Bledisloe Cup 2019 Live: The 2019 Bledisloe Cup is currently being played. Unlike other seasons, the series has been reduced to two matches thanks to the upcoming Rugby World Cup.Here are the complete Bledisloe Cup fixtures and results for the 2019 Test matches taking place between the Wallabies and All Blacks.The Wallabies won Game 1 and as such lead the series 1-0, however, must win both Tests to reclaim the trophy.
The Wallabies have kept their winning Bledisloe Cup line-up apart from one injury-forced change with lock Adam Coleman replacing Rory Arnold, while the All Blacks dumped star wingers Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane, along with centurion prop Owen Franks, in a sensational move ahead of Saturday’s Test in Auckland.
Australia coach Michael Cheika resisted making sweeping changes as he did in 2015 when the Wallabies were last within a win of regaining the coveted trans-Tasman trophy. Test-hardened second rower Coleman came off the bench during last week’s historic 47-26 win in Perth to replace Arnold, who had been one of Australia’s best before suffering a hand injury.
Wallabies must ignore Rugby World Cup and focus on Bledisloe
Rob Simmons is promoted as lock cover on a reserve bench that features three changes from Perth. Uncapped flanker Liam Wright replaces Luke Jones, with the return date for injured star David Pocock once again pushed back.
Test veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces Tom Banks as outside back cover and will make his first Wallabies appearance of the year if called upon. It would be his 118th Test and extend his Australian record to 32 appearances against New Zealand. It is the second-most experienced bench in Wallabies history, boasting 474 combined caps.
Cheika has played down the nature of the lopsided Perth result, saying it merely earned the Wallabies a ticket to Auckland. Australia will return with the Bledisloe Cup if they can end their 33-year hex at Eden Park with a win or a draw. They have lost their last 22 Tests in New Zealand, dating back to 2002, the last year they owned the silverware.
In a potential changing of the guard five weeks out from the World Cup, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has introduced young flyers Sevu Reece and George Bridge to the wing for the winner-takes-all Test. Nepo Laulala claims Franks’ tighthead berth in one of five starting changes from the team humbled 47-26 by the Wallabies in Perth.
Two changes were forced. Veteran Sonny Bill Williams returns to the midfield following injury to Jack Goodhue, pushing Anton Lienert-Brown to outside centre, while fourth-choice lock Patrick Tuipulotu replaces the suspended Scott Barrett.
The axing from the 23 of Smith and Franks could potentially end the career of two great All Blacks, with both having signed European club contracts beyond the World Cup.
Having passed up an opportunity to create history by losing to England at Twickenham last Sunday, Wales will become the number one side if they overturn that result in Cardiff on Saturday regardless of what happens a few hours earlier in Auckland.
Similarly, an English victory in the Welsh capital by more than 15 points would see Eddie Jones’ team rise to the top for the first time since June 2004.
As for Ireland, the number-crunching shows that draws in Cardiff and Auckland, or an Australian win, would be enough for them to assume the number one ranking for the first time without even taking to the field.
We take a closer look at all five of this weekend’s RWC 2019 warm-up matches with team news, key stats and how the rankings could be affected.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has vowed to resign if Australia does not win the World Cup later this year. But what if his side regain the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday night? Would that be sufficient for Rugby Australia to offer a contract extension beyond the tournament in Japan?
The Wallabies have not held the Bledisloe Cup, the second most important trophy to Australians and New Zealanders, for 16 long, agonising years. Cheika’s predecessors Eddie Jones, John Connolly, Robbie Deans and Ewen McKenzie all failed to bring it back and as long as the Wallabies perform credibly at the World Cup – reaching the final or maybe even just a semi-final – breaking the Bledisloe drought should count for something when his future is considered.