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  • Ashley-Cooper,
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    Conversions: Giteau,
  • Rugby Championship
  • 2nd Aug 2008
  • KO 08:35

All Blacks face Aussie D-Day

New Zealand look to salvage their season.

By Ashley Marshall   Last updated: 1st August 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

All Blacks face Aussie D-Day

Kahui: Unfamiliar role for the midfield back.

Watch New Zealand v Australia live on Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am on Saturday.

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The All Blacks face a make-or-break showdown with the Wallabies on Saturday, knowing a victory in Auckland is essential to keep their slim Tri-Nations hopes alive.

Another loss for New Zealand could destroy their season, having already suffered back-to-back defeats to South Africa and Australia.

A win for Australia though would strengthen their claims to being true pretenders to the crown ahead of the world champion Springboks.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry said the match was vital to help rescue a disappointing year.

He said: "It's a very important Test. When you lose a couple, it puts extra emphasis on this particular Test and I think that's pretty obvious."

In contrast, the Wallabies are on the rise this year, winning all five matches under new coach Robbie Deans - the man the New Zealand Rugby Union rejected last year.

Deans said: "These guys will be up for this. They are standing at the foot of the hill and they are ready to climb."


Australia have not won on Auckland's Eden Park in 22 years but Deans' side have had a relatively stable build-up, making only two changes to their team with the return of captain Stirling Morlock and the loss of Rocky Elsom.

It has been less straight-forward for the injury-hit All Blacks though, with Henry unable to confirm his team until Friday when Andrew Hore and Jimmy Cowan were cleared to play at hooker and halfback.

Midfield back Richard Kahui will be repositioned on the right wing to mark the powerful Lote Tuqiri in an attempt to counter the astute kicking game employed by the Wallabies in their 34-19 win last weekend.

Richie McCaw will return to the New Zealand squad after being sidelined for six weeks through injury.

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