The first Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship game of the season is being played this Saturday morning between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks. There is a fierce rivalry between Australia and New Zealand and it’s the home side that needs to show their worth.
The Wallabies are playing in front of a home crowd in Sydney and having lost the last 14 Bledisloe Cup series against New Zealand, there will be plenty on the line this Saturday. Bookmakers believe it will be a one-sided affair in favour of three-time World Cup champions the All Blacks, but Australia shouldn’t be overlooked on the big stage.
Australian Wallabies form
The Wallabies haven’t been in great form this year and the head-to-head odds reflect that. They have lost four of their last six games, which included shocking losses to the French Barbarians and Scotland. They only narrowly escaped being beaten by Italy in June and a much better performance will be needed on this occasion.
Australia hasn’t beaten the All Blacks since 2015 when they won by 27-19 and the losses have come by big margins in five games since. The form doesn’t read well for Australia, but they tend to find their best when their backs are up against the wall and that’s certainly the situation this Saturday.
Australia have gone with a good mix of youth and experience to try and counter the attacking force of the All Blacks and we that should hold them in good stead going forward this competition.
New Zealand All Blacks form
There are cause for concern about this All Blacks side after they managed only a 1-1 draw against the Lions in a three-test series in July.
The All Blacks scored a 15-15 draw in the final test match which included many injuries, but they have had time to recover and most of their top-flight players at back at their usual positions.
It’s fair to say that the All Blacks have dominated both Australia and all other Rugby Championship competition since the new millennium and despite losing players like Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, the All Black conveyer belt continues to produce top talent. Prior to the Lions series, the All Blacks thumped Samoa 78-0 and considering they beat Italy 68-10 and Australia could manage only a narrow win against them, this could be a one-sided contest.
The last five Bledisloe Cup meetings against Australia have been one sided, but playing in Sydney is a daunting task and Australia have pulled off the odd upset at home in recent times. The All Blacks can show some rust at times, but they should be battle hardened after a tough Lions series.
All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said the team is focusing on converting pressure into points ahead of Saturday’s game. “At test match level, it doesn’t matter who you are, you have got to make sure that if you have got a team on the ropes that you take advantage of it and we weren’t as good as we needed to be,” he said in reference to their Lions drawn series.
“That’s why I’ve said this is a massive game for us in Sydney. For us it’s a big chance to start getting the game back where we want it to be.”
Wallabies second rower Adam Coleman is confident they can beat the All Blacks and believes his team has grown since a tough international series in June.
“The boys believe now more than ever that this weekend we can beat the All Blacks,” Coleman said. “The growth the team has experience over the last four weeks, not only physically but mentally, that mental resilience and that hard training we’ve been doing especially with the younger guys… I think it’s paid dividends.”
Bledisloe Cup 1st Test betting tips
The All Blacks are the firm 1/9 favourite to beat the Wallabies on Saturday and there’s no value betting that option. The line market has been set at 16.5 which appears to be right on the mark and we’re not confident that the All Blacks can cover such a big line. They are the dominant side, but Australia could put up a fight and there’s a better value option with bookmakers. All Blacks to win by 7 or more is paying 3/10 at bet365.com and that’s the way to go for value.