The Bledisloe Cup returns in 2020 with a four game series between the All Blacks and Wallabies. Can the All Blacks continue their dominance of the Cup or will the Wallabies finally break the drought? We’ll find out in the next month.
Bledisloe Cup Game 1
New Zealand v Australia
Sky Stadium, 2:00pm Sunday
The All Blacks actually haven’t played an international fixture since the 2019 World Cup, where they finished in 3rd place. However, New Zealand was able to organise a local Super Rugby competition which should have helped get some form into their top players. There will be a few new faces in the All Blacks squad and Sam Cane will also captain the side for the first time. Among the younger brigade, Caleb Clarke and Will Jordan are two guys to watch out for after solid Super Rugby campaigns. But don’t expect wholesale changes to this All Blacks team despite their disappointing exit in the World Cup.
For the Wallabies, it’s all about the future at the moment and building a consistent squad of players for the 2023 Cup. It’s also a new era in the coaching department as Dave Rennie takes over from Michael Cheika. Michael Hooper will continue his reign as captain and will be the key in the Wallabies producing a huge upset on Sunday. Overall, the Wallabies squad consists of just 6 players over 30 so it’s clear that Australia will be using the next 3 years as development for what is a young team. But can they overturn a 17 year Cup drought in 2020? That’s the major question mark.
In the stats department, 2003 is a major landmark in Bledisloe Cup history. It basically marks 17 long years (if you’re a Wallaby fan) since the All Blacks have held the trophy! While in Wellington, the All Blacks hold a 4-1 advantage in 5 Bledisloe Cup meetings. In the last 13 meetings, the All Blacks are 11-2 at any venue. While in New Zealand, the Wallabies haven’t won at any venue since 2001. In last year’s series, the Wallabies enjoyed a rare recent win against the All Blacks with a crushing 47-26 result. However, the All Blacks countered with a 36-0 thrashing at Eden Park.
As both sides are featuring in their first international test match since the 2019 Cup, we’ll expect some rust from both sides. But you simply can’t back against the All Blacks on their home turf. The Wallabies are a young side and their defence is a real concern against the attacking firepower of the All Blacks. As mentioned, the Wallabies also haven’t won in NZ since 2001 and the last meeting at this venue was a 29-9 scoreline. So we’d expect a similar 20 point margin on Sunday as well.