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The Wallabies have won the final Bledisloe Cup game of the year, defeating the All Blacks 24-22 at Suncorp Stadium to end the four-match series on a high.
All Blacks 22
The Wallabies will welcome the All Blacks to Brisbane in the final game of the 2020 Bledisloe Cup series as they look to get back on the right track and build some momentum for their Tests against Argentina. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of what promises to be an exciting match starting from 7:45pm (AEDT).
Both Dave Rennie and Ian Foster have made a number of changes for this final game in the series so fans will get to see some new combinations and faces – some more surprising than others.
For the home side Rennie has made nine changes as a result of injury and form and some have really caught the eye. Perhaps the biggest surprise is Reece Hodge starting at number ten, replacing Noah Lolesio. Lolesio didn’t have a good game in Sydney but Hodge hasn’t played flyhalf for the Rebels this year and has only worn the jersey once for the Wallabies and that was three years ago against Japan. Lolesio will come off the bench so perhaps this move is about protecting him a little and hints to a more simple, direct game plan from the Wallabies.
Lachie Swinton’s selection supports this idea that we’ll see a more direct, aggressive game plan as he replaces Ned Hanigan. There are some who feel he’s not ready yet for Test match duty and considering the way the All Blacks were able to gain plenty of ground attacking the short side in Sydney, Swinton is in for a baptism of fire. But if he can get in some early hits and get himself into the game, he does have the confrontational style of play that could knock the All Blacks off their game.
Following that hard-running pattern, Rennie has picked Hunter Paisami at inside centre to replace the more attack-minded Irae Simone. The final form and game-plan switch in the starting XV is Tom Wright for Filipo Daugunu on the wing and not many will be surprised by this one after the game Daugunu had in Sydney.
The other changes see Tom Banks replace Dane Haylett-Petty at fullback, Rob Simmons for Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in the second row and then on the bench Angus Bell is in for Scott Sio, Folau Fainga’a for Jordan Uelese and Liam Wright for Fraser McReight.
That’s a lot of changes and you have to ask where the attacking creativity is going to come from to unlock the All Blacks. Nicholas Bishop wrote on The Roar earlier this week that the Wallabies had failed to “control the controllables” in Game 3 and had struggled to defend in the areas that they knew the All Blacks would be targeting. This new-look side isn’t really a side for the future but can it be a side that plays a successful, tighter game tonight and get a result?
For the All Blacks there are plenty of changes too with Akira Ioane getting his first cap (how many of you were shocked to hear that he hadn’t played for the All Blacks already?) and Asafo Aumua, Cullen Grace and Will Jordan all ready to come on from the bench.
In the backs there’s a lot of moving around. Richie Mo’unga is rested and replaced at ten by Beauden Barrett. Jordie Barrett will move to fullback and then Sevu Reece will take the empty wing spot. Ngani Laumape and TJ Perenara will start too and Reiko Ioane moves out one spot to wing.
Codie Taylor is back in, Scott Barrett will start at lock replacing Patrick Tuipulotu and Ardie Savea will start at number eight.
The 16-all draw from Bledisloe 1 feels like a distant memory and both Wallabies fans and players alike couldn’t be blamed for wondering whether it was actually a dream. While the Cup itself might be staying in New Zealand for another year, this dead rubber really does matter. Play well, gain confidence and then beat Argentina and things will feel much better. Lose badly in Brisbane, stutter against the Pumas and maybe win just one of those games and it’s a different story for Dave Rennie and his team.
The Wallabies are understandably big underdogs but after the pain of Sydney they will be desperate to put in a performance that they and their fans can be proud of. However, while the effort will be there, the skill and the experience just isn’t there yet to challenge this All Blacks side.
All Blacks by ten.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 7:45pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go
Odds: Wallabies $6.05, All Blacks $1.13
1. James Slipper, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rob Simmons, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Nic White, 10. Reece Hodge, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Hunter Paisami, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Tom Banks. Bench: 16. Folau Fainga’a, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Ned Hanigan, 20. Liam Wright, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Noah Lolesio, 23. Filipo Daugunu
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Scott Barrett, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Sam Cane (c), 8. Ardie Savea, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Rieko Ioane, 12. Ngani Laumape, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Jordie Barrett. Bench: 16. Asafo Aumua, 17. Alex Hodgman, 18. Tyrel Lomax, 19. Patrick Tuipulotu, 20. Cullen Grace, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Damian McKenzie, 23. Will Jordan