Fri, 20 Sep 2019

Melbourne - The Wallabies are "hungry" to snap a 17-year Bledisloe Cup drought, coach Michael Cheika warned on Thursday as he savours the chance to inflict back-to-back defeats on the All Blacks.

His team stunned the world champions 47-26 in Perth last weekend and head to Auckland needing another win to claim the trans-Tasman silverware for the first time since 2002.

An All Blacks victory would level the series and see them retain the trophy as holders, gaining a psychological edge heading into their World Cup title defence in Japan next month.

"We know we haven't had it for a long time and we're hungry to get it, to go there and do our best and try and take the trophy," Cheika said ahead of the team's departure from Melbourne, where they have been fine-tuning before Saturday's blockbuster clash.

"We know we're going to come up against an excellent opponent who is ready to go as well. That's why the game is so looked forward to and anticipated."

Cheika named an unchanged side, apart from one injury-enforced absence, as he looks to build on their record win in the Bledisloe Cup opener.

The only change is Adam Coleman, who will start his first Test of 2019, replacing giant lock Rory Arnold who hurt his hand in Perth, with Rob Simmons among the reserves.

It is an otherwise familiar team with Nic White and Christian Lealiifano again preferred to Will Genia and Bernard Foley in the playmaking roles, and former bad boy James O'Connor retaining his place at outside centre.

Utility Adam Ashley-Cooper was included on the bench for his first Test of the year, and an appearance will hand him his 118th cap.

Along with Ashley-Cooper the reserves include Genia (103 Tests), Simmons (96) and James Slipper (89), making it the second most-capped bench the Wallabies have ever named and the first time they have boasted two Test centurions as replacements.

Injury-hit former captain David Pocock, who has barely played all season, trained with the squad this week but was not included in the match-day 23.

That leaves just one Test against Samoa in Sydney on September 7 for the acclaimed flanker to get match practice ahead of the World Cup.

Despite last week's win, Australia face a mammoth task on Saturday - they have not tasted victory at Eden Park since 1986 with the All Blacks on a 42-match unbeaten streak at the Auckland venue.

Nowhere in New Zealand has been a happy hunting ground for the Wallabies, who have lost their last 22 away games to the All Blacks, with their last victory at Dunedin in 2001.

"Obviously when you play New Zealand you know you're going to get the quality of play, the physicality as well. You know you're going to get that every time from them," said Cheika.

"Like I said last week, when they have 15 on the field it's like they have 20.

"We just want to build on our footy and have a really good attitude. We know how much this (Bledisloe Cup) means to a lot of Aussies."

George Gregan, the last Australian captain to lift the Bledisloe Cup and the most capped Wallaby of all-time, agreed it was a huge occasion.

"It's a big trophy and it means a lot to both countries. It's a special one to have but you've got to work really, really hard to get it," he told rugby.com.au.

Teams:

New Zealand

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jordie Barrett

Australia

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Reece Hodge, 13 James O'Connor, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio

Substitutes: 16 Folau Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Adam Ashley-Cooper

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