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Both captains out of Tri-nations clash in Sydney

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Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks will be without their captains when they meet in Sydney on Saturday night (26/07/08). This is the first match between the trans-Tasman rivals in this years Tri-Nations series and promises to be a clash to remember. The loss of both captains, the first meeting between New Zealand coaching rivals and a match-up with the two best flyhalves on the world are just some of the ingredients that will spice up this Bledisloe Cup opener. 

Not only will both captains be missed for their leadership but also for the impact role they play. Richie Mccaw is often considered the best loose forward in the world and his work at the breakdown is invaluable for New Zealand. Likewise, Stirling Mortlock has the ability to change the game in Australias way with his bull-dozing runs often breaking the opposition’s defensive line, as seen in last weeks game against the Springboks, where one such break resulted in a try for the outside centre. 

Saturday’s game will be significant for the coaches of both teams. Wallaby coach Robbie Deans is coming up against his home country’s team for the first time, as well as many of the players he coached for 6 seasons at the Canterbury Crusaders. He is also facing the man he was overlooked for as All Blacks coach and is no doubt hoping to prove that the New Zealand Rugby head honchos made a mistake in passing on his proven coaching success. Graham Henry on the other hand is hoping to show that he was worth retaining as the All Blacks coach, especially in the face of reports that the obsessive New Zealand rugby fans are still livid with the choice of Henry over fan favourite Deans.

There will be an even more interesting clash of talent on the field when New Zealand’s Dan Carter faces Australia’s Matt Giteau. These two are considered the premier flyhalves in the world at the moment and both will be out to prove their worth. Giteau especially will be interesting to watch, with this year being the first time he has consistently played in the pivotal position for Australia after years of playing outside Wallaby flyhalf stalwart Steve Larkham. Both are exciting players to watch and their clash will be a highlight of the Sydney match. 

The All Blacks have lost some of their aura as the team to beat after the disappointment of last years World Cup and the loss to the Springboks at their “House of Pain” two weeks ago. Australia on the other hand have proven many critics wrong with their forwards picking up the slack recently, especially in the scrum, and were able to keep world champions South Africa tryless last week in Perth. The Wallabies are hungry to regain the Bledisloe Cup this year, with them last claiming it back in 2002, and will be looking to assert themselves in the first of four Bledisloe matches to be played this year. They are riding high from last weeks win and playing in front of a Sydney home crowd should be enough to push them over the edge. 

 

Outside the Frame prediction: Australia by 5

 

Wallaby Squad:

Run on: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Ryan Cross, Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, George Smith (c), Rocky Elsom, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Matt Dunning, Dan Vickerman, Phil Waugh, Sam Cordingley, Timana Tahu, Drew Mitchell.

 

All Black Squad:

Run on: Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Greg Somerville, Brad Thorn, Ali Willliams, Rodney So’oialo, Daniel Braid, Jerome Kaino, Andy Ellis, Dan Carter, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Ma’a Nonu, Richard Kahui, Anthony Tuitavake, Mils Muliaina. Reserves: Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Sione Lauaki, Jimmy Cowan, Stephen Donald, Conrad Smith.

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Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 25 July, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Posted in Rugby

Tagged with , ,

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