By Louis Anderson-Rich
Hello and welcome to ANZ stadium where Australia are hosting the All Blacks in the opening fixture of the brand new Rugby Championship, and not so brand new Bledisloe Cup.
The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003 and are looking to make it 10 wins on the trot.
The last time these teams met was in last year’s Rugby World Cup semifinal, when the All Blacks ran out comfortable winners, 20-6.
There has been plenty said over the last few days about Australia’s selection tactics, with only six players from that semi-final defeat returning tonight compared to the All Blacks 11.
Meanwhile the match marks Sonny Bill Williams’ return to Sydney after infamously walking out on the Bulldogs and rugby league altogether last year, he is expected to be public enemy no. 1 to the Sydney crowd in what should be a cracker of a match.
Make sure you refresh your page occasionally. We’ll add VIDEO COMING SOON when we’re cutting the highlights and VIDEO UP when it’s ready to be viewed.
LIVE COMMENTARY: All Blacks 27 – 19 Wallabies
80 Min: Thats fulltime and Carter lands the penalty!
80 Min: There goes the final whistle and the All Blacks win a penalty and will kick for goal just to delay the game a little longer…Kurtley Beale with a decent gash to the head…
79 Min: All Blacks turn it over! Dagg kicks ahead and no one is there but Ashley-Cooper gets backto cover and the ball is grounded behind the Wallabies try line, 5 metre scrum to the All Blacks and I think they have this.
78 Min: Wallabies not making much ground at the moment…Beale runs across field and drops it to Ashley-Cooper, and the Waallabies are almost behind their own goal line…
77 Min: The All Blacks defence is really about to be tested here…Australia line out in the All Blacks half.
76 Min: Barnes puts it over.
75 Min: Here come the Wallabies and it’s Will Genia in the midfield, offloads to Radike Samo who hits the line at pace! Beale with the ball inside the All Blacks 22…Wallabies stringing phases together, now Pocock tries to slip through the line…All Blacks penalised and Berrick Barnes will take the penalty.
70 Min: Australia knock it on in front of their goalposts so the All Blacks have a chance from the scrum and it’s SBW on the sideline, he throws a pass out the back of his hands to Jane! But Jane knocks it on.
68 Min: All Blacks line out brings the ball down and it’s given to Smith…now Smith, harassed by Samo…Barnes does well on defence, but now it’s Nonu to Messam in some space! Short pass to Gear right on the sideline! But he is put into touch centimetres from the line. VIDEO UP
67 Min: All Blacks scrum goes completely over the top of the Wallabies and they have another penalty…game’s hit a bit of a lull at the moment but I’m sure it will come out of it soon.
66 Min: Genia now works it wide for Barnes…Ioane goes down and the All Blacks win another penalty.
65 Min: Australia right back in New Zealand’s half and Timani goes on a run…
64 Min: Carter lands his fourth penalty of the night, and it looks like he’s hobbling…
63 Min: Now Whitelock in some space! He’s taken the ball into the 22…he gets tackled and the All Blacks look to spread the ball over to the right…Pocock penalised again and Dan Carter will take a shot at goal from right out in front.
62 Min: Smith with a nice box kick that is bumbled by Ashley-Cooper and the ball will come back into midfield with Carter but he throws a shocker and the All Backs lose a little momentum but hold onto the ball…
61 Min: Barnes with a big up and under in the middle of the field…Higginbotham and Dagg up for it, neither get the ball but it is an All Blacks lineout.
57 Min: All Blacks turn the ball over just past halfway, McCaw drives it up ahead…All Blacks now just inside the 22, Read throws a pass to Mealamu on the wing who shows some deft hands, offload back to Gear who knocks it on.
56 Min: Carter’s going to have a go from behind the halfway line…it doesn’t have the legs though.
55 Min: good scrum from the Wallabies and Genia gives it to Barnes who lets rip with a great kick but Dagg has done well to keep it in touch…big up and under from Jane who chases it but the diminutive Genia manages to get up for it and starts a Wallabies attack…but that’s kicked away…Australia eventually penalised for not releasing.
52 Min: All Blacks still with the ball and Cory Jane throws the no look reverse pass to Dan Carter who runs onto it but is tackled…ball finds its way out to Messam, then to SBW buuuut that pass is judged to have gone forwards.
51 Min: Dagg receives the ball from a high kick in the middle of his own half, he sets out on a run and finds a gap! He’s through now Dagg, Beale to beat, Dagg throws a pass over to Gear on the left side! But it’s a dreadful pass and goes into touch.
50 Min: Barnes lands the kick.
49 Min: Ref calls ANOTHER penalty that’s the 20th of the night…Berrick Barnes to have a shot at goal.
48 Min: Carter makes no mistake and it’s another three points.
47 Min: Pocock gets pinged for hands in the ruck, Carter with a kick at goal…
46 Min: Wallabies playing pretty positively as they again try to run the ball from their tryline… Horne throws it awkwardly inside to Pocock and the ball comes out to Barnes who eventually kicks into touch.
