A clash of the codes and conflicting time-zones leaves sports fans in a quandary tonight as the All Blacks and Warriors vie for supporters' attention.

Nelson or Sydney, rugby or league - it's a tantalising choice and if you have access to dual screens or can record games, then there's a way round the impasse.

If one game gets a little tedious and you are in charge of the remote, then some judicious channel hopping will be the go, but if my peepers stay open long enough, my stronger rugby interest will be on a match in Brisbane when the Wallabies host the Springboks. The problem will be the later kickoff, some of the biased commentary and the general coverage which is a level down on the broadcasting quality we are used to in New Zealand.

My fascination about this test is on multiple levels after leading Australian officials endorsed Michael Cheika as the Wallaby coach through to the 2019 World Cup.


He's got bags of chat about improvement but when that conversation hit the tarmac against the All Blacks, the Wallabies were belted on both sides of the Tasman.

Cheika's test record hovers around 50 per cent and the ARU cannot afford to ditch him because they haven't got enough money or quality replacements to pay him out and employ a replacement.

A Wallaby victory tonight is critical for their future support. Defeat or a tepid performance will ramp up the dramas at Suncorp, where for most eyes in the state, this match is the curtain-raiser before tomorrow's sudden-death NRL meeting between the Broncos and Dragons.

Cheika has gone for a heavy spin on the roulette wheel by moving Kurtley Beale into the five-eighths role and reworking his front row as he searches for more spark. Beale is a clever player with more certainty about his game after a stint in Europe but there will be doubts about whether he's suited to the role of backline organiser when the blowtorch gets hotter.

The Boks have helped, though, by also changing up their side and promoting the mixed style of Elton Jantjies into that role. It is the selection fashion for this round with the All Blacks also picking Richie Mo'unga at five-eighths, but even without starting a test, he looks more assured than the Brisbane pair.

While Cheika has been with the Wallabies since 2014 and should know his players, Bok coach Rassie Erasmus is new to the work this season and is more likely to make changes as he assesses how individuals react to his ideas.

He has the bonus return from injury of lock Eben Etzebeth, and with fullback Willie le Roux and halfback Faf de Klerk, has two sparky players to wring the most from their attacking plans. This week, he's decided to use influential hooker Malcolm Marx in an impact role from the bench, where he also has Handre Pollard as the rescue five-eighths.

Both sides had their confidence dented in their last outing as the Wallabies high-tailed it away from Eden Park and the Springboks were out-muscled and outflanked by the Pumas on their home dirt. The stakes have jumped tenfold tonight but especially for the Wallabies. Another hit and the tide of criticism will be lapping at their Gold Coast ankles for their next match against the Pumas.


The Wallabies have got Israel Folau back from injury, but have lost David Pocock to a neck issue - leaving the scavenging duties to captain Michael Hooper. They have a more athletic front row, and they showed against the All Blacks they can stay with the game.

Bit-part performances don't cut it against the best test sides and won't do the business against the Boks either.