Wallabies vs. All Blacks: Date, Kick-Off Time and Bledisloe Cup 2017 Predictions

The Bledisloe Cup 2017 Live Stream Online All Blacks vs Wallabies is a rugby union competition between the national teams of Australia and New Zealand that has been competed for since the 1930s.

Australia and New Zealand will write another chapter in their storied rivalry on Saturday, as the two meet in the opening match of the 2017 Rugby Championship at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

As is always the case when these sides meet, results will count towards the Bledisloe Cup series. This match is the first of a trio between them this year, with the reverse Rugby Championship fixture in a week’s time in Dunedin; the two sides will go head-to-head at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on October 21 in a potential decider.

It’s a trophy that has not been out of New Zealand hands since 2002, when Australia won a two-match series 2-0. Once again, the All Blacks are the favourites to earn this prestigious accolade. 

Date: Saturday, August 19

Time: 11 a.m. (BST), 6 a.m. (ET), 8 p.m. (Local)

TV Info: Sky Sports Action (UK)

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK) 

While thoughts don’t turn away from the Bledisloe Cup for long when these two teams meet, focus will initially be on the Rugby Championship for the duo.

If Australia are to dethrone New Zealand, you sense they will need to begin that process in Sydney. But it’s been a while since the Wallabies scored any kind of victory against their old rivals, the most recent coming at the ANZ Stadium in August 2015.

In truth, Mike Cheika’s side have not been in the best form since then, with the Rugby World Cup final loss to New Zealand seemingly knocking the wind out of their sails; just eight wins have followed in the 18 matches since. The coach did not sound particularly confident of a win on Saturday either. 

“The target needs to be to put New Zealand under pressure, not necessarily to go out there and win,” he told Nine Network’s Sports (h/t AAP, via 1newsnow). “Then we will see what happens from there, we’ll see if we can take the pickings.”

As noted by EatSleepRugby, Australia have long struggled in matches against their biggest rivals: 

In fairness to the Wallabies, they are not the only team that have failed to cope with the back-to-back world champions.

Last year, New Zealand were especially dominant in the Rugby Championship. Not only did Steve Hansen’s side win all six matches they played, they did so by adding the gloss of a bonus point too. Even Australia and South Africa were at a loss at how to cope with their power and panache. The British and Irish Lions may have offered some hope to New Zealand’s rivals here, though, as they were able to battle to a drawn three-match series earlier this year. But Australia have failed to find any kind of consistent form as of late. And as the All Blacks Twitter account reminded us in the buildup to the game, there was quite a margin between the two teams when they last met: 

It always takes a special performance to tame the force of the All Blacks, although on the back of three defeats in a row, it’s unlikely the Wallabies can dig deep and pull out a historic display.

The Lions’ blueprint may be the way to go for Cheika. The tourists were able to sap New Zealand’s attacking spark with some resolute defending, excellent set pieces and deadly goal-kicking. Although it’s a game plan that requires little margin for error if it’s to be implemented effectively.

Some teams would be daunted by the atmosphere at the ANZ Stadium, but the All Blacks will relish the occasion and the opportunity to pile more misery on their rivals. Expect them to start their Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup defence with a trademark swagger. 

Curtis Rona, the former rugby league player, will make his Wallabies debut in this year’s Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney, while the All Blacks have sprung a selection surprise of their own ahead of Saturday night’s match.

The former North Queensland and Canterbury NRL winger, who starred in his first Super Rugby season for the Western Force, was named to play on the wing in the absence of the injured Dane Haylett-Petty.

Kurtley Beale, as expected, was also named in the starting XI and will make his first appearance since the 2015 World Cup final defeat to the All Blacks. It will be the first time the Wallabies have started with a backline featuring Beale, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau.

Melbourne Rebels tearaway Sean McMahon has won the contentious No8 spot ahead of his Super Rugby team-mate Lopeti Timani, partnering skipper Michael Hooper and Ned Hanigan in the back row. Former captain Stephen Moore retains his hooker’s role, with Tatafu Polota-Nau named on the bench.

It will be a dream come true for New Zealand-born Rona, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the world champions would likely target any Wallabies debutants at ANZ Stadium. Rona spent just one game on the wing for the Force this season, with the 23-year-old playing at outside centre for the rest of the campaign.

For the All Blacks, Hansen opted for young gun Damian McKenzie at fullback for the game at ANZ Stadium. The 22-year-old livewire, who enjoyed a stellar Super Rugby campaign with the Chiefs, is the main beneficiary of a backline reshuffle. He will play in the black No15 jumper for just the second time, while incumbent fullback Ben Smith moves onto the right edge.

Rieko Ioane, who missed July’s third British and Irish Lions Test through illness, has been named ahead of Waisake Naholo and Israel Dagg on the other wing. Ryan Crotty and the returning Sonny Bill Williams are in midfield.

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“We just think that for this game in particular, Damian has been playing really well and it gives us a better-balanced back three, aerially – and Rieko as we know is really strong too,” Hansen said. “Our midfield combination is a one-two-three hit. We think the combination of Sonny and Crotty is the best one, they complement each other well.”

With star hooker Dane Coles ruled out earlier this week, the All Blacks forward line takes on a similar complexion to that seen against the Lions, with four of the tight five coming from the Crusaders.

However, in another surprise, bruising Highlanders loose forward Liam Squire has earned the nod at blindside ahead of 81-Test veteran Jerome Kaino. The

With several of his All Blacks regulars leaving Kiwi shores post-Lions, Hansen has also been forced to make changes to his bench. Blues prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi will replace ex-team-mate Charlie Faumuina as the All Blacks’ back-up tighthead, while Lima Sopoaga has been rewarded for his patience, named as reserve five-eighth behind Beauden Barrett.

Hansen said his side were determined to hang onto the Bledisloe, having won the trans-Tasman trophy 14 years on the bounce. “It’s the biggest trophy we play for outside of the World Cup and it means a lot to the group – it’s part of who are we, and our legacy is about honouring, respecting and enhancing the jersey,” Hansen said. “We’ve held this trophy for a while, and no one wants to be part of giving it up.”

Australia: Israel Folau, Henry Speight, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Curtis Rona, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper (captain), Ned Hanigan, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Allan Ala’alatoa, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Lopeti Timani, Nick Phipps, Reece Hodge.

New Zealand: Damian McKenzie, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Luke Romano, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown.