Springbok coach Jake White believes the All Blacks will retain the Bledisloe Cup in Auckland and win the Tri Nations.
White, whose Boks beat Australia in Cape Town, but lost to the Wallabies in Sydney and were twice beaten by the All Blacks, told Keo.co.za that the All Blacks should be favourites to win at home. He also felt they were the better balanced team.
“Australia will definitely miss Lote Tuqiri, who is massively influential for the Wallabies. He always breaks the first tackle, always gets over the gain line and so many of Australia’s plays revolve around him. His absence is huge for them,” said White. “The All Blacks will be hurting after the Melbourne defeat, but they really had so many opportunities to put the Wallabies away early on in the second half. They spilt two gift tries that would have put them 20 points in the clear.
“What Melbourne showed was that if you can stay in touch with them going into the final 10 minutes and sustain the intensity they are as vulnerable as any side. But I would be surprised if Australia did win. It will be close, but in Auckland and with what is at stake my money would be on the All Blacks.”
White added that whoever wins in Auckland would have the greater confidence ahead of the World Cup, but was adamant it was not a dress rehearsal for the World Cup.
“Different conditions, different time of kick-off, different time of the year and different hemispheres … at the World Cup it comes down to the match day and all form or previous results become irrelevant.”
The All Blacks have won their last 25 matches in New Zealand, while Australia’s record in Auckland is among their worst anywhere in the world.