All Blacks

GAGR Exclusive: Prepare for the POOPER

GAGR Exclusive: Prepare for the POOPER

It’s already the ultimate test in rugby. Throw in some championship silverware on the line, a looming Word Cup and you wouldn’t think the prospect of this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup match could be any more exciting.

But it is.

Yes people, G&GR can exclusively reveal we will finally see from the Bledisloe kick-off a back row pairing that feels so right it must somehow be wrong – THE POOPER (and before you lose your shit about the line-out, Horwill and Mumm with Fardy at six will be the options, Skelton on the bench).   If that high octane  mix of a ball scavenging, Argie-slapping back five isn’t enough, factor in Sio, Moore and Kepu for the win.

This is a pack designed to raise the pace of the match to breaking point on some ageing Kiwi bones before bringing the hammer down with Big Will, Polota-Nau and Slipper.

Behind the scrum the mayhem continues. Phipps and Foley will keep the pedal to the metal, releasing the strike weapons of TK, Two-Dads and Folau – who by the way has beaten 15 defenders in his two TRC appearances – the next nearest is Cordero with 10. Injecting some sanity, experience and a couple of left boots in the backline is the Giteau-Mitchell bromance. Expect no Kiwi weakness to be left untested by this backline combination of brawn and brains.

Just how many All Black weaknesses are there though? Well, a key stat say they do exist – New Zealand has conceded twice as many tries as the Wallabies (4 vs 2) against the same opposition. Three of those four have been in the second half of the game.

A traditional weakness of the Wallabies – the final quarter of the match is yet to yield a try against them. Have Australia finally managed to find an extra gear in the most important part of the match? We’ll find out on Saturday night.

Perhaps the strongest indication of the threat the Cheika Wallabies pose is the side New Zealand has named. This is their A-Team with the brains trust of McCaw (about to equal O’Driscoll’s world record of 141 caps), Carter and Conrad Smith all running on and augmented with excitement machines Savea, SBW, Ben Smith and test debutant Milner-Skudder. It’s clear that Hanson and co. have decided to snuff out any Wallaby momentum early on the road to the World Cup.


Lets get real, for a minute

This is a mammoth task for a Wallaby side that was a TMO’s blade of grass under Tevita Kurudrani from a record horror run of results. The detail  in the Wallaby game is still sketchy – goal kicking is woeful, scrums are a worry and positional play barely existent. New Zealand have been honing variations within these facets for years.

What we are going to see on Saturday night is a modern sporting experiment – can belief, guts and physicality overcome the best of the best? One thing we’re coming to believe is that Cheika’s Wallabies won’t take a step back in trying.

The teams


1.Scott Sio
2. Stephen Moore (c)
3. Sekope Kepu
4. James Horwill
5. Dean Mumm
6. Scott Fardy
7. Michael Hooper
8. David Pocock
9. Nick Phipps
10. Bernard Foley
11. Drew Mitchell
12. Matt Giteau
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper
15. Israel Folau

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau
17. James Slipper
18. Greg Holmes
19. Will Skelton
20. Ben McCalman
21. Nic White
22. Matt Toomua
23. Kurtley Beale

All Blacks

1. Tony Woodcock (113)
2. Dane Coles (28)
3. Owen Franks (70)
4. Brodie Retallick (39)
5. Luke Romano (19)
6. Jerome Kaino (58)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (140)
8. Kieran Read (75)
9. Aaron Smith (39)
10. Daniel Carter (104)
11. Julian Savea (33)
12. Sonny Bill Williams (25)
13. Conrad Smith (86)
14. Nehe Milner-Skudder
15. Ben Smith (39)

16. Codie Taylor (2)
17. Ben Franks (42)
18. Nepo Laulala (2)
19. Samuel Whitelock (64)
20. Sam Cane (22)
21. TJ Perenara (13)
22. Beauden Barrett (29)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (9)


All Blacks

Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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