The All Blacks should expect their biggest pre-world cup test away from home tonight in Sydney.
To cause an upset, the Wallabies will have to adopt a physical and brave approach. Kicking possession away will cost points, the New Zealand back three of Ben Smith, debutant Milner-Skudder, and the powerful Julian Savea will be potent with just an inch of open space available.
The Wallabies have a good attacking game, a good passing game, and a reasonably stable set piece, but Quade Cooper’s kicking accuracy is a real concern. Isreal Folou has typically been great in the Wallabies uniform against other sides, but when the winger comes up against the All Blacks, he tends to crumble.
Holding possession and limiting the All Blacks to shots on goal will be key, and likely, the only way for the Wallabies to end the losing drought.
Michael Hooper’s presence in the breakdown will be a major factor; the Wallabies must match Richie McCaw in physicality and keep the turnover numbers low.
For the All Blacks, this will be the last ‘big game’ stage away from home prior to the RWC – and this makes the result very important. The environment will be hostile and a good taste of what will be in store come the finals of the RWC in England.
Daniel Carter will need to kick well to keep himself in the selectors minds as the starter moving forward, and time is quickly running out for Sonny Bill Williams to show his worth upon his return to rugby; there will be no better place to do it than his old stomping grounds at ANZ Stadium.
Tonight’s winner will secure both the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship.