Australia and New Zealand have long had a fiery rivalry — although somewhat one-sided since 2002 when the Wallabies last won the trophy.
While it will be difficult for Australia to win it back in a two-match series (the Wallabies need to win both fixtures), it’s an ideal time to make a statement in the lead up to the World Cup.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen could be feeling the heat, lashing out at Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and calling him “Mickey Mouse”.
Hansen was responding to questions about Mark Ella’s 2016 claim “Mickey Mouse could coach the All Blacks to victory”.
He quipped: “They’ve got Mickey Mouse coaching Aussie.”
Cheika said it was “no drama for me”. “Respect is an important thing in footy. It’s the nature of the game, you rip into each other and then you socialise after,” he told reporters.
WHEN AND WHERE IS IT?
In 2019, there are just two Bledisloe Cup matches with the World Cup scheduled to run from September 20 until November 2.
These will be both the Wallabies and All Blacks’ last fixtures before the World Cup.
Saturday August 10, 7.45pm AEST at Optus Stadium, Perth
The Bledisloe Cup opener will be a historic event as the two countries meet in Perth for the first time.
Saturday August 17, 5.35pm AEST at Eden Park, Auckland
Eden Park holds some nightmares for the Wallabies — it’s been 18 games dating back to 1986 since Australia last won at the ground.
GAME 1 TEAMS
Australia – Kurtley Beale; 14. Reece Hodge, 13. James O’Connor, 12. Samu Kerevi, 11. Marika Koroibete; 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Nic White; 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto; 5. Rory Arnold, 4. Izack Rodda; 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Tolu Latu, 1. Scott Sio.
Substitutes: 16. Folau Fainga’a, 17. James Slipper, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Adam Coleman, 20. Luke Jones, 21. Will Genia, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Tom Banks.
New Zealand – Beauden Barrett, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read (c), 7. Sam Cane, 6. Ardie Savea, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Joe Moody. Substitutes: 16. Codie Taylor, 17. Atu Moli, 18. AngusTa’avao, 19. Patrick Tuipulotu, 20. Matt Todd, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Ngani Laumape, 23. George Bridge.
Australia vs. New Zealand: Live Stream, Preview for Rugby Championship 2019
Australia and New Zealand will battle in the final round of the 2019 Rugby Championship on Saturday, with the All Blacks chasing a fourth title in a row.
South Africa lead the way on seven points after the first two rounds, and the holders sit one point behind. A draw would be enough for New Zealand if South Africa lose to Argentina.
However, Australia could leapfrog both sides and win the championship if they beat the All Blacks and South Africa lose to Argentina.
The tournament bonus-point system dictates South Africa can miss out on the title even if they win their final game, but only if New Zealand record a huge victory in Australia.
Date: Saturday, August 10
Time: 7:45 p.m. local, 10:45 a.m. BST, 5:45 a.m. ET
Stream: Sky Go (UK), ESPN+ (U.S.)
TV: Sky Sports (UK)
New Zealand’s dominance of the Rugby Championship—they have been winners or joint-winners of every tournament since its inception in 2012—could soon be over, with the Springboks closely observing the champions’ visit to their Antipodean neighbours.
South Africa play Argentina away from home 10 hours after the All Blacks and Wallabies clash at the Optus Stadium in Perth.
Bonus points might come into play with the top two teams neck and neck heading into Round 3. With four points for a win and two for a draw, teams claim a bonus point for winning by three tries or more than their opponents. A bonus point can also be earned by losing within seven points, creating a number of scenarios for the final standings.
The match will be the first of two games between New Zealand and Australia for the 2019 Bledisloe Cup, with the return set for a week later at Eden Park. The second game will not be a Rugby Championship encounter this season after the format was shortened because of the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
According to Reuters (via the Guardian), New Zealand will rest Sonny Bill Williams on Saturday before the centre returns to the squad in Auckland for the second Bledisloe tie. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen explained how important it is to defeat their bitter rivals.
“The Bledisloe Cup is the second most important trophy for us, after the Rugby World Cup, and we’re really looking forward to the next two Tests coming up. Two weeks together will give us solid preparation towards growing our game understanding and getting our execution honed, so that’s exciting.”
Whatever the outcome in Argentina, New Zealand will be motivated to defeat Australia in Perth. Their continental rivalry is one of the biggest in the sport, and with a World Cup just around the corner, bragging rights will be up for grabs over the next two weekends.
South Africa will slight be favourites to capture the tournament win, and the Southern Hemisphere title would be the perfect addition before they take the battle onto the world stage in Japan. The Springboks have their destiny in their own hands, and it would be a shock if Los Pumas opened the door for New Zealand or Australia with a win over the leaders.