Rugby is back!
It has been a while since we have seen international rugby on our screens but nonetheless we have that wave and this is sure to be a cracker.
The Bledisloe cup kicks off this weekend therefore igniting the good old Trans-Tasman rivalry between the Wallabies and the almighty All Blacks.
With the recent internationals past us there is sure to be a sense of the unknown. The Wallabies will be sure at looking to make amends for the June test losing to England 0-3, in which the Wallabies were too predictable going forward however, they did mix things up in the third and final test.
Whereas, the All Blacks were strong defeating the spirited Welsh 3-0 on home soil. A whitewash is good to kick off the international season but there first game in particular against the Welsh. There surely was some questions to be asked as they were rusty to begin and only seized to get over the line in the final 20 minutes in the first test. Since that first game though the All Blacks took control of the situation playing a better fluid style of rugby.
So with the June tests past us and with both sides playing a three game series and having experience since the rugby world cup final what should we look out for in this weeks Bledisloe cup?
Injury ravaged All Blacks
The All Blacks have been hit with huge blow leading up to the bledisloe cup and the rugby championship opener due to injuries. These casualties include the likes of Sony Bill Williams, George Moala and hooker Nathan Harris. All of which are a vital part to the All Black’s set up. But the question leading up the clash at ANZ Stadium, with these injuries in mind is that are the All Blacks vulnerable?
The answer here would probably be no. The way the All Blacks are set up means they have plenty of options when occurrences like this happens. With Moala and Harris out of the opening game it means that Highlander Malakai Fekitoa will partner up with Crusader man Ryan Crotty. Dane Coles who was injured during the Super Rugby season with a rib injury will be on the bench as the All Blacks may be in desperate need of his return.
Wallabies will not want to lose five tests in a row.
If there is one thing you can count on in this opener it is that the Wallabies will want to win. It may sound cliche but if you look at the past four results you will understand why. The Wallabies are coming off a World Cup final defeat at the hands of the All Blacks as well as coming off a three game series whitewash against England. If the Wallabies do in fact lose this opener it will be the fifth in a row.
With that in mind their have been changes coming to the green and gold camp. The inclusion of Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper is an indiction that the Aussies mean business and will be looking to take the game on. They will no doubt add to the attacking flair for the Wallabies, one thing that was lacking in the June test series against the Poms.
Another thing the Aussies cannot afford to do is to be too predictable. During the England series the Wallabies were too predictable in this format of the game plan and therefore the English defence knew what was coming every time. They need to mix their runs, work the angles particularly when going forward, then they will have every chance of winning the game.
where the game will be won and lost will no doubt be at the front row. This means the scrum is a vital part in the game as it enables
All Blacks record at ANZ
The All Blacks have been the most dominant team in rugby however, there may be on big challenge on their hands. That is in fact the venue. The first test of the Bledisloe and the Rugby Championship is at ANZ Stadium a stadium that the All Blacks have not dominated.
This may in fact help heal the nerves for Wallabies fans.
The All Blacks have not won a game at ANZ since 2013.
It is a fortress for the Wallabies and one they will no doubt hold onto. The recent Bledisloe at the ANZ resulted in a 27-19 victory to the Wallabies which just gives you an indication as how tough it is for the All Blacks to get a win at the venue.
Whatever happens this is sure to be a cracking game of rugby.