All Blacks Aaron Cruden is tackled by Nic White in the 12-12 even match last night in Sydney. Photo: Skysports
Australia and New Zealand couldn’t be separated in a wet slugfest of a game in Sydney, battering each other into a 12-12 draw.
This was the second time in less than two years that these two sides have finished all square, after an 18-18 draw in Brisbane in October 2012.
Kurtley Beale will be the Wallabies pivot against the All Blacks on Saturday. Photo: SMH
Kurtley Beale will wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey for the first time since 2012 in an overhauled Australian back line to play the All Blacks on Saturday.
In a stunning move, Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has backed the 42-Test playmaker, whom he first selected at five-eighth as a teenager in the Waratahs, to lead Australia around the park at ANZ Stadium in the opening Test of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series.
In-form Test incumbent Bernard Foley will move to the bench, an unlucky casualty of his NSW teammate’s outstanding form in Super Rugby and off the bench for the Wallabies this year.
Is Folau a modern version of David Campese? Photo: AAP
The Rugby World Cup is only a year away. While all the talk is now on the Bledisloe Cup, should the Aussies be thinking about an even bigger prize?
Currently, there is a rampant All Blacks team well entrenched at the top of the heap, with some of the game’s best players across their squad. However, are they better than four years ago?
Their current team, and their World Cup planning for 2015, contains many of the same faces: Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Corey Flynn, the Franks brothers, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Israel Dagg and Corey Jane.
McKenzie is better prepared for the challenge against the All Blacks. Photo: Skysports
After a year as Australia coach Ewen McKenzie believes his side will be much better prepared for their Bledisloe Cup opener next weekend.
The former Reds boss replaced Robbie Deans after the Lions series defeat last July, and faced consecutive games with the All Blacks to begin his reign.
The Wallabies lost both matches, as well as a third clash with New Zealand later in the year, but they will have the chance to put that right in their opening two fixtures of the Rugby Championship.
Nathan Charles charges down field for the Force in Super Rugby.
Inspirational Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles says a run-on Test debut against the All Blacks would have only featured in his “wildest dreams” just nine months ago.
As if taking 28 tablets a day to manage his cystic fibrosis wasn’t enough, Charles had to fight just to start this year’s Super Rugby season after undergoing a knee reconstruction for a busted ACL last year.
But a stellar season at the Western Force, combined with knee injuries to Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau, means Charles is the man most likely to don the No.2 jersey for the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney on August 16.
“Nine months ago, I was still coming back from a knee reconstruction. So this is my wildest dreams,” Charles said.