Rugby 4 Nations: NZ vs AUS - 16 August 2014 - Pretoria: PREVIEW

While I was writing this I was in two minds on who to pick as a winner. The All Blacks must be considered as the favorite due to the fact that they are the current 4 Nations champions as well as they are currently on a world record equaling 17 test victories which goes back to the start of 2013. They are also the only team in the modern are to won all their games in a calendar year which was also 2013. However, the recent test series against England proved that there was definitely some cracks in their set up. The English team, also not on full strength, proved that if you rattle the All Blacks up front, you rattle the whole team. The brilliant backline then becomes nullified and if the necessary pressure is applied they are prone to make mistakes.

The Aussies as a whole look like a more settled unit. In 2014 they firstly smashed the ever unpredictable French in the 1st test and then managed to beat them 6-0 in possibly the most boring test match ever. They however always looked in control. It seems also that the success their coach Ewan Mackenzie had with the Queensland Reds in 2011 when they won the Super Rugby title is now finally rubbing off on the players. The message is coming across to them of what he expects them to do at certain points in the game. Also in terms of players the team will be built around the recent success of the New South Wales Warathas who obtained the 2014 Super Rugby title with a cliffhanger final by narrowing scraping through against the Crusaders. The difference between the two teams on that day was the intensity the Tahs had in those first 20 minutes which caught the Crusaders off guard.

I think the same expected on Saturday. I think it is going to be a very tight game with single moments making the difference. Hopefully the single event will not be a refereeing decision. I pick the Wallabies to win by a point or 2.