Later today, Australia will try once more to stop the All Black Tri-Nations onslaught as they face off in Sydney. It’ll be the last game of the Tri-Nations tournament for the All Blacks, who clinched the Tri-Nations title this year against South Africa at “Soccer City” Stadium.
The only question left to ask is – Can the Australians do it?
Recently the Aussie ended a 45+ year drought of winning any matches at higher altitudes by beating South Africa, and are only making one change to the Wallabies lineup that won that match. They are now hoping to break another bad streak and keep their current loss streak to the All Blacks in single digits at nine.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have won every Tri-Nations game this year, what would make this match any different? When they beat Australia in game two of the series (in Christchurch) the Wallabies were playing a strong game, but still unable to knock the Kiwis off of their pedestal.
According to Scrum.com, the New Zealand player to watch is fly-half Aaron Cruden, who has been pressed into service due to an injury to Dan Carter. It’s an important game to get your international start in, and his opposite in this match will be Quade Cooper, who is looking to redeem himself after a recent suspension (thanks to his actions on the pitch against South Africa) and debate whether he would leave Rugby Union for the potentially more lucrative paychecks in Rugby League. This battle at one of the most important positions on the field will be one to watch with interest.
My take on this Tri-Nations match – I think the Aussies will put up a good fight, but they’re going to get the short end of the stick, and the All Blacks will live up to their 2/5 favorite status and return to the Land of the Long White Cloud as undefeated Tri-Nations Champions.
A recent financial and time crunch has played havoc on my Tri-Nations reporting, in the next few days there will be updates and my takes on how the tournament has progressed for South Africa and Australia – including the two teams swapping their #2 and #3 world rankings.