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New Zealand vs Australia
The Rugby Championship, 25 August, 2018
|Fulltime - New Zealand 40, Australia 12|
|Referee: Wayne Barnes|
|Touch judges: Jaco Peyper & Luke Pearce|
|TMO: Marius Jonker|
A Beauden Barrett masterclass has seen the All Blacks bring home the Bledisloe Cup for the sixteenth time in a row, clinching the series at 2-0 with a victory at Eden Park on Saturday night.
All Blacks 40
The Wallabies will look to reverse history when they travel to Auckland, with the All Blacks looking to win their 16th Bledisloe Cup in a row. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage of Game 2 from 5:35pm (AEST).
Australia were right in the battle during the first half of Game 1 in Sydney, but then got blown off the park during the second half, with their lineouts and scrums letting them down.
By the time it was all said and done, New Zealand had taken a convincing 38-13 victory, flipping a 6-5 halftime deficit.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for the Wallabies. They have lost all of their last 17 matches at Eden Park against their Tasman rivals, with the last victory coming way back in 1986.
No Folau means Dean Haylett-Petty shifts to fullback, and he will have big shoes to fill, with the first choice fullback being the big spark to Australia’s attack. Tom Maddocks takes the spot on the wing.
In saying that, they only scored two tries during the first game of the series, with the All Blacks charging away during the second half.
If the Wallabies are to turn things around, they are going to need improvement in both their lineouts and scrums. They gave away countless penalties, lost a stack of lineouts and dropped the ball on countless occasions, inviting the All Blacks to continually attack their line.
The scrum problem for Australia will also attempt to be corrected, with Allan Alaalatoa coming into the starting side.
While the Australian second half was a trainwreck, there is still the fact that if New Zealand are on top of their game, they simply won’t be beaten.
The All Blacks are the best team in the world by a significant distance, and even when they played poorly during the first half, they never fell further behind than six points.
While New Zealand are a mile ahead on paper, they aren’t without their own issues. Ryan Crotty and Rieko Ioane are out of the second Test with concussion and a hamstring injury respectively. Ngani Laumape plays in the centres, while Jordie Barrett plays fullback and Ben Smith moves onto the wing.
Their combinations need to flow, but even if they don’t, any Australian attacking onslaught will require their halves – Bernard Foley and Will Genia – to be heavily involved in the contest.
Away from home though, it just looks like clutching at straws.
The Wallabies have had an awful time at Eden Park over the years and without Folau, that’s not about to change. The All Blacks are at unbackable odds and it’s not hard to see why.
New Zealand by 18.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of Game 2 from 5:35pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment throughout the course of the coverage.