Australia face a daunting task during game two of the 2013 Bledisloe Cup. Having played inconsistently during the 47-29 Sydney loss to New Zealand, the Wallabies are now tasked with beating the All Blacks in Wellington to restore parity.
Such an objective will test James Horwill and his colleagues to their physical and mental limits. The Australian captain has suggested his nation’s recent lack of success in New Zealand is not dampening the spirit of the camp, as reported by ESPNscrum:
I don't like losing, no-one likes losing, and we've got to do everything we can to turn that around. You've got seven days to turn it around. A lot can happen in seven days, and that's what we need to do.
We spent a lot of time analysing and doing stuff that we thought would work, and we need to make sure that we keep going on there and we don't rest on our laurels. To that end we are doing a lot more work this week again on our lineout. I think we've got some really good jumpers in the team and being able to have four genuine jumpers is a big positive for us.
Horwill’s enthusiasm doesn’t hide the fact Australia haven’t beaten New Zealand on their own turf since their Dunedin victory back in 2001. As recorded by ESPNscrum, the Aussies have lost 14 consecutive Tests in the country since that joyous day 12 years ago.
Will the visitors cause a major upset this time round? Let’s take a look at the latest odds.
All odds are courtesy of Skybet and correct as of Aug. 23, 11:45 a.m. BST.
The bookies see little chance of an Australia win in this one. Interspersed showings of quality throughout game one has done nothing to inspire confidence, as highlighted by the following odds.
Those wanting to bet on Australia may have more luck picking out a try scorer. As ever, a selection of intriguing odds has the capacity to reward those taking a risk. Ben Smith's hat-trick in the opening encounter has confirmed him as favourite to rack up both the first and last tries alongside teammate Julian Savea.
Many punters will be looking to find themselves an enticing outside bet and could call on the events of the first game to bring in the cash. Here's a selection of tempting odds that offer value for money and a decent payout.
As outlined in the previous results and betting odds, it's troublesome to suggest Australia will snatch victory away to New Zealand. Despite possessing quality throughout the squad, everything is pointing against Horwill's men.
The All Blacks may be struggling with injury problems, but this shouldn't dampen the home crowd's spirit. As reported by FOX Sports, both Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett are ruled out of Saturday's match through injury.
The home side were already missing Dan Carter, and have opted for the inclusion of debutant fly-half Tom Taylor ahead of Colin Slade.
Australia's main hopes for victory comes from two names who have made a small mark on this year's series. Although the likes of Will Genia and Christian Lealiifano showed moments of quality during the first game, both suffered spells that lacked intensity.
Most memorably, Lealiifano's five penalties and two conversions were blotted out with the mistake that allowed Cruden to charge down possession and put his team ahead at 17-12.
That was the turning point of what had been a close match up to that stage and the moment in which New Zealand identified an opponent that couldn't maintain the intensity heading into the second-half.
Such a dwindling of focus simply can't happen if the Australians are to win. The All Blacks are crammed with pace, power and ceaseless energy, underlined by Richie McCaw's heroic performance in his Test return.
Horwill's team must move the ball quickly, attack with real purpose and capitalise on any mistakes, as Genia did in the first battle.
The WestPac Stadium in Wellington should witness a real treat. If the form book and betting odds are to be believed, only one winner is emerging from this one.
Prediction: New Zealand by 12.