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Aisle be Back: Bledisloe #1 in Wellington

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  • By Kevin McCarthy

What more can a poor boy do?

Ian Foster’s no more able to solve the talent glut at first-five than any other coach.

So its Jordie as a converted wing to allow Richie M at first-five and his bro at fullback.

We all know Jordie’s been stellar at fullback this year, but them is the breaks. Or the bad breaks if you are a Sevu Reece or any other standout actual winger.

I know we all get conniptions about players out of position. It’s the one true legacy of John Mitchell.

However  it would have been very odd for Mo’unga to be left on the bench as an impact player.

Reiko Ioane has completed his black jersey rehab, returning as a centre (who presumably may lurk on the wing occasionally).

The pack is predictably conservative – and we’ll all be looking for how Ardie gels with Cane and Frizell from the back of the scrum.

So now we see what all this interminable build-up will produce as an actual performance.

Australia’s team will be full of young guns, which is always a gamble, but coach Dave Rennie will have them in the best shape he can.

Don’t expect an All Blacks cake walk. They’ll be rusty and nervous too. It could be a bit of a roller coaster, and a great way to get back to some test footy.

+++++++

How terrific to have a sense of anticipation about a Bledisloe test. They are so frequent and lately, so predictable in the main, that they have become very beige.

Can you remember many great encounters in recent times?

Sunday’s game of course is a test match played in daytime.

I think, if my memory serves me right, the last time the All Blacks played a daytime Bled at the stadium was 20 years ago. The incredible John Eales test, where time stood still or at least went very slow.

That of course was when the All Blacks were in the shadows of a very good Australian side, and desperate to win by the trophy.

It was not to be. Now that was a test to remember. We should be so blessed if lightning were to strike twice.

++++++

It’ll all be over by Christmas, although not if your are Argentinian or South African.

The news of the sudden outbreak of peace in the Sanzar war was welcome last night of course from a personal point of view of the players.

Presumably to make the swap occur in dates, the Springboks and Argentinians are missing out on Christmas lunch – unless their return quarantine rules are different.

What we will probably not know ever is how many horses, sorry money, exchanged hands to produce this miracle before Christmas.

And you thought Santa couldn’t be bribed.

The matchday 23 is as follows (Test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (46)
2. Codie Taylor (50)
3. Ofa Tuungafasi (35)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (30)
5. Samuel Whitelock (117)
6. Shannon Frizell (9)
7. Sam Cane (68) – captain
8. Ardie Savea (44)
9. Aaron Smith (92)
10. Richie Mo’unga (17)
11. George Bridge (9)
12. Jack Goodhue (13)
13. Rieko Ioane (29)
14. Jordie Barrett (17)
15. Beauden Barrett (83)
16. Dane Coles (69)
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (13)
18. Nepo Laulala (26)
19. Tupou Vaa’i – debut
20. Hoskins Sotutu – debut
21. TJ Perenara (64)
22. Anton Lienert-Brown (43)
23. Caleb Clarke – debut

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