Rugby: Bledisloe Cup 2018 – Late change in kick-off time for All Blacks and Wallabies first test
The kick-off for the first Bledisloe Cup test between the All Blacks and Wallabies has been brought forward.
The first match of the Rugby Championship, and the first of three Bledisloe Cup tests, will get underway at 9.45pm (NZT), 20 minutes earlier than initially publicised.
It is understood that the change was requested six weeks ago, but Sanzaar made the decision midweek. Rugby Australia were still reporting the game as getting underway at 10.05pm NZT earlier this week, while New Zealand Rugby were promoting the game as a 10.05pm kick-off on social media this week as well.
So, rugby fans be aware – make sure you don’t miss the first 20 minutes of the game when you tune in to watch on TV follow the New Zealand Herald’s stellar live coverage online.
The Black Ferns, who play beforehand, will still get underway at 7.15pm.
Wallabies vs All Blacks live stream: How to watch Bledisloe 1 online and on TV
The Wallabies have yet another chance to break their Bledisloe Cup drought when they host the All Blacks tonight in the first Test. This is The Roar’s guide to watching the game online and on TV.
The match is scheduled to begin at 7:45pm (AEST) tonight, August 18 at ANZ Stadium.
The Wallabies trimmed down their squad to 28 on Sunday, with captain Michael Hooper and senior players Scott Sio and Dane Haylett-Petty set to overcome fitness concerns for tonight’s clash.
And, if history is anything to go by, they will need the trio if they are to stand any chance of taking down the All Blacks.
While the Australians won the last meeting between the two sides, it was only their second victory in their last 19 matches against New Zealand.
The All Blacks travel to Sydney confident of overcoming the Wallabies having won seven of their last ten games at ANZ Stadium.
In preparation for the Bledisloe Cup opener, they played two 40-minute trial games, beating Otago 32-0 and Canterbury 40-5.
How to watch the match on TV
The match is being broadcast on TV in Australia through two networks.
The first option is Foxtel, who will be broadcasting every Wallabies international game this season.
Channel 501 will be covering Saturday night’s game, with a pre-game show beginning at 7pm (AEST), after the Wallaroos game finishes.
Coverage will wrap up at 10pm after a 30-minute post-game show.
For free-to-air viewers, Channel 10 will be broadcasting Saturday night’s match.
Their coverage also begins at 7pm and is scheduled to finish at 9:45pm.
The match can be viewed in high definition on Channels 13 and 210 for both free-to-air viewers and Foxtel customers.
Alternatively, you can catch the game in standard definition on Channels 10 and 110 respectively.
How to live stream the match online
If you wish to watch the clash online, there are two ways to do it.
The first is available to Foxtel subscribers. They can stream the coverage of the match through the Foxtel App. This app is free to download and can be used if you have a valid login.
Alternatively, if you are not an existing Foxtel customer, you can still watch the game online. You will need to use Foxtel Now instead. Foxtel Now is a streaming-only option, with subscription packages available for purchase.
You can also tune into the game on the Tenplay website, where you can stream the game for free.
Otherwise, you can always count on us. Here at The Roar we will have live scores and a blog of the match.
Wallabies vs All Blacks Bledisloe Cup Game 1 preview and prediction
It is roughly 9:45pm on the 3rd of August 2002.
(Most of) ANZ Stadium is standing, with bated breath, as Matt Burke stands over an 81st minute penalty. The siren has sounded, and his Wallabies are down by a point, 14-13.
If he kicks true, the Bledisloe Cup will be retained. True to script, the original Ice man steadies himself, before slotting the Bundaberg branded rugby ball straight through the middle of the posts.
Away from the ground, Prime Minister John Howard is elated, and quickly sets the alarm on his spanking new Sanyo SCP-5300 (the first ever flip phone with an in-built camera) for 7am, at which point he will wake up and go for a leisurely stroll, dressed head-to-toe in a Wallabies tracksuit.
