Bledisloe: Will it be a case of the longer it lasts the sooner it will end?

Bledisloe: Will it be a case of the longer it lasts the sooner it will end?

It is indeed a relevant question: Is history relevant if the chances of two opposing sides are weighed up for a next match?

Yes, it is, despite the views of an unknown philosopher, my wife, who contends that the longer it lasts, the sooner it will change.

This bring one to the must-win match for the All Blacks and the at-least-draw challenge facing the Wallabies on Saturday after a winless 16 years in the battle for the Bledisloe Cup since 2002.

Yes, they have beaten the All Blacks in this year’s first of two matches in the competition that differs between one and three matches annually, depending on other competitions, fixtures and tours.

The Wallabies did so comprehensively (46-13) and even a red card to All Blacks lock Scott Barrett cannot deny the Australians’ supremacy in Perth last Saturday.

This Saturday the Wallabies have to achieve the near-impossible if one looks at the history: a win at Eden Park where the All Blacks have not lost since 1994 and Australia haven't won in 18 matches and for the past 33 years.

Saturday is last match for the All Blacks before their World Cup squad is announced, a motivation for the individuals in itself. And with the incentive for the New Zealand players to show individual form in a team environment the Wallabies must expect a different side than the listless lot that faced them a week ago.

Using the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe matches as World Cup trials is something that has to be done, as was also the route the Springboks opted for – and to hell with traditions where national rugby caps are now given out to players who still have to prove they are of international standard.

These are different times than 30, 40 year ago and that is the way to go about things. However, it could be costly for the All Blacks in the short term.

The Wallabies have not won at Eden Park in 18 games over the past 33 years, a dismal statistic which coach Michael Cheika has turned into a challenge for his troops. But Eden Park has been described as the All Blacks field of dreams and the Wallabies worst nightmare – and that alone prompts one to predict a scoreline of just short of two scores at 12 points for the All Blacks.

Teams –

New Zealand
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 George Bridge; 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jordie Barrett.
Australia
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Kick-off:
 09.35
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)