With the Wallabies licking their wounds from a somewhat unfortunate loss against Argentina a fortnight ago, and the All Blacks suffering their first defeat in over a year at the hands of the Springboks, either side will see the upcoming Bledisloe encounter as an opportunity for redemption.
Both sides have had some off-field drama too, causing some shifting and changes among the backs, but both the Wallabies and All Blacks have the fire-power to beat one another, it’s now just about who’s hungrier, but that said, there’s nothing quite like a determined All Black side.
In terms of the personnel changes, there are two changes to the starting Wallaby side that took on Argentina with Rob Simmons returning to lock after dealing with concussion, whilst Christian Lealiifano replaces Matt Toomua at inside centre who has also been dealing with concussion issues after 2 heavy knocks in recent games.
On the bench Quade Cooper returns to the Wallabies squad for the first time in 2014 and is part of of 5/3 split that includes Nic White and Rob Horne as part of the backs contingent. James Horwill drops back to the bench after starting against Argentina and joins Josh Mann-Rea, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander and Matt Hodgson in the forwards.
A milestone for the Wallabies will see Adam Ashley-Cooper reach his 100th cap for his country. Ashley-Cooper will join five other Wallabies players that have reached the 100 Test mark – George Gregan, Nathan Sharpe, George Smith, Stephen Larkham and David Campese.
As for the All Blacks, Lock Brodie Retallick has recovered from injury and will start against in the No. 4 jersey.
Retallick returns after missing the Rugby Championship finale against the Springboks. Steve Hansen has also promoted Wyatt Crockett and Dane Coles to start in the front-row once again.
Liam Messam comes in for Jerome Kaino on the blindside flank, while winger Cory Jane starts ahead of Ben Smith, who has been excluded to rest. Charles Piutau fills the void and will likely get a chance off the bench.
Flyhalf Aaron Cruden, who missed the last two games of the Rugby Championship due to suspension, has not been included in the match 23.
Wallabies – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper. Subs: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Rob Horne.
All Blacks – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau.