Michael Hooper says facing New Zealand with the prospect of ending a 17-year Bledisloe Cup drought "ups the hunger" for Australia.

The Wallabies thumped the All Blacks 47-26 in Perth last Saturday, taking full advantage of Scott Barrett's red card.

New Zealand lost their Rugby Championship title after South Africa beat Argentina later in the day and they will be looking for a first win in three Tests at Eden Park on Saturday, knowing they are in danger of slipping off the top of the rankings.

Australia have lost their last 18 Tests against the world champions, but captain Hooper is relishing the challenge of trying to get his hands on the Bledisloe Cup for the first time.

"These are the games you want to be a part of and it's even a level up again this week," the flanker said.

"You're going to a place where many a generation of Wallaby hasn't won and coming up against a great New Zealand side for some silverware on the line.

"It's fantastic being on the other end and certainly ups the hunger."

Assistant coach Simon Raiwalui knows Australia face a huge challenge at the Auckland venue.

"Obviously there's a history but we've been solely focused on what's in front of us. It's all in the present," Raiwalui said.

"We're under no illusions about what we face. It's a great All Black team full of quality players and they're going to come out and they're going to be fizzing."

Kieran Read insists the Bledisloe Cup decider with Australia will provide precisely the kind of high-pressure environment New Zealand thrive in.

The All Blacks suffered a stunning 47-26 loss to their rivals in Perth last time out, marking the highest points tally they have conceded in a Test and the joint-heaviest defeat in their proud history.

That result has given the Wallabies high hopes of a first series win over New Zealand since 2002 but Read says Steve Hansen's side are ready to put the record straight at Eden Park on Saturday.

"When you put in a performance like that, you want to rectify it," the captain said.

"We've got the chance this week, that's the best thing about it. We've had a good week but it's about putting it on the field.

"These moments are built for us as All Blacks and the way you're going to respond is crucial.

"This is a mental game as much as a physical game, so it's our response mentally and building up to the game in your head [that's important]. You can't do it all on the paddock.

"This group is hurting, that's how it should be in an All Black jersey and we've got the chance to go out and rectify that and we're excited by that."

The weight of history heavily favours New Zealand this weekend, with the nation unbeaten in 25 years at Eden Park.

Australia will be out to prove their thrashing of New Zealand last weekend was no flash in the pan when they attempt to win the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 17 years on Saturday.

The Wallabies went on to crush the All Blacks 47-26 at Optus Stadium after Scott Barrett was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Michael Hooper.

That victory was not enough for Australia to win the Rugby Championship, with South Africa taking the title for the first time in a decade by beating Argentina later in the day.

Michael Cheika's men can still get their hands on a trophy ahead of the World Cup, though, as a famous win at fortress Eden Park will see them end a long wait to lift the Bledisloe Cup.

We take a look at a selection of key Opta facts for the trans-Tasman showdown in Auckland.

 

- Australia will be out to secure consecutive wins over New Zealand for the first time since a three-match streak in 2000-01.

- New Zealand have won their last 18 Tests against Australia at Eden Park and have not lost to the Wallabies at the venue since September 1986.

- The world champion All Blacks are winless in their last two Tests, having drawn against South Africa last month, and have not endured a longer run without a victory since a five-match losing streak in July-August 1998.

- Beauden Barrett has now scored 11 tries against Australia, the joint-most of any player against a single Tier 1 nation in Test history.

- Samu Kerevi made the most offloads (six) of any player in the Rugby Championship, one more than Australia team-mate Kurtley Beale and New Zealand’s Ben Smith.

- Australia have won only two of their last 10 Tests played away from home, those victories coming against Italy in Padova and Argentina in Salta in late 2018.

Australia coach Michael Cheika has no doubt over his team's hunger to regain the Bledisloe Cup as they prepare to face New Zealand again.

Cheika's side shocked the All Blacks in Perth last weekend, claiming a 47-26 victory in the first of two Bledisloe Cup matches this year, with the return fixture taking place in Auckland on Saturday.

New Zealand's defeat saw them surrender their grip on the Rugby Championship title, while they must win at Eden Park to retain the Bledisloe Cup, a trophy the Wallabies have not held since 2002.

Cheika told a news conference: "The Bledisloe Cup means a lot. It doesn't just mean a lot when you have it, it means probably more when you don't have it.

"That pursuit of trying to get it sometimes you sit off and you sort of defer it and say we'll take the game in our stride.

