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PREVIEW: All Blacks v Australia third Test

In the final home Test of 2016, the All Blacks have the chance to break the record for most consecutive wins by a tier one nation when they take on Australia at Eden Park in the Bledisloe Test, presented by American Express.

Matches played: 157
All Blacks won: 108
Australia won: 42
Draw: 7
Last Match: All Blacks 29, Australia 9 (27 August 2016)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 43-6 (1996)
Last Australia victory: 27-19 (2015)

Match details: All Blacks v Australia, 7.35pm, Saturday 22 October, Eden Park, Auckland

The All Blacks have made just three changes to the side that defeated South Africa 57-15 in Durban two weeks ago. All changes come in the backs with Julia Savea returning in the 11 jersey in place of Waisake Naholo and Aaron Cruden and Malakai Fekitoa coming onto the replacements bench. Australia have tinkered their backline with Reece Hodge starting at second five-eighth, Bernard Foley shifting back to first five-eighth and wing Henry Speight earning his first Wallabies cap since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Nick Phipps takes the nine jersey with Will Genia’s departure to France and the bench has no shortage of stars with Quade Cooper and David Pocock poised to make an impact from the pine. 


With the double threat of Michael Hooper at openside flanker and David Pocock returning on the bench, Australia boast two of the best pilferers and disruptors in the world game. While both players are tireless at the breakdown, Pocock brings immense power into the contact zone and Hooper explosive speed. Matt Todd has earned the start at openside flanker ahead of Ardie Savea and will need to focus a lot of his energy on shutting down Hooper both at the breakdown and with ball in hand. A mouth-watering battle is likely to commence late in the game when David Pocock and Ardie Savea come off the bench.

Although there is never any shortage of motivation in a Bledisloe Cup Test, there is extra spice added to this clash with records on the line for both sides. For the All Blacks, a win will make it a tier one record of 18 straight Test victories. For Australia, a loss will mean they have been consigned to two 3-nil series losses for the first time in the same calendar year. Australia will take motivation from stopping the All Blacks 16-straight Test winning streak in 2012 by drawing 18-all in Brisbane. A similar effort will be needed at Eden Park to stop Steve Hansen’s side.
It has almost been one year since the All Blacks and Australia clashed in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. Referee Nigel Owens was in charge of that match and will again blow the whistle at Eden Park to make it true rematch of the 2015 final. Owens made his Test debut in 2003 with Portugal v Georgia and has gone onto to referee over 70 Test matches – more than any other referee in Test history.

Prop Wyatt Crockett has played in 25 consecutive Test victories. The world record of 28 is held by former England loose forward Lawrence Dallaglio.

Make sure you follow the All Blacks on Twitterfacebook and Instagram for a behind the scenes look at match day. Tune into our facebook page for live crosses from the ground and screening of the press conference.

All Blacks: 1. Joe Moody 2. Dane Coles 3. Owen Franks 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Samuel Whitelock
6. Jerome Kaino 7. Matt Todd 8. Kieran Read © 9. TJ Perenara 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Julian Savea 12. Ryan Crotty 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Israel Dagg 15. Ben Smith
Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor 17. Wyatt Crockett 18. Charlie Faumuina 19. Liam Squire 20. Ardie Savea 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow 22. Aaron Cruden 23. Malakai Fekitoa

Australia: 1. Scott Sio 2. Stephen Moore (c) 3. Sekope Kepu 4. Rory Arnold 5. Adam Coleman 6. Dean Mumm 7. Michael Hooper 8. Lopeti Timani 9. Nick Phipps10. Bernard Foley 11. Henry Speight 12. Reece Hodge 13. Samu Kerevi 14. Dane Haylett-Petty15. Israel Folau
Reserves: 16. James Hanson 17. Tom Robertson 18. Allan Alaalatoa 19. Rob Simmons 20. David Pocock 21. Nick Frisby 22. Quade Cooper 23. Sefa Naivalu