By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Auckland’s Eden Park where New Zealand’s All Blacks are looking to retain the Bledisloe Cup and continue an unbeaten Rugby Championship campaign against Australia’s Wallabies.
It’s been a long time between drinks for the Aussies at Eden Park, 25 years since they last tasted victory in Auckland.
This time they’ve brought back the mercurial Quade Cooper at first-five, the question is will he be able to resurrect a floundering Wallabies team?
We’ll bring you video live updates throughout the match, including video highlights of all the big plays and tries.
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...FINAL SCORE All Blacks 22 v 0 Wallabies
It's all over the All Blacks have held the Wallabies scoreless - first time since 1962 at Carisbrook. All video up.
79 min: Wallabies have run out of ideas... well, they've hardly had any ideas really and the ABs now want another try to finish this one off.... Vito nearly through, off to Carter and Ohhhh he could have scored himself but throws it to touch. VIDEO UP SOON.
76 min: Long period of possession for the ABs but they are held out by the Wallabies.
73 min: Cruden finds Carter running at pace and he finds Weepu... little knock on. Great angles.
72 min: Aussie try to run it from their line then kick it and Ben Smith runs it back with venom... great cover defence nails him and they turn it over and clear their line through a kick to touch.
70 min: Australia throwing everything they have into the final minutes but they can't crack the ABs defence and are taking some poor options... turnover... Williams off to Ben Smith and he kicks in behind... Aussie with the ball but the ABs walk over it! Forward no hammering.... real scramble... ball lost over the line. VIDEO UP. Carter off and Aaron Cruden on.
66 min: Carter kicks for touch.... play breaks down and Aussie hack it ahead but the ABs get a few jerseys behind the ball right on halfway. Smith with a great chip that is claimed by carter... ball turned over and Digby Ioane steps his way through a couple of tackles.... again, ball kicked away. Victor Vito on for Messam, Piri Weepu on for Smith for the ABs.
61 min: Right, we've got a scrum just to the left of the posts about 30 metres out... ABs attacking feed... pass bounces wide and disrupts the flow, All Blacks drive through the Franks brothers then McCaw, Smith off to Hore, Smith again off to SBW and he's smashed... set and ohhhh... movement swept right and Ben Smith broke through, popped it to Read who hit the deck then reached out... but did he score? It's gone upstairs... no try. Penalty ABs. VIDEO UP.
58 min: Aaron Smith with a break but can't find Cory Jane out wide. VIDEO UP.
56 min: Aussies on the march and bound as they drive it in a rolling maul.... then Read rips it away.... magical stuff... and it breaks down with an ABs defensive feed to the lineout. Ben Franks on for Wyatt Crockett and Ben smith on for Ma'a Nonu.
55 min: The lineout is a hash and the ABs with a chance to run it from their own line - forward pass midfield shuts that one down very fast. Touchie call on Nonu. Quade Cooper has been very quiet so far. Another penalty right out in front with the ABs not rolling away - Aussie have no confidence in their scrum and tap and go... but they're not really going anywhere. Barnes suddenly in space out on the far right touch.... Kieran Read with a great tackle, it's turned over and Carter clears. Read saved the day. Gill on for Dennis for Australia.
51 min: Period with the pill for the Australians and they get a welcome penalty when the ABs didn't release... they kick for touch and the lineout.
49 min: Going from bad to worse for the Wallabies as SBW breaks through... Aussies offside everywhere and that's the eighth penalty they've conceded. You'd bet the farm on carter taking it out to 22-0. ABs passes are sticking now and they're getting in behind the defence... Aussies now missing some first up tackles too. Farm is safe as DC slots it - 22-0 to the All Blacks.
47 min: Smith finds Mccaw on a great angle... then SBW find Carter... Read then turns it back to Williams.... two metres out, set, TRY as Smith finds Israel Dagg who dots over. Kick to come. VIDEO UP. Carter's kick is good and it's 19-0. Radike Samo now on as Robbie Deans gets desperate and Scott Higginbottom is pissed to be dragged. Andrew Hore on for Mealamu and Brodie Rettallick on for Luke Ramon for the ABs.
44 min: Wow massive kick from Dagg, Aussie take it quick.... ABs with the ball and Messam slams it up in the Barnes tackle. carter does well and wraps with Nonu but Nonu knocks on, didn't expect the pass, Quade Cooper suddenly with a little bit of space... but play breaks down.
41 min: Romano claims the kick off.... back and forth and then Stephen Moore penalised for being inside the 10 metre circle from a high kick. Carter has a chance straight out, 53 metres.... he's up for it he says and points to the sticks. Might be a small breeze behind the No. 10 champion. Tremendous kick sails over and he takes his own tally to 12 and his side leads 12-0.
Well let's hope there more action and highlights to cut in the second spell... because it was bereft of any clinical in the first. Just that final pass, the wrong option... yet to click for either side. Foster says credit to Aussie as they are defending well but he also says the little things aren't quite working for the ABs yet. Too many mistakes and most of the rugby is being played centre field... Anthony Faingaa on for the green and gold in place of Rob Horne - straight swap.
HALFTIME: All Blacks 9 - 0 Wallabies.
11 min: Genia back on and the Wallabies have one final chance with a lineout five metres in the ABs half... tipped away by Romano on the All Blacks side, out to Dagg on the right hand flank with a grubber... and Aussie run it to touch for halftime.
38 min: All Blacks with a tight head! Desperation from the wallabies... Aaron Smith searching for runners... Mealamu crawls a couple, advantage as Ben Alexander and Michael Hooper both caught offside five metres to the left of the posts about 12 metres out... gift for DC. While DC lines it up another change for the Aussies, James Slipper on in the front row for Ben Robinson. Carter slots it - ABs lead 9-0.
36 min: The All Blacks take it right from the scrum and Nonu hits it at pace. Then the pill spreads left, Luke Romano trying a short pop up pass that's called forward. Scrum Wallabies. Genia still on the sin bin chair... Berrick Barnes feeding the scrum without Genia on the park.
35 min: ABs taking it up through the forwards, then they release the backs and it's SBW off to Nonu... five phases now... Mealamu sets it... Sam Whitelock with a half break and knocks it back just outside the Wallabies 22... good defence from the Wallabies and they turn it over and it finds it ways into Adam Ashley-Coopers hands and he kicks... and it could open up the other way but the ABs drive the kick deep... gee, hectic stuff... it finally finished with an ABs kick that dribbles over the try line, Quade Cooper dotting it down for a 22 kick. Timani in real strife with what looks like a shoulder problem - he's been Aussie's best so far. Aussies try the short kick... and it's pulled back for an infringement, not sure what, and it's an ABs scrum centre field. Kurley Beale is now on.
32 min: This is a strange match.... no real clear cut chances and it's very tight out there. A few mistakes from both sides not helping.
31 min: Genia has been sent from the field - yellow card!!!! Professional foul as the ABs linked a few passes together, McCaw found Jane with an offload and he was tackled by Genia with the Aussie captain slapping Jane's attempted pass away to disrupt play, while on the ground. Carter lines a tough one up, 35 out, 6 from the left-hand touch. B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l kick from Carter and it's 6--0.
28 min: Huge overlap for the ABs but Aussies get in the way in the back line and it's thrown right to a gold shirt, but the green and gold kick it away and Dagg kicks it deep to touch. He's punting very well. Possession 2:1 to the Wallabies. Cooper thumped to the ground by SBW and the Eden Park crowd goes nuts.
25 min: Little kick through has Corey Jane running back, grabs it, turns and he's off... ankle tapped and can't find an unmarked Read on his right... set up, SBW hit hard in the tackle through the next attacking phase... here come the first points as it's an ABs penalty right out in front, 35 out. That was Timani who hit SBW and stopped the flow. Carter slots it and my multi is over... but at least the All Blacks lead 3-0.
22 min: Timani used as a battering ram in mid-field... All Blacks defence is holding... so much Wallaby ball... Genia with a great up and under and Dagg... comes... and... claims it brilliantly. All the action in the centre of the field right now. To and fro and then Dagg gets his hands on it again and drills it deep... Cooper - under a siege of boos - clear beyond the halfway line. ABs throw.
20 min: Dag puts a little grubber through but the Aussies clean up... McCaw joins the ruck incorrectly and he's penalised. Richie even nods his head in agreement. That's a quarter of the match gone and no score.
19 min: SBW again breaks and offloads this time to Aaron Smith, the ABs are banging away... Messam looks to drive over the line.... lost it, looks like the Wallabies ripped it away over the line - that was Sitaleki Timani - and it's a droppie on the 22.
17 min: Break in play as Drew Mitchell gets some attention. Aussie with a wealth of possession but most of it is in their own half. Carter gets a penalty and there's a swirling breeze so he ends up kicking for touch. Lineout 20 metres, right-hand touch.
15 min: Kieran Read smashes QUADE COOPER... VIDEO UP. Aussies on the back foot after that hit and they have to set things up again.
13 min:Hooper gets over the ball and wins the penalty for the Aussies but they fail to find the touch - Quade gets a ribbing - and they get the scrum but it's 30 metres from where they should have had it from.
11 min: Aussies have cleared and then Romano gets a little deflecting from the lineout and it's an Aussie feed to the scrum for the knock on. HUGE All Blacks scrum and the Wallabies scramble it away. The heat remains on. Ausse have the ball though and repeatedly they try and work it out... until Quade Cooper smashes it downfield. ABs with the ball.
8 min: First real chance for the ABs... attacking scrum... 22 on the right, Williams with a great ball to Carter as he frees the arms... Carter bursts through, set, out to Noni and ohhhh cover defence gets Israel Dagg in the corner. VIDEO UP.
7 min: Good physical start from the visiting side as they take it through a numer of phases but the penalty comes and it's for the Wallabies players leaving their feet. ABs clear through Carter. ABs win their first lineout easy.... out to Dagg and he belts it to Adam Ashley-Cooper.... good chase.... Cooper is swamped by three black shirts and the penalty is given. ABs point to the posts... Carter lines it up... Carter pushes it across the face - thank goodness I have a Multi on the ABs having the first scoring play through a try.... phew.
3 min: Play breaks down and half a chance for the All Blacks to break but they knock on. Another attacking chance to the Aussies with a scrum on the 22.
1 min: Short droppie from Dan Carter and Richie McCaw climbs over the top of Michael Hooper, McCaw knocking it on high up in the air. Chance to see the scrum - shakey start from the Wobblie Wallabies... Rest, penalty for the ABs collapsing the scrum. Aussie kick to touch and they have good ball. That penalty was against Crockett.
We've kicked off...
Nigel Owens the ref... kick off moments away... we'll get some highlights up as soon as something mouth-watering occurs.
Camera focuses right in on Wyatt Crockett... big night for the loosehead prop. HAKA TIME! Aussies link arms and face up on halfway.... MASSIVE Eden Park cheer... I don't need to tell you what haka is being performed...Piri leading the boys.... SBW smashing his hands against his chest... wicked stuff.
Both teams now out on Eden Park... moment's silence for the Kiwi soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Nice moment that... anthems... Aussies have doubled up on the anthem singers and two singing their anthem... maybe the only thing they'll win tonight? Nope... surely we can outclass that... Nick Afoa giving it his best at God Defend New Zealand... go son... yep, the Aussies are in trouble here too... Anthems stakes won by Aussie and we haven't even hit the English part.
Some punter has put $60k on the ABs to win at $1.12 - return of $7000 should they come through. Guess he's/she's thinking it's better than interest at the bank.
Kick off is ticking closer and it's a dry night in Auckland... should be okay for hands if the dew stays away. Hansen says the ABs aren't in the driver's seat as the Aussies have their backs against the wall and we all know how dangerous they can be in that spot. He's also hoping for improvement or 'we've wasted our time".
While you wait for kickoff, watch Jim Kayes 6pm story leading up to the match.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.Replacements: 16. Saia Faingaa, 17. James Slipper, 19. Radike Samo, 20. Anthony Faingaa, 21. Kurtley Beale, 22. Nick Phipps.
