New Zealand will be chasing history when they face Australia in the third and final Bledisloe Cup match for 2016 on Saturday night.
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The All Blacks wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup for the 14th consecutive year with comfortable 42-8 and 29-9 victories over the Wallabies in Sydney and Wellington. The game will be played at Eden Park in Auckland with kick off scheduled for 5.35pm AEST (7.35pm local) and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Channel 10.
Whatever transpires at Eden Park on Saturday night, history will be made. Either New Zealand will register their 18th successive win to create a new record for a Tier One nation, or Australia will become the first team to taste victory on New Zealand soil since 2009. Furthermore, the Wallabies haven’t defeated the All Blacks at Eden Park since all the way back in 1986, while their last win across the ditch at any venue came 15 years ago. It’s fair to say Australia will be up against it come Saturday night.
One positive the Wallabies can take into this clash is the return of David Pocock from hand surgery. The 28-year-old Pocock wasn’t even born when the Wallabies last conquered New Zealand at Eden Park, but the back-rower is relishing the challenge.
"It's been a long time between wins for the Wallabies and a number of teams, it's a big challenge but that's exciting in sport," Pocock said.
New Zealand have won their last 35 straight matches at the iconic Auckland venue and 21 of their last 24 Bledisloe Cup matches against Australia at all locations.
This All Blacks side is one of the most dominant of all time. They are unbeaten in their last 17 fixtures and as mentioned previously, are going for the record on Saturday night. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made three changes to his side that demolished South Africa 57-15 in Durban, with Julian Savea coming onto the wing for Waisake Naholo, Aaron Cruden replacing Lima Sopoaga at five-eighth and Malakai Fekitoa elevated onto the bench at the expense of George Moala.
In team news for the Wallabies, in addition to the return of Pocock, Sean McMahon has failed to recover from an ankle injury and will once again be sidelined.
Australia have snapped a New Zealand 17-match winning streak before, but they’ll be hard-pressed to do so again. The All Blacks are at the height of their powers and are playing at their fortress against a side they’ve ruthlessly picked apart consistently for almost two decades. New Zealand should emerge comfortable winners.
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