Bledisloe Cup 2014: Qantas Wallabies v All Blacks 2nd Test Live Stream and More

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2014

Australia's Nathan Charles, center, charges through the defense of New Zealand's Kieran Read, left, and Brodie Retallic during their Bledisloe Cup rugby union test match in Sydney, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The game is a 12-all draw. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

The stage is set for an almighty clash of Southern Hemisphere titans on Saturday, where Australia head to Eden Park in their bid to steal a march in this year's Bledisloe Cup.

Ewen McKenzie's side drew 12-12 against the All Blacks in Sydney last weekend, and Round 2 of the Rugby Championship gives both teams the opportunity not only to take a huge step in their pursuit of the tournament, as well as a much more personal battle.

Auckland is poised to host what should be a memorable encounter between rugby giants, and to ensure you don't miss out on the action, we provide all the vital viewing information, along with a match preview.


Date: Saturday, August 23

Time: 8:35 a.m. BST/3:35 a.m. ET

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK, subscription required), SuperSport Stream (RSA, subscription required)

TV Info: Sky Sports 3 (UK), SuperSport 1 (RSA)


Key Players To Watch

New Zealand: Ben Smith

Rob Griffith/Associated Press

Ben Smith hasn't hit the ground running in this year's Rugby Championship as he did in 2013 but an opening-round hat-trick is certainly a difficult feat to replicate.

In the torrid Sydney conditions, the fullback saw his running attempts shattered as much as any other in Steve Hansen's back line, making only eight carries for 26 metres, per ESPN Scrum.

In Israel Dagg, the Highlanders' star has some heavy competition for the No. 15 jersey, but Paul Williams of Rugby World describes Smith as a priority in Hansen's line-up:

He'll be hoping that Auckland's weather will allow for a more expansive game as far as handling through the backs is concerned, but with Kurtley Beale and Matt Toomua probing, his defensive positioning will be of most importance, too.

Twelve months ago, Smith bagged two tries in this fixture, taking his tally to five after just two Rugby Championship outings. He won't have beaten that record by the end of this fixture, but he can certainly hope to inject a similar, clinical influence coming into the New Zealand line.


Australia: Michael Hooper

Rob Griffith/Associated Press

Continuing his run as McKenzie's leader, Michael Hooper is feeling the pressure of captain duties like never before, and his side have a very real chance of claiming silverware at this summer's tournament.

Last Saturday, some may have debated the decisions made by the 22-year-old when the Wallabies had chances on goal, as Jon Cardinelli of the Financial Mail attests:

Stepping into New Zealand territory, where chances could be even fewer in number, his choices will have that much more importance placed upon them.

And Hooper will be attempting to juggle those duties while maintaining the same, inexhaustible work rate he brings to every game, contending against the likes of Richie McCaw and Liam Messam to take the upper hand at the breakdown.


Key Battle

Conrad Smith vs. Adam Ashley-Cooper

Rob Griffith/Associated Press

Forming a completely new centre partnership, Hansen has replaced the injured Ma'a Nonu with Ryan Crotty, but even more excitingly, Conrad Smith returns in place of Malakai Fekitoa at outside centre.

And Smith in particular will have an intriguing head-to-head in front of him, with Adam Ashley-Cooper promising to make his comeback as difficult as possible, not one to favour sentiment.

OptaJason pointed out Smith's record against the Wallabies as one reason McKenzie might be especially wary of the All Blacks' No. 13:

Ashley-Cooper's importance to this Australian team was put into context with his brace of tries for the Waratahs in their Super Rugby final triumph earlier this month.

Toomua will hope drier conditions will allow the utility's penetrative qualities to be put to better use this time around, lining up opposite a fellow veteran that promises to be a constant back-and-forth crusade.