Beale gets another bash at flyhalf
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:45
Selection is never easy
In an attempt to overcome the All Blacks, the Wallabies have named an unchanged 23-man line-up for Saturday’s second Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Auckland.
Head coach Ewen McKenzie has remained consistent with his selections by giving those who participated in the 12-all draw in Sydney at the weekend an opportunity to topple the All Blacks at their spiritual home, Eden Park.
“We were impressed with the pressure we were able to apply in the opening Test and, despite some errors, were pleased with the intent of the group to continue attacking despite the poor weather conditions,” McKenzie said.
“I imagine both teams are excited by the prospect of a dry evening in Auckland on Saturday night, which will have an influence on the way the game is played."
The weather in Sydney played it's part in degrading the game to an arm wrestle which stunted the coaches attempts to try new tactics and combination.
McKenzie feels it is only fair to have another go at it with the same personnel involved.
“For us, we know we need to be more clinical in certain areas, but overall we feel the same group of guys deserve the opportunity to have another crack," he continued.
“Selection is never easy, although we’ve made a lot of tough decisions in this space over the past 12 months with the ultimate goal of winning games.
"You’re always looking to improve and I’m confident the sum of those hard choices has put us in a better position today.
“While we didn’t quite get there on Saturday, I do know that we’ve made good progress since our first Test against New Zealand a year ago.
“That gives us some confidence heading into what will be an extremely tough challenge in Auckland on Saturday night.”
After a draw ended New Zealand’s 17-game win streak at the weekend, the Wallabies will now turn their attention to one of Rugby’s great challenges, playing the All Blacks at Eden Park.
Australia has not won at the venue since 1986, while the All Blacks have won 32 straight games at Eden Park against all opposition dating back to 1994.
However, McKenzie said his players wouldn’t be daunted by the Eden Park history.
“Recent results would suggest Eden Park hasn’t been a happy place for Australia and already this week we’ve seen that not many people are giving us a chance in Auckland,” he said.
“Sporting records are there to be broken and we’ll look forward to the opportunity of playing the All Blacks in their own backyard on Saturday night.”
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bernard Foley, 23 Tevita Kuridrani.
Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.35 (17.35 AUS time; 07.35 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
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- › Hooper: Why I went for the try
- › Jean: 'Worst conditions ever'
- › Injured All Blacks not 'whinging'
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