New Zealand v Australia: Five talking points ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test
Last Updated: 26/08/17 8:24am
Five talking points ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand registered a record points tally over Australia in a Test match as they began their Rugby Championship defence with a crushing 54-34 victory in Sydney.
The All Blacks scored eight tries through Liam Squire, Rieko Ioane (2), Ryan Crotty (2), Sonny Bill Williams, Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith.
Australia scored four of their own in the second period through Curtis Rona, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau to add some respectability to the scoreline.
The two sides now meet in Dunedin for part two with the Wallabies making three changes ahead of the Test - Samu Kerevi, Rory Arnold, Curtis Rona making way for Tevita Kuridrani, Rob Simmons and Dane Haylett-Petty.
Coles was one of only three personnel changes to the side that destroyed Australia last Saturday, with lock Scott Barrett coming on to the bench for Luke Romano.
Kane Hames has also replaced Wyatt Crockett among the replacements after he appeared to be concussed following a heavy head knock in Sydney.
Wallabies using their disappointment
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has this week said he was happy to see his team-mates disappointed after last weekend's poor performance against the All Blacks which saw them concede eight tries.
Now he hopes that they can go on and use this disappointment to their advantage as they meet again in Dunedin.
"I was happy to see the guys really disappointed," he said. "I was really disappointed and that trickled through the whole team from last week's game."
Hooper said despite the lopsided loss, the Wallabies had "a positive week" and believe they can beat the All Blacks.
"Our preparation shows where our belief is at and that preparation is one where we're putting ourselves in the best possible shape to win this game," Hooper said. "The All Blacks will be disappointed with that second half in the [first] game.
"If we stick to our things and actually complete them this time it's going to go a long way to doing really well."
The Wallabies will almost certainly have spent their week trying to repair the defensive frailties that caused them to leak six tries in the first half last weekend.
The All Blacks were able to exploit tentative defence by the Wallabies backline and a complex defensive pattern which seemed designed to shield fly-half Bernard Foley and inside centre Kurtley Beale, who sometimes struggle to defend in inside channels.
One man who struggled last weekend was centre Samu Kerevi. He has been relieved of his place in the squad this weekend - the man who replaced him at half-time in Sydney, Tevita Kuridrani is named instead.
However, he was not alone in his lapses of concentration and defensive errors and coach Michael Cheika has called for a more physical performance all round this time around.
"Whether there's physicality in the game and all of the contact parts of the game, it has to come down to every member of the team," Cheika said.
Playing for the full 80
The All Blacks also feel like they have a point to prove after their explosive start to the game saw them score eight tries in the opening 55 minutes, before letting in four tries of their own in the latter stages of the match.
New Zealand built a 54-6 lead against Australia last week, but they are still smarting at the way they conceded 28 unanswered points as the Wallabies staged a revival.
"The key from our point of view is to start again," said their captain Kieran Read, who will be playing his 102nd Test.
"We certainly weren't happy with the last 30 minutes of last week. It was probably a great kick in the guts for us.
"We slightly took our foot off the throat, and if we're not there mentally then they are a team that can do that. They're dangerous, they're hungry and they've certainly got a point to prove."
In addition to the lure of sealing the Bledisloe Cup, the All Blacks are also drawing on the memory of New Zealand rugby icon Colin Meads, who died last Sunday aged 81.
The All Blacks will be wearing special jerseys in honour of Meads, the tribute in the form of his All Black number 583 embroidered on the shirt while Sam Whitelock, who will be donning the No 5 jersey Meads wore through most of his career, will gift his playing jersey from the match to his family.
Steve Hansen's men will want to honour Meads' memory with a ruthless and accurate performance against the Wallabies and a victory would see them claim the Bledisloe Cup for a 14th consecutive year.
All Blacks under pressure
New Zealand went into the Rugby Championship in a somewhat unfamiliar position, on the back of disappointment. While they may not have lost the series against the British and Irish Lions, the All Blacks were shown to be beatable
This paired with Ireland's victory over them in Chicago shows that despite their status as the world's best, and their comprehensive victory last weekend, they are not superhuman and Steve Hansen's men will be keen to get back to the dominant position they have become accustomed to.
This week they have voiced their feelings ahead of their second meeting with the Aussies admitting they were "under pressure" ranking the Bledisloe Cup second to only the World Cup.
"This [Bledisloe Cup] is the most important trophy we play for outside the World Cup. I'm really desperate for it. I want it," Read said
New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 1 Joe Moody, 2 Dane Coles, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Sam Whitelock, 6 Liam Squire, 7 Sam Cane, 8 Kieran Read.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 T.J. Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Perry, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 1 Scott Sio, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Allan Ala'atoa, 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Rory Arnold, 6 Ned Hanigan, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Sean McMahon
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Lopeti Timani or Jack Dempsey, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Curtis Rona