All Blacks to cross for first Bledisloe Cup try

Bledisloe Cup

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Published: 19/10/2012

Australia did not trouble the scorer in this year`s second Bledisloe Cup match versus New Zealand and the Wallabies are unlikely to score heavily in the third and final game.

Never in the professional era have the All Blacks been more dominant over their neighbours than now due to a combination of Kiwi talent and Australian misfortune. The Wallabies have an injury list that has become some kind of sick joke.

So depleted is Australia that bookmakers have the home side as the 13-point underdog for Saturday`s match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Normally one would not have to think twice about what to do when presented with a double-digit handicap start for the Wallabies on Australian soil. But this is not a normal circumstance for a number of reasons.

First, there is the team news. Australia`s unavailable men include three captains - Will Genia, James Horwill and David Pocock - its most dangerous ball runners, Quade Cooper and James O`Connor, and its most experienced hooker, Stephen Moore. The consequence is that the Wallabies have second stringers and unproven combinations throughout its side, which is a recipe for disaster against New Zealand.

Second, there is the mood in the Wallabies camp. The Cooper affair refuses to go away, with former Australia coach John Connolly saying that the Australian Rugby Union should ban the Reds five-eighth for 12 months following what Knuckles called his "unforgivable" criticism of the national team.

And third, there is the major prize on offer for the All Blacks. They have won 16 consecutive games since losing 20-25 to the Wallabies in Brisbane 14 months ago and, therefore, they are one victory away from equalling their best-ever winning streak and two successes away from joining Lithuania - yes, Lithuania - on the world record mark of 18.

Everyone in New Zealand knows that, with away matches versus Scotland and Italy coming up next, Saturday`s game against the Wallabies will make or break the country`s favourite sports side`s history bid. The All Blacks will not lack motivation and that spells trouble for their opponents.

So, what is the best way to punt on the match? Well, no-one is going to get rich quickly backing New Zealand to win the game at odds of around 1-7 so let`s see if there are some better options out there. First scoring play can be a bit of a lottery because it only takes a referee`s whistle to stuff up everything but betting on the first team to score a try is less fraught with danger. The All Blacks are around 4-9 to be the first side to post a five-pointer and, considering the last Bledisloe Cup clash ended 20-0 in favour of them, that seems like a decent alternative to the 1-7 win play.

Generally, the total points line has been set at 45.5 points and that looks a touch high. Australia does not look full of tries and, if it falls behind, it will have to pass up shots at goal and go for bigger scores. Also, there is a typical late afternoon, early evening thunderstorm forecast for the end of a hot spring day in Brisbane. If that hits then the ball will be slippery and tries will be harder to score.


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