The All Blacks have better individuals in most positions and teamwork which is also a cog up on the sporting cuzzies.

A strut is returning to Australian rugby, not in its full bloom yet but after the Wallabies' poor start to the Rugby Championship there is more confidence about their chances against the All Blacks.

The carnage in Sydney in the first of three transtasman duels this year, was replaced by a strong showing in Dunedin and two stalemates against the Boks split by two wins against Argentina. That upward trend will be a relief to all around the sport in Australia after the woeful Super Rugby results.

So what happens in Brisbane tonight, what are the Wallabies chances? One in three? Maybe those are the odds and the pre-match chatter about a close contest will eventuate.


A wavering form line from the All Blacks this season linked to their recent history in Brisbane and notions their focus may be more on the end-of-year trip to Europe coupled with the coaches usual pre-match cautionary words, point towards a battle royale at Suncorp.

No Beauden Barrett, no Brodie Retallick and the weather are other issues hovering over the outcome. All very plausible, too, but the All Blacks have better individuals in most positions and teamwork which is also a cog up on the sporting cuzzies.

With no England on the late year schedule, this is the stage for the All Blacks coaches and players to show why they hold the No1 rating in the world and the Wallabies are several rungs lower. The usual will be imperative if the All Blacks are to show that separation of quality, set-piece and breakdown clarity, defence and a clear match strategy.

It's unsafe to narrow the tactics but amongst their wider strategy, the All Blacks might zero in on Kurtley Beale and try and make his evening uncomfortable. He's a good player who has impressed after returning from several years in Europe and given the Wallabies another dimension with his kicking and attacking ranges.

Beale remains a mixture on defence though, someone who can put in some really strong work if he's directly confronted but can be uncertain when angled runners are coming through his channels and is moved sometimes to avoid those conflicts.

Where practical, the All Blacks should offer extra checks on his resistance, either on the tackle or under the high ball, and when he does attack they have to shut him out of the continuity. There's no need to have a pre-occupation about challenging Beale but if he gets cautious that will reduce some of the Wallaby backline threats.

There are a number from Will Genia to Israel Folau so the most effective and traditional way of reducing their impact is for the All Black pack to dominate their opponents and disrupt their flow of possession. When that's done well and the flow returns to the All Black attack, it is highly effective and time for a repeat of their Bledisloe I display in Sydney in the middle of August.