Bledisloe rivalry begins this weekend in Investec Super Rugby
Last weekend the Hurricanes convincing win over the Waratahs was the first time this year that a New Zealand team had been successful against Australian Conference opposition, giving the ledger an uneven 1-3 look to it after the first eight weeks of competition.
The Highlanders host the Brumbies to kick off proceedings, and the men from the Deep South, still searching for their win, won’t be too thrilled at the Kings antics, drawing in Canberra which will ensure the best current team in Australia arrives in Dunedin with a serious point to prove.
History doesn’t support the Highlanders, having beaten the Brumbies only once since 2006.
In one of the glamour clashes of the round, the Reds head to Waikato to play the defending champions, a game that will prove once and for all if the Queenslanders have it in them to eye off two titles in three seasons, but the Chiefs so far have shown they have the firepower to record rare back-to-back Super Rugby crowns.
Despite this, the 2011 champions have the best recent record against Dave Rennie’s outfit, winning all three of their last head to heads, including a 42-27 win in Brisbane which almost threatened to derail the Chiefs campaign last season.
The round’s action, from a Kiwi v Aussie perspective, is completed with the Crusaders last touring match, heading to Perth before returning home.
While some feel this match might be automatic for the seven-time champions considering the Force’s struggles, the men from Western Australia have a tendency to claim a couple of big scalps irrespective of how their season is travelling.
In 2006 (23-23 draw) and 2010 (Force 24-16) the Crusaders found this out the hard way.