The 2014 Rugby Championship begins with a Bledisloe Cup encounter between Australia and New Zealand at ANZ Stadium on August 16th. The Wallabies are carrying form into this year’s series that suggests they can finally break an eleven year losing sequence against the Kiwi’s. With the third and potentially deciding Bledisloe Cup game being held in Brisbane, Australia can strike a significant psychological blow by taking a series lead in Sydney.
Ewen McKenzie has named his team to face the All Blacks, who are on the verge of setting a new record for consecutive victories in international rugby. The NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies dominate the team sheet, reflecting the fact the two outfits were by far the strongest in the Australian conference in the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Kurtley Beale will be looking to impress potential employers in both union and league. Beale has been named at number 10 ahead of Waratahs teammate Bernard Foley, despite Foley playing there ahead of Beale for the entire Super Rugby campaign. While most people believe he will play in the NRL in 2015, a run of games in the Wallabies’ starting side may convince Beale to stay put with a World Cup just over a year away.
The clean sweep of France in the recent test series stretched Australia’s winning run to seven games. A win in the opening match will set the Wallabies on their way to potential glory in the Bledisloe series, and the Rugby Championship itself.
Saturday 16th August, ANZ Stadium Homebush 20:00
Australia v New Zealand