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Aisle be Back: All Blacks v Australia Bledlisloe One

  • By Kevin McCarthy 

Excited about the Bledisloe? No, I didn’t think so.

Of course, it’s starting in the shadow of the Olympics, and it’s been struggling as a competitive match-up for well, nigh on a decade.

Put the covid-19 conniptions in the mix and the deflating taking away of Wellington’s test, and none of this is surprising.

Come Sunday morning, however, we’ll at least have something to get into our teeth into, in chapter two of the Is-Fozzie-Up-To-It story.

The usual suspects will pare the first test down to suit their pre-conceived positions – all of which is a tedious way to crowd out what the game should be treated as – a rugby test match.

Ian Foster’s fate of course won’t be set by what happens on Saturday or in the next two tests. It would beggar belief for the All Blacks to lose on Eden Park once, and twice (which is what the Wallabies need to achieve) would be off the dial.   A Bledisloe cataclysm on that scale would condemn Foster’s future, but it isn’t going to happen.

The team’s interesting – any side able to put three Barretts on the bench has got to be termed that.  You’ve got to feel its still experimentation time still, and why not.

The Wallabies will be buoyed by their close slugfest with France, but I can’t see them springing a surprise to rival last year’s opener in Wellington. Then again . . .

Their props of course spent the week saying they planned to dominate the All Black scrum. It never ceases to amaze me how Australian sides refuse to play possum and like to motivate their opposition. If their scrum dominates on Saturday, then well done to them.  Otherwise its egg on face time.

Meanwhile on the low veldt, it’s crunch time for the British and Irish Lions in their Springbok series.

Predictably the Boks won the mind games ahead of last week’s equaliser, including the very calculating antics of water boy Rassie Erasmus.

I know it hasn’t been a thrilling try heavy series to date, but I still have a love of tense arm wrestles where every kick counts.

But please, please – may the team spinning the least BS win the decider.


Talking about interesting teams, that’s a not too shabby outfit lining up for the Wellington Lions in their provincial championship opening against Northland.

Peppered with Hurricanes, and with Ruben Love at the helm, it surely should get the campaign off to a strong start.

Here’s hoping Love can cut his teeth in running the show – as he’s clearly going to be filling that role in Super rugby next year.

And praise the lord –  no team has to travel overseas or operate in bubbles.

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