The All Blacks have a mortgage on the Bledisloe Cup and they’re looking to wrap up the series against Australia at Eden Park on Saturday.
New Zealand hasn’t lost at Eden Park since 1994, which is one of the longest home winning streaks in world sport. That’s the task Australia must overcome if it’s to avoid starting The Rugby Championship 0-2.
It’s no surprise the online sportsbook has the All Blacks as firm favorites to win the Bledisloe Cup.
What We Learned from Game One
It was a strange game at Eden Park last week, which saw the All Blacks storm to a big lead but give most of that away late in the second half.
There were positive and negative signs for both teams, but we’re expecting a much more thrilling contest this time around.
The All Blacks were up 9-3 close to halftime but managed to sneak a try late in the first half. They were able to produce the goods after halftime before allowing three late tries to the Wallabies, which didn’t please fans and the coaching staff.
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) August 7, 2021
It’s not like the All Blacks to let teams back into the contest, so coach Ian Foster isn’t taking Game Two for granted.
“We know that Australia will be disappointed with the result and will lift. It’s a do or die game for them,” Foster told The New Zealand Herald.
“But the Bledisloe Cup means a lot to us. It’s a historic trophy and it’s easy for people to take it for granted based on results in recent years, but throughout history, it has been a hard Cup to win, so it’s hugely important.”
The All Blacks have named a strong side for the game, including Aaron Smith at halfback and Richie Mo’unga at first five. They are joined by the likes of Sevu Reece, who had a blistering opening game, and Damian McKenzie, who is always a threat at the back.
Rugby betting markets have the All Blacks at -21½ favorites, which is a big line. They are capable of covering the spread, especially at Eden Park, but if Australia turns up, it will be tough to cover.
Will the Australians Improve?
Trusting the Australian rugby team is never easy for bettors, but there were encouraging signs Saturday.
The Wallabies could have easily folded over and lost by 30+ points, but they fought back with three late tries and the resilience was good to see from a team that has lacked heart in recent months.
They should have lost the series against a weakened France before facing the All Blacks, but they can use last week’s effort as a building block for things to come.
Australia catch the All Blacks unawares with a long throw in a windy Eden Park, Paisami breaks a couple of tackles and puts Andrew Kellaway away for a try on his test debut#NZLvAUS pic.twitter.com/glN4hBcdGR
— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) August 7, 2021
We were impressed with the senior players, but the younger players still have a lot to learn. Former All Black and sporting superstar Sonny Bill Williams believes the problems for Australia start at the schoolboy level.
“What do we want to get out of the Wallabies at that level? We want them competing against the top-tier nations, we want them beating them consistently, we want them winning the Bledisloe Cup consistently,” Williams said.
“How do you do that? For me, I think we’ve got it wrong in the sense we think by hoarding the top-earned players, it’s not going to happen. The source of the problem is the footy at school. The majority of public schools all play rugby league, and it’s the majority of private schools that will play rugby union.”
Until Australia starts to embrace rugby as it did during the 1990s and early 2000s, New Zealand will continue to dominate its trans-Tasman rivals.
All Blacks vs Wallabies Pick
If this game was played anywhere else but Eden Park we would give the Australians a chance of covering the spread. However, because it’s in Auckland, we can’t see New Zealand slowing down.
We’re expecting the All Blacks to play for the full 80 minutes and if they did that last week, it would have been a 30-40-point margin.
Most of the money has come for the home team, so the line could move closer to game time.