New Zealand vs. Australia, Dunedin
Saturday, 19 October 2013 (19:35 local/05:35 GMT)
New Zealand host Australia for the third spring Test between the two sides, with the 2013 Bledisloe Cup already secured following two previous wins.
The game marks the 50th international appearance of Australia scrum-half Will Genia's career, becoming just the third man in his position to reach the milestone for the Wallabies, per the Australian Rugby Union via Yahoo! Sport.
Quade Cooper, meanwhile, has been handed the No. 10 shirt against his country of origin, with coach Ewen McKenzie having struggled to find a consistent player for the fly-half role.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, meanwhile, has made three changes to the side that beat South Africa to claim the 2013 Rugby Championship recently. Hansen insists he wants his side to "make a statement" this weekend, per the Herald Sun.
Cory Jane returns on the wing following a long layoff, Jeremy Thrush is handed an opportunity to shine at lock, while Keven Mealamu returns for the first time this season at hooker. Ben Smith, meanwhile, will switch from wing to centre to accommodate Jane's return.
Australia were dispatched comfortably in both recent encounters, as the Kiwis strolled through the Rugby Championship with six wins from six games—including earning four bonus points for scoring four tries in a match.
If the visitors are to stand any chance in Dunedin, they must rein in the All Blacks' fearsome back row of Kieran Read, Richie McCaw and Liam Messam. Read, in particular, has been outstanding in recent Tests and has the potential to almost single-handedly lay the platform for a New Zealand win on Saturday.
Kieran Read to stay in NZ til 2017. Huge boost for All Blacks. Best No8 in world by a country mile. Imagine no shortage of offers.— mark smith (@markismith50) October 16, 2013
The Australian back row must match their opposite numbers man-for-man come kick-off, otherwise the New Zealand backs will run riot.
The task is clear, but silencing New Zealand's much-vaunted back row is a far from easy plan to execute.
Confirmed lineups for the clash, per News24:
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ben Franks, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Tom Taylor
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Dave Dennis, 21 Nic White, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Bernard Foley