Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Bledisloe Cup 2020: Game 1 Preview

Bledisloe Cup 2020: Game 1 Preview

All Blacks

Darry Worthington previews the opening game of the 2020 Bledisloe Cup which is being played at Sky Stadium on Saturday the 10th of October. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Rugby fans will get their first taste of Southern Hemisphere international rugby this coming weekend as the All Blacks play host to the Wallabies in the annual battle for trans-Tasman supremacy. 

This will be the first of four Bledisloe clashes with the next instalment taking place 17 October. There will then be a three-week break before the sides go head-to-head in the first of two games being held in Australia. These latter two fixtures will also form part of the Rugby Championship. 

For now, let's focus on what lies immediately ahead and take a look at how the teams are shaping up heading into the battle in Wellington. 

New Zealand v Australia
Sunday 11 October
Sky Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
New Zealand 1/10
Draw 33/1
Australia 58/10

New Zealand (-17.5) 9/10
Australia (+17.5) 9/10

New Zealand
The hosts head into this one under a new head coach Ian Foster replacing Steven Hansen after the All Blacks bowed out of last year's World Cup. Not much is likely to change in terms of the Kiwi's style of play as Foster was a major part of the coaching machine during Hansen's tenure and is an advocate of the current All Black gameplan. 

We could, however, see some big personnel changes this coming weekend with a number of fresh faces called into the All Blacks squad. We may well have a few debuts handed to some of Super Rugby's top performers with loose forwards Hoskins Sotutu and Cullen Grace pushing for spots on the bench at a minimum.

Staying on the selection theme now and the long-running fly-half debate continues with Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga vying for the spot. Both men had solid Super Rugby Aotearoa campaigns and it will certainly be interesting to see which of the duo cracks the nod. I personally think Foster will start Barrett and bring Mo'unga on off the bench and then switch it around the following week come Bledisloe 2.   

The Wallabies have probably been the best benefactor from the COVID-19 international shut down as they have been able to rebuild Australia Rugby with the Super Rugby AU tournament being a great success both on and off the field. 

A number of young guns were unearthed during their domestic Super Rugby season with Brumbies fly-half Noah Lolesio, Reds loose forward duo Fraser McWright and Harry Wilson along with their club mate and hard running utility back Jordan Petaia, all having great campaigns. It wasn't just the youngsters that shone either, with veterans James O'Connor and Matt Toumua playing out of their skins. 

New coach Dave Rennie has a number of selection headaches to deal with but he'll be pleased with this as the Wallabies talent pool has deepened substantially since their embarrassing quarter-final World Cup exit. 

Verdict: New Zealand (-17.5) 9/10 
I've really been torn on the handicap as I just don't know what to expect from either side. The All Blacks are by far the more settled of the teams and their players have played more rugby this year. I think they'll head in slightly sharper than their counterparts which is which why I'm tentatively leaning towards the hosts clearing the handicap - whatever it might be.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile