The All Blacks are hunting an elusive Bledisloe Cup clean sweep and crucial points in the Fortinet Rugby Championship when they take on Australia in Perth on Sunday.
Match details: All Blacks v Australia, Sunday 5 September, 6pm NZT (2pm local), Optus Stadium, Perth
Won: All Blacks 119, Australia 45, Drawn 8
Last time: All Blacks 57, Australia 22 (14 September 2021)
Referee: Damon Murphy
ARDIE TAKES THE LEAD
Ardie Savea’s ascension to All Blacks captain has not happened overnight. The 27-year-old loose forward has been earmarked for great things ever since his time at Wellington’s Rongotai College where he was Head Boy, captained the First XV and led the New Zealand Schools side. Since then, his leadership journey has continued with time captaining the Wellington Lions in domestic rugby and the Hurricanes on the Super Rugby stage. Coach Ian Foster said Ardie has been a key part of the All Blacks leadership group and offers a different leadership style. “He’s very empathetic, he’s got a great affinity right across the group and reads the group well from a family and emotional side, and I think that’s a really important quality to have in the situation we’re in” Foster said.
SETTLED FORWARD PACK, REJIGGED BACKLINE
There is just one change from the starting forward pack from the Bledisloe Cup-winning Test in Auckland last month, with Scott Barrett coming in for Samuel Whitelock in the second row. The backline has a new look with regular starters Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga due to join the squad later in the tour. Brad Weber and Beauden Barrett take the 9 and 10 jerseys with Rieko Ioane, David Havili and Anton Lienert-Brown retaining their positions at 11, 12 and 13 respectively. Will Jordan comes onto the right wing in place of Sevu Reece and Jordie Barrett slots into fullback with incumbent Damian McKenzie offering utility cover from the bench.
CHASING A CLEAN SWEEP
Despite having a mortgage on the Bledisloe Cup for 19 years, the All Blacks have only achieved clean sweeps in three of the last 10 years against Australia. While a rare clean sweep against the Wallabies will be a nice feather in the cap for the 2021 All Blacks, there are plenty of other motivating factors. Crucial Fortinet Rugby Championship points are at stake. The All Blacks currently sit in second place on the ladder behind South Africa and coul
1. George Bower 2. Codie Taylor 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Scott Barrett 6. Akira Ioane 7. Dalton Papalii 8. Ardie Savea (C) 9. Brad Weber 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Rieko Ioane 12. David Havili 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Will Jordan 15. Jordie Barrett
RESERVES: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Angus Ta’avao, Tupou Vaa’i, Ethan Blackadder, TJ Perenara, Damian McKenzie, George Bridge
1: James Slipper 2: Folau Fainga’a 3: Allan Alaalatoa 4: Darcy Swain 5: Matt Philip 6: Lachlan Swinton 7: Michael Hooper (c) 8: Rob Valetini 9: Tate McDermott 10: Noah Lolesio 11: Marika Koroibete 12: Samu Kerevi 13: Len Ikitau 14: Andrew Kellaway 15: Tom Banks
RESERVES: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia