Chance for WallabiesSports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 16 Aug 2019
The Wallabies are "hungry" to snap a 17-year Bledisloe Cup drought, coach Michael Cheika warned, as he savors the chance to inflict back-to-back defeats on the All Blacks.
Australia stunned the world champions 47-26 in Perth last weekend and head to Auckland needing another win tomorrow to claim the trans-Tasman silverware for the first time since 2002.
An All Blacks victory would level the series and see them retain the trophy as holders, gaining a psychological edge heading into their Rugby World Cup title defense in Japan next month.
"We haven't had it for a long time and we're hungry to get it," Cheika said. "We know we're going to come up against an excellent opponent who is ready to go as well."
Cheika named an unchanged side, apart from one injury-enforced absence, as he looks to build on their record win in Perth.
The only change is Adam Coleman, who will start his first Test of 2019, replacing giant lock Rory Arnold who hurt his hand in Perth, with Rob Simmons among the reserves.
It is an otherwise familiar team with Nic White and Christian Lealiifano again preferred to Will Genia and Bernard Foley in the playmaking roles, and James O'Connor retaining his place at outside center.
Australia have not tasted victory at Eden Park since 1986 with the All Blacks on a 42-match unbeaten streak at the Auckland venue. "When you play New Zealand you know you're going to get the quality of play, the physicality as well," said Cheika.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen axed three senior players and demanded a 200 percent improvement from his forwards in the winner-takes-all clash.
Prop Owen Franks and wings Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane - a combined total of 213 Test caps - were dumped. In their place is the relatively raw talent of Nepo Laulala (18 Tests), George Bridge (three) and Sevu Reece (one).
"We've got to find out more about these other people in pressure-cooker situations," Hansen said. "We wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think that the guys we put in aren't good enough to do the job."
The two other changes to the All Blacks' starting team are the return of Sonny Bill Williams for injured center Jack Goodhue, while Patrick Tuipulotou replaces suspended lock Scott Barrett.