The third Bledisloe Cup match for the year, albeit a dead rubber in terms of the Cup, will be a key match for the All Blacks as they keep their impressive winning record going. A win today will keep them on track to overtake Lithuania as world record holders for the longest winning streak in International rugby.
Australia have been hit with a spate of injuries, first losing Stephen Moore and then Ben Alexander, their forward stock seems to be pretty low, and that against the best forward pack in world rugby., even with their rookie starting for the first time. Mike Harris is sure to continue with the kicking duties in the absence of Berrick Barnes, while Kurtley Beale continues in the pivot role outside Nick Phipps.
The All Blacks have selected a team very similar to the one that did duty against the Springboks in Soweto a few weeks back, with only rotational changes within the match 22, a clear indication that this is a match they are taking seriously.
Australia: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe (captain), 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 James Slipper, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Sekope Kepu, 18 Kane Douglas, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Drew Mitchell.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.
Date: Saturday, 20 October 2012
Kick-off: 20.00 (10.00 GMT)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Expected weather conditions: Clear and hot with a high of 30°C, dropping to 19°C.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)