So Australia shipped 49 points at home to the All Blacks last weekend, and now they have to go to Christchurch to play them again?
If New Zealand win with another bonus point – and remember that they have maximum points from their three outings so far – they will win the Tri-Nations title. It won’t be the end of the Tri-Nations though – no, that goes on until the end of September.
They’ll also retain the Bledisloe Cup with a win at the AMI Stadium, even if Australia win the other two matches, but the actual series won’t conclude until the end of October when they play each other in Hong Kong.
To retain our interest, we really need Australia to win tomorrow, but I don’t think anybody can see it happening. You can get odds of 9/1 for the Wallabies to win this two-horse race, whilst the All Blacks are at 1/25 to win the Tri-Nations title – and we aren’t even halfway through yet.
Even Robbie Deans appears to be writing off his chances, with a couple of surprise selections that suggest he has one eye on the future. Matt Giteau starts at fly-half with Anthony Faingaa slotting at 12 – I confess to not knowing too much about the latter, but the fact that his twin brother Saia Faingaa is starting at hooker suggests he’s more like a Jamie Noon than a James Simpson-Daniel.
Just as well, because he’ll be coming up against Ma’a Nonu in devastating form, part of a Kiwi backline that is just irresistible. Their pace, power and deadly finishing ability seems to be as good as it’s ever been, whilst the pack has raised its game to a similar level – the result is unlikely to be pretty for the Wallabies tomorrow.
Regardless of any talk of the World Cup that’s still 13 months away, the All Blacks look impossible to beat right now, and so my prediction is New Zealand by 17.