Friday, July 20, 2007


The Tri-Nations championship decider goes tomorrow. Only the RWC 2007 Final itself will be a bigger rugby game than Saturday's trans-Tasman dogfight. Both teams will start full-strength teams - no excuses. The pressure is squarely on the All Blacks, who remain hot favourites for the World Cup, despite being chastized with a late loss to the Wallabies in Melbourne three weeks ago. That aside, Australia have their own pressures. It'll be the last Bledisloe contests for retiring future Hall of Famers George Gregan and Stephen Larkham, and both will be looking for a win to claim Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations silverware as well as a devastating psychological advantage going to France. The Wallabies have not won a road (-or "away") Tri-Nations fixture since 2001.

Starting line-ups:

New Zealand: 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Anton Oliver, 3. Carl Hayman, 4. Keith Robinson, 5. Chris Jack, 6. Jerry Collins, 7. Richie McCaw (captain), 8. Rodney So'oialo, 9. Byron Kelleher, 10. Daniel Carter, 11. Joe Rokocoko, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Isaia Toeava, 14. Doug Howlett, 15. Mils Muliaina. Reserves: 16. Keven Mealamu, 17. Neemia Tialata, 18. Reuben Thorne, 19. Chris Masoe, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Aaron Mauger, 22. Nick Evans.

Australia: 1. Matt Dunning, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Guy Shepherdson, 4. Nathan Sharpe, 5. Dan Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. George Smith, 8. Stephen Hoiles, 9. George Gregan, 10. Stephen Larkham, 11. Drew Mitchell, 12. Matt Giteau, 13. Stirling Mortlock (captain), 14. Mark Gerrard, 15. Adam Ashley-Cooper. Reserves: 16. Adam Freier, 17. Al Baxter, 18. Hugh McMeniman, 19. Mark Chisholm, 20. Phil Waugh, 21. Scott Staniforth, 22. Chris Latham.

Date: Saturday 21 July 2007
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 local (07.35 GMT) 03:35 AM ET (Toronto, New York)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Touch judges: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Brendan McCormick (Australia)

Rugby Planet prediction: All Blacks by 10 points.

Complete Rugby Planet preview - click here.

The All Blacks vs. Wallabies test match is available LIVE on Mediazone Rugby Channel. Click here for details. Kick-off at 03:35 AM ET early Saturday morning July 21, 2007 (Toronto, New York).



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