Wallabies and All Blacks at top strength
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The Wallabies are set to stick to their tried and true players while New Zealand are poised to make half a dozen changes to bolster their team for Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park.
Both teams will announce their sides on Thursday morning for what shapes as a major litmus test for the trans-Tasman rivals leading into next month’s World Cup.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has shown his hand in training over the past week, rewarding the starting 15 which outclassed the depleted South Africans 39-20 in their Tri-Nations opener 12 days ago in Sydney.
The only changes are expected on the bench where lock Dan Vickerman, halfback Luke Burgess and winger Lachie Turner are in line for promotions.
The All Blacks have key forward quartet Keven Mealamu, Owen Franks, Brad Thorn and Kieran Read all ready to return after being rested for last weekend’s 40-7 thumping of the Springboks.
Halfback Piri Weepu and winger Hosea Gear have shrugged off injury-riddled seasons to be in line for starts in the backline at the expense of Jimmy Cowan and Zac Guilford.
The Wallabies flew to New Zealand on Wednesday night desperate to end a 25-year drought in Auckland while the All Blacks want to continue their amazing record at Eden Park where they are unbeaten against all nations dating back 17 years.
A New Zealand victory will instantly retain the Bledisloe Cup for the eighth straight year.© AAP 2013
Wallabes vs Wales - Scott Allen's match highlights -