PREVIEW: All Blacks v Australia second Test   25 Aug 2018

Andy Burt

24 AUG 2018

The All Blacks have the chance to wrap up the Bledisloe Cup and extend their unbeaten streak at Eden Park to 42 Tests when they take on the Wallabies on Saturday night.

Matches played: 162
All Blacks won: 112
Australia won: 43
Draw: 7
Last match: All Blacks 38, Australia 13 (18 August 2018)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 43-6 (1996)

Match details: All Blacks v Australia, Saturday 25 August, 7.35pm (NZT), Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

There's been a major re-shuffle in the All Blacks backline. With injuries ruling Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty out of the side, blockbusting mid-fielder Ngani Laumape will line up in the 12 jersey with his Hurricanes teammate Jordie Barrett coming into fullback. Ben Smith switches from fullback to the left wing with Waisake Naholo shifting to the right side. There are no changes in the starting pack with Ofa Tuungafasi the only change on the bench in place of last week's debutant Tim Perry.

Durable prop Owen Franks will become the ninth All Black to play 100 Test matches when he runs out on the field against Australia. The 30-year-old made his Test debut against Italy in Christchurch in 2009 at the age of 21, becoming the third youngest prop to be selected for the All Blacks. A strong scrummager and hard-hitting defender, Franks is regarded as one of the premier front rowers in the world. Franks also holds the unusual world record of playing the most Tests without scoring a try.

The Wallabies would have tried to not dwell too much on their first Test performance which saw a 6-5 halftime lead turn into a 13-38 loss. While the All Blacks were deadly on counter attack, a lot of the blame for Australia's loss has been directed at their set piece. Coach Michael Cheika has reacted by promoting props Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa to the starting line-up and dropping reserve hooker Tolu Latu from the squad altogether. With a week to fix the problems from the first Test, expect at vastly improved Australian set piece effort at Eden Park.

A capacity crowd of 48,511 will pack Eden Park for the trans-Tasman double header. The Black Ferns take on the Wallaroos at 5pm before the All Blacks and Wallabies square off at 7.35pm. Gates open at 4.30pm for the Black Ferns v Wallaroos Test with an opportunity to break the attendance record for a women's rugby international of 28,846 which was set last week in Sydney.
Eden Park has sold out for this weekends match, so don't miss out on seeing the #AllBlacks in 2018 - get your tickets for the Wellington Test match before they sell out!

While all eyes will be on the Wallaby tight five to see if they can tidy up their set piece shortcomings from last week, the clash of the halfbacks could be the most pivotal battle on the park. Last week Aaron Smith was one of the All Blacks best. From marshalling his pack around the park to kick-starting the All Blacks second half comeback, Smith was at his slick best. In the corresponding Test match in Dunedin last year, Wallabies halfback Will Genia almost sparked Australia to a famous victory. Genia will need to replicate that performance again if Australia are to break a three-decade long drought at Eden Park.

Kieran Read has scored six Test tries at Eden Park, more than any other forward at that level and twice as many as he has scored at any other venue in Tests.
THROWBACK | The rivalry between the #AllBlacks and Wallabies runs deep, and who could forget John Eales slotting the match-winning penalty in 2?0?0?0?

Another chapter will be added when the two teams meet this Saturday night at Eden Park ??#NZLvAUS— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 23, 2018

When looking at recent statistics it is hard to give the Wallabies much hope at Eden Park. They haven't won at Eden Park since 1986 and haven't tasted victory in New Zealand since 2001. But the All Blacks need only look back to last year to see how dangerous a wounded Wallabies side can be. After being thumped in Sydney last year, Australia leapt to a 17-0 lead over the All Blacks in Dunedin before being edged in the final moments.

All Blacks (caps in brackets)
1. Joe Moody (35) 2. Codie Taylor (33) 3. Owen Franks (99) 4. Brodie Retallick (69) 5. Samuel Whitelock (100) 6. Liam Squire (18) 7. Sam Cane (56) 8. Kieran Read - captain (110) 9. Aaron Smith (75) 10. Beauden Barrett (65) 11. Waisake Naholo (20) 12. Ngani Laumape (6) 13. Jack Goodhue (2) 14. Ben Smith (69) 15. Jordie Barrett (5)
Reserves: 16. Nathan Harris (14) 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe (4) 18. Ofa Tuungafasi (17) 19. Scott Barrett (20) 20. Ardie Savea (26) 21. TJ Perenara (46) 22. Damian McKenzie (16) 23. Anton Lienert-Brown (25)

1. Scott Sio (46 Tests) 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (83 Tests) 3. Allan Alaalatoa (24 Tests) 4. Izack Rodda (8 Tests) 5. Adam Coleman (24 Tests) 6. Lukhan Tui (8 Tests) 7. Michael Hooper (c) (83 Tests) 8. David Pocock (70 Tests) 9. Will Genia (91 Tests) 10. Bernard Foley (59 Tests) 11. Marika Koroibete (12 Tests) 12. Kurtley Beale (75 Tests) 13. Reece Hodge (28 Tests) 14. Jack Maddocks (1 Test) 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (22 Tests)
Reserves: 16. Folau Faingaa* 17. Tom Robertson (22 Tests) 18. Sekope Kepu (95 Tests) 19. Rob Simmons (86 Tests) 20. Pete Samu (4 Tests) 21. Nick Phipps (65 Tests) 22. Matt Toomua (34 Tests) 23. Tom Banks*

All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 22, 2018

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