Underarms, Catamarans and Food Poisonings

Finally it’s here! Deans v Henry!

To be honest I don’t really care who coaches Australia. I will care if he turns them around and makes them competitive in 2011, but I think it takes more than a coach to make a team great. A coach can only work with what he’s got, and Deans only has so much to work with at the moment. There are a lot of gaps in the Aussie team, particularly up front and not as much depth as they would like. Historically New Zealand have had incredibly depth, but are also tested at the moment, with so many great players gone overseas. Thankfully this match we will have Williams and Thorne back as locking partners which, especially as McCaw looks as though he won’t be back, gives us some of the experience we missed against South Africa in Dunedin.

So with Australia seeing off the Boks last week, what can we expect in Sydney on Saturday?

Australia were all over South Africa last weekend, but I think they were let off easy. The Springboks were clearly tired from their two consecutive games in New Zealand against the All Blacks. They appeared to lack passion and ideas and through away a few great opportunities during the game. There were some big hits, but it did not seem as rough NZ encounters. There was none of that off the ball bull shit which marred the earlier games either. The ref allowed a more free flowing game than the Aussie refs did as well. To some extent, I think Australia were made to look good and a refreshed All Black side could catch them out. Australia’s midfield was impressive, particularly Berrick Barnes, but the team will be without veteran Stirling Mortlock this weekend. 28-year-old league convert Ryan Cross comes in for his fourth cap. In the opposite midfield Richard Kahui pips Conrad Smith for the number 13 jersey, which is certainly an interesting decision. He had a great game against England earlier in the season, so he is definitely capable at this level.

Hopefully the All Blacks have made the most of their fortnight break after the two bruising bok encounters, and hopefully the Aussies are a little worse for wear. The All Blacks are going to find it a challenge to beat the Wallabies in Sydney, as the Australians are playing with a lot of confidence. The Wallabies competed ably in the forward play, holding their own in both the scrums and the lineouts against a talented South African pack. They were very effective in closing down the Springbok backline, who lacked imagination and creativity. I’d expect the All Blacks to bring a much better game, one that the Wallabies will find harder to combat. My money is on the All Blacks in a close and fast paced game, 30-24. A win for the All Blacks would go a long way towards staying competitive in the Tri-Nations and retaining our title.


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Good artlice, it will be a ripper of a game and no doubt will go down to the wire. Despite the Wallabies win last week and the inspired performance by the forwards I am not convinced that the Wallaby front row are the real deal. Al Baxter is a weak link in the pack.

I think the loss of Mortlock will weigh heavily on the Wallabies but at home they may scrape home a win.


Comment by retro9

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