Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Bledisloe Cup: Game 2 Preview

Bledisloe Cup: Game 2 Preview

After a pulsating start to their four-match Bledisloe Cup series, the All Blacks and Wallabies will square off out at Eden Park in the second instalment. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

This will be the last game in the series that New Zealand will be playing on home soil and they'll be looking for a win at what has become Fortress New Zealand. 

Will the Kiwis come good on home soil or will the Australians enjoy one of their most successful jaunts across the Tasman in recent years? 

New Zealand vs Australia
Sunday 18 October
Eden Park
05:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 1/8
Draw 25/1
Australia 5/1

Handicap
New Zealand (-13.5) 9/10
Australia (+13.5) 9/10

New Zealand
There are a lot of questions after last week's 16-16 draw which has put recently installed head coach Ian Foster on the back foot from the start of his tenure.

Firstly, let's touch upon Rieko Ioane's horror moment in the dying second of the first half that saw the Blues flyer knock the ball on while in the process of dotting it down. There's no doubting that moment of madness changed the outcome of the game as the All Blacks would have been at least been ten points to the good at half-time which would have forced the Wallabies to chase the game. Instead, Dave Rennie's men didn't have to go for broke from the get-go and they just had to play a territorial game to leave themselves in the hunt - something which they achieved.  

Ioane wasn't the only player who should be questioned after that game as both Richie Mo'unga and Jordie Barrett should have dropped back into the pocket - stuff it, even one of the props should have had a drop at goal as the All Blacks were literally five metres in front of the sticks and only five metres out from the Wallabies' try line with the clock well into the red. 

While there are a lot of negatives to come from that game there are two huge positives as well. The first is Sam Cane's performance, with the All Blacks capitan putting in a monstrous display in defence. the second came in the foom Blues young gun Caleb Clarke, who has certainly put himself in a position to start on one of the wings next weekend. 

Speaking of backline changes, the All Blacks are likely to field a very similar back division with Beauden Barrett missing from training this week.  after being a late withdrawal last weekend. I reckon Rieko Ioane will get another chance at outside centre as a pairing of Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienhardt Brown, while defensively strong, is lacking a bit of x-factor. The only two changes I could see happening are Jordie Barrett reverting to fullback and Caleb Clarke taking his spot on the wing. 

Australia
Well, the Dave Rennie era got off to a decent old start with the former Japan national team mentor's first competitive side managing to do something an Australian side hasn't done in a while and avoid defeat in New Zealand. Things could have actually been better for the Wallabies had Reece Hodge's siege gun like place kick gone a couple of centimetres to the left instead of cannoning into the All Black's pole. 

Rennie, while not admitting it to the media, will be awfully pleased with his sides showing last week. While they weren't able to get the win, they were still by far the better side and he'll be drumming that into his charges' ears this week as they head for a stiff old challenge in Wellington. 

While I can see the hosts making a couple changes, I highly doubt the visitors will as their backline looked very good and their forward pack went about their business with aplomb, especially young loosie Harry Wilson who played a key role in linking play down the tramlines.  

Verdict: Australia (+13.5) 
A year ago I would have been all over the All Blacks to clear this handicap. I don't feel the same why now, however, as I think Australia are really back in business. The Kiwis will win this one but I really doubt it'll be by more than the 'cap. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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