Official Tri-Nations thread
New Zealand vs. Australia, Bledisloe Cup:
What to watch for:
Carter vs. Larkham -- this is the first ever match up between Carter and Larkham in the number ten jersey; Larkham is one of the all-time great first five-eighths, Carter last year's International Player of the Year... The return of Larkham instantly makes Australia a threat, but this is the kind of Test where Larkham could take a hit and not get up, so it'll be interesting to see how he plays... Carter showed big game temperament at Twickenham last year, but Larkham has played in two World Cup Finals, so Australia has the edge here...
The SCRUMS -- New Zealand destroyed Australia in the scrums last year... Australia have since hired coaches with Northern Hemisphere experience (similar to the NZRU after the 2003 World Cup), but Australia don't have anywhere near the World Class front row that NZ have... Advantage New Zealand.
Lineouts -- New Zealand have struggled with their lineouts this year. Australia are always good at lineout time. Lineouts have cost us many a Bledisloe Test in years gone by, so look for Australia to put real pressure on New Zealand here.
The MIDFIELD -- New Zealand miss Tana badly. Australia will look to exploit New Zealand's mid field defence now that Tana is gone. Mortlock is the man. What a player. Should be interesting to see Mils play at 13 and Mat Rogers at 12. Mauger needs to have a big game, as does McDonald at fullback -- great Super 14 players, but often lacking at Test level.
MISC. -- Will Richie McCaw make the difference? Will Gregan be in the ref's ear? How many times will George Smith terrify us? Whose backline will fire? Will the weather play a part?