Australia will enter its Rugby Championship test against New Zealand tonight in the grip of overlapping losing streaks and with experts in both nations forecasting those droughts will continue.
The Wallabies must win in Auckland to avoid a defeat in the three-match Bledisloe Cup series against the All Blacks which would extend to 10 years the span since Australia last held the trans-Tasman trophy. It would also enlarge a 26-year losing streak against New Zealand at Eden Park, which encompasses defeat in last year's World Cup semifinal, the teams' last meeting at the venue.
Nothing in the Wallabies' performance last weekend in Sydney, where they were beaten 27-19 by a measurably stronger All Blacks team, suggests either of those streaks is about to end.
And careful observers, among them Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks coach Graham Henry, suggest it may be some time until Australia develops the strength to challenge New Zealand's current regional superiority and its increasingly comfortable role as world champion.
Henry guided the All Blacks to their 20-6 win over the Wallabies at last year's World Cup semifinal and said since that match the gap between the teams had widened. He attended last weekend's test in Sydney and said New Zealand had been "considerably better" than Australia in a match in which the scoreboard failed to reflect that superiority.
He predicted vast improvement from the All Blacks once they eliminating the errors that plagued their game last weekend.
"I was at the game in Sydney," Henry said. "It wasn't a great game was it? The All Blacks were significantly better than the others. I think the gap will widen here and it could be quite significant."
Henry pointed to one of the critical differences between Australian and New Zealand rugby - the depth which the All Blacks have developed painstakingly in recent years and which is presently missing from a Wallabies squad reduced by injuries.
The Wallabies lost their second captain of the season when flanker David Pocock followed lock James Horwill onto the injured list with a knee ligament strain in last weekend's match. Pocock's injury needed surgery and he will be out for three months. Halfback Will Genia has assumed the captaincy.
Coach Robbie Deans has sought to revive Australia's stagnant attacking game by recalling fist-five Quade Cooper, whose reputation as an attacking sparkplug suffered before injury ended his involvement in last year's World Cup. To accommodate Cooper, Deans has moved Berrick Barnes from fist-five to second-five - displacing his best player from last weekend's test - and has switched Adam Ashley-Cooper back to fullback in place of Kurtley Beale, whose defensive lapses cost two tries.
Henry, in his recently published biography, identified Cooper as the weakness the All Blacks specifically targeted in last year's World Cup semifinal. His inability to defend in the fist-five channel forced the Wallabies to drop him back to fullback on defense and the All Blacks then exploited his indecisiveness on the kick return.
Wallabies assistant coach Tony McGahan has said Cooper will defend in the fist-five channel on Saturday and that is likely to encourage the All Blacks, who heavily target that area.
Deans has shuffled the few cards he holds. His much harder task is to convince his players they can beat the All Blacks, especially after last week's comprehensive defeat.
The Wallabies were confident of their chances ahead of the match in Sydney but the areas in which they expected to improve - at the scrum and the breakdown - showed little progress. Pocock's loss will almost certainly reduce Australia's effectiveness at the breakdown, while an injury to 87-test prop Tony Woodcock might lessen the potency of the All Blacks scrum.
In any circumstances, the contest seems uneven. The All Blacks showed an ability to both create and finish tryscoring chances last weekend while the Wallabies had no attacking edge and foundered under pressure.
That performance led Wallabies great Mark Ella to predict on Thursday that it would be years before Australia could close the gap on New Zealand.
"We haven't won the Bledisloe Cup for 10 years and I think it's going to be another 10 years before we get there," Ella said. "(Australian) rugby to me has been terrific, which makes me cringe a little bit when I watch the current crop."
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen warned against predictions of a New Zealand walkover. He said the same was expected when the All Blacks met France in last year's World Cup final, which it won 8-7.
"Go back six months and we had a few people saying the same thing about the French. We beat them by a point," Hansen said. "Our job is to prepare well, respect the opposition and keep grounded. The challenge is about our opponent, but also about us playing better than we have before."