PREVIEW: All Blacks v Australia third Test

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Andy Burt     18 Oct 2017     Getty Images

Matches played: 160
All Blacks won: 111
Australia won: 42
Draw: 7
Last match: All Blacks 35, Australia 29 (26 August 2017)
Largest All Blacks winning margin: 43-6 (1996)
Last Australia victory: 27-19 (2015)

Match details: All Blacks v Australia, 10.05pm (NZT), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia


The All Blacks have made four changes to the side that overcame South Africa in a tense battle in Cape Town. Lima Sopoaga will make his second Test start at first five-eighth after Beauden Barrett was ruled out through an injury suffered against South Africa. Waisake Naholo comes onto the right wing in place of the injured Nehe Milner-Skudder in the other change to the starting line-up. The other two changes are on the bench where TJ Perenara and Anton Lienert-Brown come into the match day 23.

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock will equal the long-standing record held by Ian Jones of 75 Test starts by a lock when he runs out at Suncorp Stadium. While it is Whitelock’s 75th Test start, it will also mark his 93rd Test overall for the All Blacks – the most by an All Blacks lock. The 115kg workhorse has crossed for five tries in his Test career and will combine with his Crusaders teammate Scott Barrett in Brisbane. The Crusaders pair will face a stern test against the physical Wallabies duo of Rob Simmons and Adam Coleman.
Aside from a horror first half in Sydney, Australia will feel very unlucky to not have a victory over the All Blacks in 2017. After trailing the All Blacks 54-6 in Sydney, the Wallabies stormed back with 28 unanswered points to make it 54-34 at halftime. In Dunedin, Australia leapt out a 17-0 lead and held their advantage until the 78th minute when Beauden Barrett crossed to secure the Bledisloe Cup. Michael Cheika’s side will be motivated to steal one back on the All Blacks in front of a boisterous Brisbane crowd. 

One of the most influential head-to-head clashes will happen out wide where All Blacks flyer Rieko Ioane matches up with Wallabies speedster Marika Koroibete. Ioane had a breakout Investec Rugby Championship where he led most of the competition attacking stats. Former rugby league star Koroibete has been just as impressive in his first season in rugby union. After starring for the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby, Koroibete showed his value on the international stage by scoring an impressive double in his first run-on start for Australia against South Africa. 
TEAMS (caps in brackets)

All Blacks:
1. Kane Hames (5) 2. Dane Coles (54) 3. Nepo Laulala (9) 4. Samuel Whitelock (92) 5. Scott Barrett (13) 6. Liam Squire (12) 7. Sam Cane (49) 8. Kieran Read (106) – Captain 9. Aaron Smith (67) 10. Lima Sopoaga (12) 11. Rieko Ioane (9) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (42) 13. Ryan Crotty (31) 14. Waisake Naholo (14) 15. Damian McKenzie (8)

Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor (25) 17. Wyatt Crockett (67) 18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (10) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (14) 20. Ardie Savean (21) 21. TJ Perenara (38) 22. Anton Lienert-Brown (18) 23. David Havili (2)

1. Scott Sio (38 Tests) 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (77 Tests) 3. Sekope Kepu (86 Tests) 4. Rob Simmons (77 Tests) 5. Adam Coleman (17 Tests) 6. Jack Dempsey (5 Tests) 7. Michael Hooper (c) (74 Tests) 8. Sean McMahon (21 Tests) 9. Will Genia (vc) (84 Tests) 10. Bernard Foley (vc) (51 Tests) 11. Reece Hodge (19 Tests) 12. Kurtley Beale (66 Tests) 13. Tevita Kuridrani (53 Tests) 14. Marika Koroibete (3 Tests) 15. Israel Folau (61 Tests)

Reserves: 16. Stephen Moore (124 Tests) 17. Tom Robertson (14 Tests) 18. Allan Alaalatoa (18 Tests) 19. Lukhan Tui (2 Tests) 20. Ned Hanigan (8 Tests) 21. Nick Phipps (57 Tests) 22. Samu Kerevi (13 Tests) 23. Henry Speight (17 Tests)