45 Min: Berrick Barnes with a penalty kick at goal…which he puts over.
44 Min: Very loose start to this second half as no one really stakes a claim to the ball…Wallabies have the ball now though, and Read puts a big hit on David Pocock who is staying down. Great tackle, but play has been brought back for an All Blacks offside.
43 Min: Another attack from the All Blacks and it’s Nonu in the midfield, throws a dreadful pass across to Gear which skids along the ground and Australia have pounced on that and put Gear into touch.
42 Min: Carter gives it to Williams who is tied up by Horne very quickly, he tries to throw an offload to…no one…Faingaa gets the ball and kick ahead but Hosea Gear gets back to clean up…
41 Min: So Carter gets us back underway and the Wallabies knock the ball on and the All Blacks already have a scrum in a dangerous position.
40 Min: Siren has gone for halftime but the All Blacks still have the ball, they’ve worked it up to the 10 metre line until Liam Messam is eventually put into touch and that’s halftime!
39 Min: Berrick Barnes adds the 2…VIDEO UP OF CORY JANE TRY
38 Min: Wallabies with a good kick downfield which gets them up to the All Blacks 22…throw from Polota Nau taken down by Sharpe…Wallabies look to drive and make no progress…Genia now gives it to Beale…Genia again looks wide to Barnes who has some quick hands to give it to Ashley-Cooper…Wallabies stringing their phases together and it’s Genia who gives it to an oncoming Ioane hitting the line at pace, breaks a few tackles and Nathan Sharpe with the quick recycle ball goes over the line! TRY! VIDEO COMING SOON
36 Min: Ioana looking dangerous in a bit of space on the left flank…now Barnes back into centre field to Sharpe, he’s tackled and doesn’t release the ball and is penalised again.
35 Min: Carter just drags the conversion wide.
34 Min: Chance for the All Blacks with a scrum after that knock on…Smith, to Carter to SBW, then quick hands from Dagg out to Cory Jane on the wing and he goes over! TRY! VIDEO COMING SOON
33 Min: Carter drills the ball downfield but Genia is back there to claim it, he throws it inside to Beale who somehow drops it! The softest pass under no pressure and he’s knocked it on it 5 metres from his own tryline!
32 Min: Barnes kick is charged down but it’s fallen straight into the path of Kurtley Beale in some space! He throws it back inside to Scott Higginbotham who drops it cold! Fantastic chance gone begging for Australia.
31 Min: Another scrum penalty this time going the way of the Wallabies as the ref begins to assert his dominance on the game.
29 Min: New Zealand can’t do anything with their territory after Kieran Read drops a Luke Romano pass that would have put him through.
28 Min: Carter with another penalty and another good kick that gains a lot of territory, lineout thrown and Whitelock takes…VIDEO OF WALLABIES CHANCE UP
27 Min: Wallabies penalised at the scrum and Dan Carter finds touch with his clearing kick this time…
26 Min: Or do they as Dan Carter doesn’t find touch with the penalty, Ioane has the ball he runs it back in field, and now it’s the prop Sekope Kepu…double knock on though and the ref penalises the All Blacks. VIDEO COMING SOON
25 Min: Australia stringing their plays together…as Sharpe has a crack from 5 metres out but the All Blacks win a penalty and get out of danger!
23 Min: Aussies with the kick into touch, lineout is good as Sharpe takes it…Genia goes straight through the line off the ruck! No one in support though and Dagg makes a tackle, Wallabies win the penalty though! And there is a bit of push and shove between McCaw and Pocock and the Wallabies have taken their penalty quickly! All Blacks at sixes and sevens but somehow keep them from scoring!
22 Min: Not a bad Wallaby scrum…Dagg with a big up and under and Genia’s there underneath but Dagg and the rest of the black wave rolls over him, penalty has been called for the Wallabies though…
21 Min: Restart falls to Cory Jane this time and he is tackled…Smith with a box kick that Beale takes…kick over the top from Barnes which runs behind the tryline and Carter dots it down for a restart on the 22.
20 Min: Dan Carter puts the All Blacks in front by 10 points.
19 Min: Australia still trying to run it out from their own 22 and the veteran Nathan Sharpe coughs the ball up, and the All Blacks win a penalty from directly out in front of the posts.
18 Min: Now Barnes throws a dreadful pass behind Beale and Australia are behind their own tryline from their own doing! Adam Ashley-Cooper scrambles the ball away and the Wallabies are playing with fire.
17 Min: Great kick from Carter gains the All Blacks some brilliant territory, but Luke romano has coughed it up and now the Wallabies look to run the ball out from their own line…Rob Horne goes down in a tackle but wins a penalty, taken quickly by Genia who throws it at Kepu who doesn’t catch it at first, but somehow Australia hold on…
16 Min: All Blacks with another penalty after Australia put a few too many hands in the ruck. VIDEO UP OF TRY
15 Min: Carter curls the extras over like a pro.
14 Min: Real chance for NZ here, the ball finds it’s way off the back of the scrum to Gear, and one more over to Dagg on the sideline! There goes Dagg sprinting down the line he’s got Beale to beat! Goosesteps around him and he goes over the line! TRY! VIDEO COMING SOON
11 Min: Barnes goes very short with the restart and it just goes the 10 and it’s Wallabies ball…Genia to Beale who tries to get through the line with a couple of jinks but to no avail and Beale is tackled hard, kept up by the All Blacks and New Zealand eventually win a penalty. VIDEO UP
10 Min: Opportunity still there for the All Blacks with a ruck…but the Wallabies are penalised for going early and Dan Carter has a chance to level with a penalty from the sideline…he nails it.
9 Min: Another good lineout from the All Blacks, ball goes to SBW who barrels into the line, now Messam breaks the line! He’s inside the 22 with space! Tries to put a looping pass over out to the wing but it’s gone to no one and goes into touch. VIDEO COMING SOON
8 Min: Genia pinged for offside and Dan Carter sends a booming kick into touch…
7 Min: Genia gets a nice offload to Faingaa who makes some decent ground…Australia try to get some quick ball happening but Kurtley Beale knocks it on. Scrum All Blacks.
6 Min: All Blacks with the ball they’ve worked it into centre field…now back out on the left to SBW he’s tackled and the All Blacks are penalised again because Ma’a Nonu entered the ruck from the side.
5 Min: Wallabies first lineout now which they take cleanly…Ball thrown out to Barnes now Beale who gets shut down by Ma’a Nonu, Beale gets an offload away to Adam Ashley-Cooper on the touchline but he’s put into touch.
4 Min: First lineout for the All Blacks, good throw from Keven Mealamu…Messam receives the ball and is shovelled into touch.
3 Min: Carter restart nicely short but Wallabies nab it, Genia flings a pass away to Barnes who gives a little chip over the top, Aaron Smith is there to clean up well though…
2 Min: First scrum of the game, it swirls around all over the show and first penalty given to the Wallabies! Three points on a plate for them…Barnes lands the kick to put the first points on the board.
1 Min: and Berrick Barnes gets the 2012 Rugby Championship and this years first Bledisloe Cup match underway!...Kick is high, taken well by Whitelock…now McCaw onto Dagg who look to run it out from their own line…SBW gets called up for throwing a forward pass to Cory Jane right out in front of the goalposts.
And now, the Haka…never fails to send a tingle down my spine, the Wallabies looking pretty resolute…lets get onto some footy!
Cheers Laura Bunting, great rendition...and also Daniel Belle.
Please stand for the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand.
And now the Aussies, Pocock leading them out onto the field.
And the ABs are led out of the tunnel by Richie McCaw for the 70th time.
We are tantalisingly close to kick-off, both teams have headed into the sheds for their final debriefs…
Win the battle up front seems to be the most common term bandied around for the Aussies…
Conditions in Sydney look very good, mild night with great conditions underneath.
Kick off isn’t far away but in the meantime you can watch highlights of the All Blacks 60-0 drubbing of Ireland.
All Blacks: 15. Israel Dagg, 14. Cory Jane, 13. Ma'a Nonu, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Hosea Gear, 10. Dan Carter, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Kieran Read, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 6. Liam Messam, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Luke Romano, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Keven Mealamu, 1. Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: 16. Andrew Hore, 17. Ben Franks, 18. Brodie Retallick, 19. Victor Vito, 20. Piri Weepu, 21. Aaron Cruden, 22. Ben Smith.
Wallabies: 15. Kurtley Beale, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13. Rob Horne, 12. Anthony Faingaa, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Berrick Barnes, 9. Will Genia, 8. Scott Higginbotham, 7. David Pocock (captain), 6. Dave Dennis, 5. Nathan Sharpe, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Tatafu Polota Nau, 1. Benn Robinson
Reserves: 16. Stephen Moore, 17. James Slipper, 18. Rob Simmons, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Michael Hooper, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Drew Mitchell.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen’s starting XV has 11 players who featured in the world cup semi-final against Australia.
In contrast, Robbie Deans’ Wallabies have just 6.
“Initially you’d think that he’s either admitted to himself he got the selection wrong in the semi-final,” Hansen says about his counterpart. “Or that he wants to play a different game and he doesn’t have the confidence in the guys he used in the semi-final to do that.”
One of the new faces for round one of Hansen versus Deans, is Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam. The bruising blindside has been setting himself new standards in 2012.
“To win the Championship you have to be consistent and as a leader you’ll always have to perform,” Messam says. “And I just went by that for the whole year and I’m here now.”
Consistency has been the name of Messam’s ‘new game’ and Hansen has taken notice.
“In the past we’ve seen him do two or three brilliant things, then maybe three or four silly things. He’s matured and got over that and his whole game now is pretty spot on.
Rising star Aaron Smith is among the new faces who have been schooled on the meaning of the Bledisloe Cup.
“We got a pretty stern talking too from the senior players on Sunday night about what it meant to them and what’s actually on the line and what the Bledisloe cup actually means to New Zealand,” Smith says.
Should the All Blacks win in Sydney, Australia would have to win next Saturday night at Eden Park, something they haven’t managed since 1986.