shoe is on the other foot they may be up against it playing away at Eden Park.
Indeed, Australia have now lost 22 consecutive tests against New Zealand here at Eden Park, a run stretching all the way back to 1986, before the professional era. It’s not as though Australia have run them close at this venue recently either, with eight of the last nine meetings here seeing the hosts run out at least 20-point winners, with an average point difference of 26.1 across those nine games dating back to October 2011.
The one thing that is on the visitors’ side is that this is one of the weaker New Zealand teams in recent memory, and their results serve to support that. Indeed, despite their narrow win at the weekend and their thumping victory over Argentina in their previous outing, Ian Foster’s side have still lost six of their last 10 matches, and they’re now going for three successive wins over tier one nations for the first time in a year.
Sam Whitelock will lead the side in the absence of Sam Cane, who is one of a number of forced changes for the hosts, with Scott Barrett, David Havili and Quinn Tupaea also unavailable. Ultimately, though, it’s not too much of a depleted side and the return of Ardie Savea is a big boost too.
It’s rare the Australia take the spoils against the All-Blacks, or even give them a good run for their money, and having done so last week, we’d expect that to wake the hosts up and we can see another Eden Park demolition on the horizon, and we’re happy to get behind that with last wek’s result bolstering the handicap line somewhat.
ALL BLACKS –15 POINT HANDICAP
All Blacks v Australia Teams
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