Tue, Aug 15, 10:01am by Staff Writer
The World Cup winning All Blacks have landed in Sydney and are at the extremely short price of $1.04 to win the Bledisloe Cup for the 15th year in a row.
The first game in the three-match series kicks off at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night, and once again, it’s the Kiwis who are heavily favoured, at $1.10 to start the series with a win.
The Wallabies, who are coming off a 40-27 win over Italy at the end of June, but that was proceeded by a loss to Scotland at home.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is expected to use the British and Irish Lions blueprint for success, after the Lions drew their recent series against the might of New Zealand.
An area where the Lions were able to rattle the All Blacks was with fast defensive-line speed, which Cheika will no doubt be drilling into his charges at Camp Wallaby.
In selection news, the favourites will be without first-choice hooker Dane Coles, after he suffered a head knock in a practice match on Friday.
The uncapped Ricky Riccitelli was due to join the team later on Sunday as the All Blacks’ third available hooker behind Codie Taylor and Nathan Harris.
Australia’s Kurtley Beale is expected to be fit for the opener on Saturday, having overcome a hamstring strain that he suffered in May in England, while 20-year-old lock Izack Rodda is in line to make his debut.
There’s been a late change of the referee for Saturday night’s clash, with Englishman Wayne Barnes coming in for an injured Jerome Garces.
This means that Sonny Bill Williams will not be reunited will Garces, who sent him off for that late hit on Anthony Watson in last month’s second Test between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions in Wellington last month.
Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup contest also marks the beginning of the Rugby Championship, which includes South Africa ($1.13) and Argentina ($6), who meet in Port Elizabeth early on Sunday morning AEST.
Bledisloe Cup – Game 1
New Zealand $1.10
Bledisloe Cup – Series
New Zealand $1.04
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