Sportal.co.nz 22.Aug.2013Getty Images
HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 147, New Zealand 100, Australia 41
LAST TIME: New Zealand 47 def Australia 29, August 17, Stadium Australia
WALKING WOUNDED: New Zealand were thrown into turmoil with Dan Carter already missing from the first encounter and still not available this time, his replacement Aaron Cruden suffered a knee injury and is out for a month while back-up player Beauden Barrett has a calf strain and is out for a fortnight. Call up Colin Slade and Tom Taylor. Added to their demise is the loss of lock Luke Romano who is out for the remainder of the Championship after tearing an adductor tendon.
Australia lost loose forward Hugh MeMeniman to a season-ending shoulder injury and this has given Scott Fardy his run-on debut for the side.
FORM: The final margin of the All Blacks victory in the first Test last weekend would suggest that all the form was running their way, but injury in the key No.10 jersey has forced some rethinking there. However, that is but one area where the Wallabies need to lift their effort. The New Zealanders were far from being a cohesive unit in their victory, their lineout was out of sorts, they took much of the first half to settle and they were not completely convincing with their scrum. But they didn't have that alone as a result of both teams needing more time to sort out their own issues with the scrum. Where the New Zealanders did have an advantage that will need to be matched by the Australians this time around was in their ball retention and speed of thinking in backplay. The up tempo game is what coach Steve Hansen has been attempting to instill into the side and there were clear signs it is starting to bed in. The New Zealanders also showed far more intent in chasing their kicks ahead. There will be another battle royal in the loose but New Zealand captain Richie McCaw will be better for his run last weekend but it will be interesting to see how much Michael Hooper's game has advanced as a result of the confidence boost he received from his effort last week.
Australia, especially centre Adam Ashley-Cooper did punch holes in the New Zealand defences but the moves broke down due to lack of support. At the same time those failures will have been part of New Zealand's remedial work this week. Australian coach Ewen McKenzie said he was angry about the result and he hoped his players were feeling the same way. Given the willingness of Australia to run the ball last week it is expected more of a kicking option will be involved this week.
WE THINK: Australia will be a much better side this week, they will be more combative and will retain the ball much better. That will require different skills from the All Blacks which will be a test of their own adaptability. However, securing more ball would give the home side the ability to call the way the game is played and that will be the first consideration for New Zealand. Australia will employ more of a kicking game and will look to get Israel Folau into the game more. This will be a different type of Test match and while the Wallabies have a lot of ground to make up it can be anticipated they will close the gap between the sides. New Zealand by 10.
New Zealand: 1.Tony Woodcock, 2.Andrew Hore, 3.Owen Franks, 4.Brodie Retallick, 5.Samuel Whitelock, 6.Steven Luatua, 7.Richie McCaw (captain), 8.Kieran Read, 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Tom Taylor, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith, 14.Ben Smith, 15.Israel Dagg.
Reserves: 16.Dane Coles, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Charlie Faumuina, 19.Jeremy Thrush, 20.Sam Cane, 21.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22.Colin Slade, 23.Charles Piutau.
Australia: 1.James Slipper, 2.Stephen Moore, 3.Ben Alexander, 4.Rob Simmons, 5.James Horwill, 6.Scott Fardy, 7.Michael Hooper, 8.Ben Mowen, 9.Will Genia, 10.Matt Toomua, 11.James O'Connor, 12.Christian Leali'ifano, 13.Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14.Israel Folau, 15.Jesse Mogg.
Reserves: 16.Saia Fainga'a, 17.Scott Sio, 18.Sekope Kepu, 19.Kane Douglas, 20.Liam Gill, 21.Nic White, 22.Quade Cooper, 23.Tevita Kuridrani.
Referee: Jaco Peyper