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Australia v New Zealand: Teams
At Suncorp Stadium, Saturday August 27, KO: 11.05am (BST), live on Sky Sports 3
Australia head into their decider with New Zealand tomorrow night motivated by the chance to end a 10-year Tri Nations drought.
Since 2001, when Totai Kefu scored at the death in Sydney to seal victory over the All Blacks and a second consecutive Tri Nations series win, Australia have suffered through a decade as the competition's third-best side.
A day out from their opportunity to turn the tide on home turf at Suncorp Stadium, freshly promoted skipper James Horwill made clear how determined his side was to end their streak as also-rans.
"The result is what we're looking for and that is to win the Tri Nations. We haven't won it for a while and as a team I think it'd be fantastic for us to get our hands on that trophy," said Horwill.
"We want as much silverware as possible in the trophy cabinet.
"That's what we're playing for tomorrow night - the winner takes the spoils, so that's all we're focused on.
"It's probably the biggest tournament in the world, bar what's happening in a World Cup year, so it's a big tournament for us.
"We haven't had our hands on that trophy for 10 years and that's a long drought not to have your hands on a trophy that's being competed for by three teams."
Horwill said the World Cup had not been discussed in camp, such was the focus on claiming the Tri Nations.
Both Horwill and David Pocock identified matching physicality at the breakdown and providing clean ball as key to achieving the upset victory.
Blown out of the contest by an early onslaught from the All Blacks in their most recent Bledisloe tussle at Eden Park, the Wallabies have primed themselves to match muscle and commitment through the traditional softening-up period.
"In the whole tournament, we've seen how important those first 20 minutes are and how physical they've been, so that's going to be the key for us," said Pocock.
"It's very hard to come back at the All Blacks from 17-0 down at half-time, so it's definitely a focus for us, starting well and continuing that through the rest of the game."
New Zealand coach Graham Henry is refusing to view the encounter as a pre-cursor to what might happen in the forthcoming World Cup.
"Frankly, if you look at history it means nothing," he said. "We played France in France before the last World Cup, won by 40-odd points, gave them a hiding, and got beaten in the quarter-final.
"It's got some significance, but I don't think it's great.
"We'd like to win, then you have a bit more peace on Sunday. That's what this is all about.
"You go into these contests, play good footy and hopefully do the business. At the end of the day does it tilt the balance in someone's favour to win the Rugby World Cup? I don't think so."
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Anthony Fainga'a, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia; 1 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Dan Vickerman, 5 James Horwill, 6 Rocky Elsom, 7 David Pocock, 8 Radike Samo
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Salesi Ma'afu, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Rob Horne
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu; 1 Tony Woodcock, 2 Keven Mealamu, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Brad Thorn, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 6 Adam Thomson, 7 Richie McCaw, 8 Kieran Read
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Isaia Toeava
|Click here for more betting|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Australia 32 - 25 Argentina|
|New Zealand 14 - 10 South Africa|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Australia 24 - 23 South Africa|
|New Zealand 28 - 9 Argentina|
|Saturday 23rd August|
|Argentina 31 - 33 South Africa|
|New Zealand 51 - 20 Australia|
|Saturday 16th August|
|South Africa 13 - 6 Argentina|
|Australia 12 - 12 New Zealand|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com