So, we’re not a million miles away from kick-off, so let’s get on to team news:
A few big (crazy-brave?) calls from Michael Cheika who’s given Australia Rugby’s one-time enfant terrible, James O’Connor a first start after a six-year absence, with Nic White preferred to start in the halves ahead of Will Genia. Tongan Thor and Adam Coleman will give much-needed energy from the bench but the continued absence of David Pocock will be sorely missed at the back of the eight.
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 (c), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Scott Sio. Bench: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Tom Banks.
It’s near full strength from Steve Hansen, who continues with Mo’unga at 10, and Beaudie Barrett at fullback. No Brodie Retallick is about the only bright point for Australian fans – but Scott Barrett who comes in is definitely no slouch. But it’s Ardie Savea – one of the form players in world rugby right now – who looms as a real danger man. Apart from the other 14 in black, that is.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody. Bench: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 George Bridge.