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Australia


  • Penalty goals: Beale (4),
12 - 12

New Zealand


  • Penalty goals: Cruden (4),
  • Rugby Championship
  • 16th Aug 2014
  • KO 11:05
  • Att: 68,627

Rugby Championship: Australia v New Zealand match preview

Last updated: 16th August 2014  

RICHIE MCCAW ALL BLACKS SYDNEY

New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw speaks to his squad

Michael Hooper australia

Michael Hooper: Insists Australia are ready for the All Blacks

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Australia are ready to counter everything New Zealand throw at them in Saturday's Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.

The All Blacks have not tasted defeat against Australia since 2011 in Brisbane and are currently on a 17-match winning run.

However Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper insists his side will go into the match with the belief they will topple the world champions.

"This game tomorrow is going to be about adapting to the situations that occur," said Hooper.

"The Kiwis are going to throw some great stuff at us, we've got to be able to absorb that, then put what we're good at out on the field, and counter it.

"We know we're going to turn over the ball, we know these things are going to happen, but being able to get back at them, get back on the horse so to speak, is going to be paramount."

The big change to the Australia line-up is the inclusion of Kurtley Beale ahead of Bernard Foley at fly-half.

Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to the centres and Rob Horne and Pat McCabe team up on the wings, while there are starts for hooker Nathan Charles and lock Sam Carter.

Prepared

The All Blacks have been forced into a late change after Conrad Smith was all but ruled out of the clash.

Malakai Fekitoa has been provisionally promoted to the starting XV after Smith returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

Captain Richie McCaw insists the disruption will not hamper his side’s hopes of claiming an 18th successive Test win.

"It's happened enough times in the past," McCaw said

"Just look at the last test we played when Conrad broke his thumb. Malakai was the last guy to play at centre in the last test so him slotting in will be fine.

"At the end of the day, if you let those things influence what you do in the weekend, you haven't really got the environment set up right so hopefully everyone's aware of what's going on and have prepared as such."

The inclusion of Smith had been one of three initial changes made by Steve Hansen, with Ben Smith and Wyatt Crockett also set to start.

Australia: 15 Folau, 14 McCabe, 13 Ashley-Cooper, 12 Toomua, 11 Horne, 10 Beale, 9 White, 1 Slipper, 2 Charles, 3 Kepu, 4 Carter, 5 Simmons, 6 Fardy, 7 Hooper (c), 8 Palu.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.

New Zealand: 15 B Smith, 14 Jane, 13 Fekitoa, 12 Nonu, 11 Savea, 10 Cruden, 9 A Smith, 1 Crockett, 2 Coles, 3 O Franks, 4 Retallick, 5 S Whitelock, 6 Kaino, 7 McCaw (c), 8 Read.
Replacements: 16 Mealamu, 17 B Franks, 18 Moody, 19 Luatua, 20 Cane, 21 Perenara, 22 Barrett, 23 Crotty.

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Phil Edwards

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