ABs and Wallabies in for emotional test
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 6:48p.m.
By Jim Kayes
While there's only pride riding on the result, the third Bledisloe Cup test is set to be an emotional one with Keven Mealamu playing his 100th test, while Wallaby Nathan Sharpe plays his 112th and his last against the All Blacks.
All Black Dan Carter says the fact that the weekend’s game is in Brisbane means there’ll be a lot of Kiwi support in the stands.
“It's crazy,” he says. “Where we go there tends to be Kiwis that pop out from everywhere or All Blacks supporters, and no place more so than here in Brisbane”.
But Sharpe says it’s still an Aussie home game.
“There's New Zealanders all across Australia. I lived in Perth, it's the most far away part of Australia from New Zealand, there's more Kiwis there than there are here, so it's a home game for us, no doubt about that,” he says.
It's a milestone match for the Australian lock, and he’s expecting pace and pain, but he knows that in a poor year a win against the old enemy can make a lot of things right.
“It's just how it is,” he says, “that's the way it always is and I’m assuming that's how it's always going to be.”
They're up against it. Injuries have ruled out at least nine potential starting Wallabies and this week Robbie Deans has been able to name just three starting backs who have actually played against the All Blacks.
New Zealand's experience could be crucial.
“It certainly helps them at different times. You watch the way they play the game, they understand the way each other plays and they're pretty savvy at manipulating things to help them go forward so that's a strength of theirs,” says Sharpe.
Carter agrees, but also thinks the Australians could be dangerous.
“Looking at their side it's pretty inexperienced but that can work in your favour sometimes, they've got nothing to lose.”
That's because the All Blacks have won all the trophies. But there's still plenty to motivate the team tomorrow.
“He's such a huge part of this All Blacks side so we are wanting to win this weekend especially for Kevvie,” says Carter.
A win to celebrate Mealamu's 100th test will keep All Blacks fans on both sides of the Tasman smiling.
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