Australia and New Zealand renew their hostilities on the rugby field this coming weekend, as the two great nations meet at Eden Park, Auckland. It will be the first of three fixtures between the nations over the coming months, which means it will be fascinating to see which of the nations are in the best condition.
New Zealand vs Australia Preview
The road to this first fixture between New Zealand and Australia has already been hit with road blocks that have needed to be navigated. The venue where the game would be taking place was altered due to travel restrictions that were imposed, which means that it will now be taking place at Eden Park. However, both nations will be hopeful of building momentum ahead of the start of the Rugby Championship.
New Zealand are the clear 1/16 favourites in the betting with BetXchange to win the game, while Australia are valued at 17/2. It will be a welcome sight to see the All Blacks back on a rugby field, as we haven’t seen them since the Steinlager Series in July. The All Blacks looked imperious throughout that series, as they won all three games. They kickstarted the series with a dominant 102-0 victory over Tonga, before following that up with equally impressive victories over Fiji. The most recent of their wins was a 60-13 demolition in Hamilton.
However, their form since a shocking defeat in the semi-final of the World Cup against England has remained sketchy against the better nations. They won three of their six games across the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup last year, which included defeats against Australia and Argentina.
Australia will also be looking to build momentum ahead of the Rugby Championship. They ended the Tri Nations with one win in four games, as they were held to two draws by Argentina. However, the win was a memorable success against New Zealand, as they claimed a 24-22 success. Tom Wright and Taniela Tupou both scored tries in that victory. Regardless, there will still be room for improvement for the Aussies ahead of the Rugby Championship, especially if they want to compete with the All Blacks, South Africa and Argentina for the top spot.
Head to Head Record
Australia and New Zealand have met 170 times in the past, with New Zealand leading the way with 117 wins compared to the 45 victories that Australia have recorded. The record in fixtures between the nations in New Zealand also points to a clear win for the All Blacks, as the Aussies have won just 15 times in 78 meetings. New Zealand have won on 61 previous occasions, while there have also been two draws. The most recent fixture was won by Australia, but that victory ended a wait of four games without a victory against the All Blacks.
New Zealand vs Australia Prediction
Australia’s record in New Zealand against the All Blacks will not give them much confidence coming into this fixture on Saturday. Therefore, the most likely result is a win for New Zealand.