All is well in the world.
Fast forward to the 18th of August 2018.
It has been more than 16 years since the Wallabies last held the Bledisloe aloft. In that time, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have all been invented. Australia has seen four Prime ministers come and go, and John Howard’s Sanyo hasn’t seen the light of day for more than a decade.
Every year, rugby fans around Australia entertain the thought of the Bledisloe returning to our shores.
It begs the question…
Could the 2018 Bledisloe be different?
Starting fast: Not an if, but a must
First and foremost, it is worth noting that Australia has won Game One of the Bledisloe only once in the last 10 years. It doesn’t take the most astute of observers to realise that it makes wrestling the cup back from the All Blacks awfully difficult if they fall behind 1-0 this evening.
It would appear that Michael Cheika has tipped his hat to this point. His internal trial at Leichardt Oval in the build-up was a more than useful hit out for his non-Waratahs squad members.
Whether it translates into a fast start come tonight remains to be seen. However, you’d be hard pressed to find any fan that didn’t like the concept.
The battle of the forwards
Cheika has gone all-in on the set piece with his selections 1 through 8. Izack Rodda and Adam Coleman start in the second row, and both are the lineout generals for their respective Super Rugby sides.
Rob Simmons, the caller for the Waratahs, has also won a spot on the bench.
The back row of Lukhan Tui, Michael Hooper and David Pocock is an interesting prospect. Pocock’s on-ball ability is undeniable, and it is a mobile trio.
With Pete Samu providing back-up from the bench, the battle at the breakdown will be extremely intriguing.
The questions arise in the front row.
Scott Sio’s shoulder niggle sees Tom Robertson start, alongside the returning Tatafu Polota-Nau and veteran Sekope Kepu.
Robertson was outstanding for the Waratahs in 2018, particularly in their finals run, and he thoroughly deserves his start.
However, his battle against Owen Franks is as tough as they come. It could be telling.
Taniela Tupou and Tolu Latu will be electric off the bench, expect decent minutes for both.
For the All Blacks, Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are one of the best lock pairings in the world, whilst the evergreen Kieran Read returns from injury to skipper his side.
Desperation and suffocation in defence – the recipe for success
The Wallabies primary issue is not scoring points, it’s in not conceding them. Their attack is at its best, electric, and in Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale, they have two of the form attacking weapons in world rugby. The return of Will Genia should also be a timely boost.
However, if the Wallabies are to win, they need to approach Game One in Sydney with the defensive intensity and line speed they displayed in Game One against Ireland at Suncorp Stadium a couple of months ago.
On that occasion, David Pocock was immense at breakdown time, and the Irish had literally no answer to the ferocity of the wall that was the Wallabies defence that night.
For 80 minutes, Cheika’s men out-enthused, out-tackled, and out-thought a very impressive rugby outfit.
Anything short of that performance will spell defeat for the men in gold.
Why the Wallabies can win
Form. The last time the Wallabies clashed with the All Blacks, they came away victors.
While that doesn’t (and shouldn’t) translate to them starting as favourites in Game One as Steve Hansen facetiously suggested mid-week, it certainly should instil the belief in the Wallabies playing group that they have the ability to win, and win well.
Why the Wallabies can’t win
Form! The All Blacks are still the absolute gold standard in world rugby, and they have a scarcely believable record in recent years.
Since Steve Hansen took over from Graham Henry in 2012, they have won 76 games from 85 starts at a respectable 89.5 per cent win rate. Ridiculous.
They have a clinical, accurate forward pack, which so often lays a winning platform for an enigmatic and highly damaging backline.
I think the All Blacks starting XV isa better-rounded and more complete side. However, Cheika’s bench has a few weapons, particularly in the front row. If used properly, it could make for a frenetic last 20 minutes when bodies start getting tired.
I think it will be an extremely close fixture, however the experience and X-Factor of the All Blacks should just be enough to get the job done at a bumper ANZ Stadium.
All Blacks by 8