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International Rugby: Wallabies out to break Eden Park hoodoo

The Wallabies have been away licking their wounds following last week’s controversial defeat to the All Blacks and will be out for revenge when the two sides clash again on Saturday.

Australia had Bledisloe Cup glory in their grasp for the first time since 2003 but it slipped through their fingers following a late, controversial call from the match referee.

Everything that could be said about that decision has been said. It is fair to say that Australia were hard done by. Not many would argue with that. However it is history and Dave Rennie will want a response from his players on Saturday.

The Rugby Championship is gone for the Wallabies but there is still so much to play for with the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France fast approaching.

Not only that, there is immense pride every time a player pulls on the Wallabies jersey and they will be determined to get the win.

It will not be easy though as the Wallabies have not won at the famous venue for 36 years and the All Blacks will be keen to keep that record intact.

The Aussie players will also be extra fired up following last week’s defeat so we could be in for a cracker of a game in front of a sold out stadium.

Let’s take a closer look at the game as kick-off is just around the corner.

What: New Zealand v Australia
Where: Eden Park, Auckland
When: 17:05 (AEST) Saturday 24th September 2022
How to watch: Channel 9, Stan Sport
Odds: New Zealand 1/10, Australia 6/1


Team news

The Wallabies have more horrendous bad luck on the injury front after Rob Leota became the latest player to pick up a serious injury.

Leota suffered a ruptured Achilles in the 39-37 defeat against New Zealand last week and the 25-year-old is now set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Melbourne Rebels star had made 13 appearances for the Wallabies but will now need time to recover.

Rebels GM of rugby Nick Stiles said of the situation: "As a Club, we're going to do everything we can to provide the same support for Rob during his rehabilitation process and make sure he comes out from this bigger and better."

Leota is not the only Wallabies player to suffer a ruptured Achilles. Both Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi have done the same in recent months.

The injury means that Jed Holloway is set to return to the back-row after recently playing at lock. However Rennie also has the option to go with Fraser McReight which would mean Pete Samu switching to blindside flanker.

The All Blacks have concerns over a couple of players heading into the game.

Captain Sam Cane picked up an injury at Marvel Stadium last week and had to be replaced in the game. He now faces a race to be fit for the re-match.

Also blindside flanker Shannon Frizell is suffering with a rib injury and will need to get through training on Thursday to be considered.

The All Blacks are however boosted by the return of Ardie Savea from paternity leave and he will fill the No.8 jersey.


What they say

Australia are looking to embrace the disappointment of last week’s defeat and use it to their advantage at Eden Park.

They had to deal with huge disappointment for a couple of days in the aftermath of the defeat but have now put it behind them and are ready to go again.

That is according to centre Lalakai Foketi who says the players are fired up to break the Eden Park hoodoo.

“I think you look at the game and everyone in the environment is disappointed, we’ve just got to harness that and take it to New Zealand," Foketi said.

"Every opportunity to put on the gold jersey is unbelievable and if I get the chance this weekend, I want to pay back the belief and trust in this group.”

Meanwhile the All Blacks are also fired up for the clash and want to rub more salt into the wounds of the Wallabies.

Some had suggested that the clash could be viewed as a dead-rubber, but All Blacks assistant coach Jase Ryan says there is no such thing when these two proud rugby nations go head-to-head.

"I don't know where that's come from. It's a New Zealand-Australia Test match at Eden Park,” Ryan said. “There's a lot on the line, and we're treating it as a final. We've prepared accordingly to expect that."

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