"But that's only hiding from the fact that we know we haven't had it for a long time and we're hungry to go there and do our best to try and take a trophy obviously.

"We know we're going to come up against an excellent opponent who is going to be ready to go as well and that's why I suppose the game is so looked forward to and anticipated."

Cheika's sentiments were echoed by Australia captain Michael Hooper.

"I said it last week, these are the games you want to be a part of and even a level up again this week for some of the stuff," Hooper said.

"It's just an amazing opportunity to be involved in. You go down to a place where many a generation of Wallabies hasn't won down there.

"You're coming up against a great New Zealand side for some silverware on the line, yeah it's fantastic being on the other receiving end and it certainly ups the hunger."

The Wallabies have just one further match ahead of the Rugby World Cup following the clash with the All Blacks, as they face Samoa in a friendly on September 7.

Warren Gatland challenged Wales to "step it up" as he named Dan Biggar as one of three changes to his starting line-up for the World Cup warm-up match against England on Saturday.

Wales missed the chance to replace New Zealand at the top of the rankings when they were beaten 33-19 by an experimental England side at Twickenham last weekend.

Gareth Anscombe suffered a knee injury which will keep him out of the World Cup in Japan as Eddie Jones' men ended the Grand Slam winners' 14-match winning run.

Biggar comes in at fly-half to replace Anscombe, while flanker James Davies and lock Jake Ball come in for the injured Adam Beard and Justin Tipuric in Cardiff.

Fit-again flanker Josh Navidi was named among the replacements, but scrum-half Tomos Williams (shoulder) remains sidelined.

Wales head coach Gatland said: "We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend, so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front of a packed Principality Stadium.

"The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the Rugby World Cup and putting in a big performance."

Wales team to face England on Saturday: Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Nicky Smith, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Aaron Wainwright, James Davies, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Aled Davies, Jarrod Evans, Owen Watkin.

Eddie Jones has reminded his England squad "nothing has been achieved" heading into Saturday's World Cup warm-up match with Wales.

England claimed a 33-19 victory over the Six Nations champions on Sunday, and they face Warren Gatland's side again in Cardiff as World Cup preparations click into gear.

Ruaridh McConnochie - included in Jones' 31-man World Cup squad - will make his England debut at the Principality Stadium, while the visitors will be without the injured Sam Underhill and Tom Curry.

Although England's performance against Wales last Sunday was impressive, Jones says his side know they must keep stepping up their levels as the Japan-hosted tournament, now only five weeks away, draws closer.

"The squad has been progressing well this week and I think there is a realisation among the squad now that the hard work really starts, nothing has been achieved," Jones said.

"Our selection strategy for our second game is similar to the first, so a bit of a mix-and-match approach. We are looking at different combinations and have a particular strategy for this game.

"The game is very much about ourselves preparing for the World Cup and we are respectful that we have got such strong opposition at their home ground."

Lewis Ludlam will make his second consecutive start, moving to openside as Courtney Lawes comes into the back row, covering for Curry, while Maro Itoje starts in place of Charlie Ewels, who did not make the cut for the World Cup.

Jones' assistant Scott Wisemantel is confident McConnochie can thrive on his debut.

"He deserves his chance and it was unfortunate last week that he had that minor blow," Wisemantel told a news conference.

"But I think in Cardiff on Saturday where it will be quite intense, he'll settle into a rhythm and then he'll be fine."

England team to face Wales: Elliot Daly; Ruaridh McConnochie, Jonathan Joseph, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga; George Ford, Willi Heinz; Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole; Joe Launchbury, Maro Itoje; Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Kruis, Jack Singleton, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi.

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has shown his ruthless side by making big changes to his team for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup redemption mission against Australia.

New Zealand were dealt a 47-26 thumping by the Wallabies last weekend in Perth, and Hansen has dropped prop Owen Franks and wings Ben Smith and Rieko Ioane for the rematch in Auckland.

He has been pressed into two further changes, with lock Scott Barrett suspended after his red card in the first game and centre Jack Goodhue injured.

Into the pack come Nepo Laulala and Patrick Tuipulotu, with the backs given a shuffle with the inclusion of George Bridge, Sonny Bill Williams and Sevu Reece.

Anton Lienert-Brown keeps his place for the Eden Park tussle but shuffles from inside to outside centre to accommodate Williams.

Head coach Hansen accused his team of playing "dumb footy" after the first game.

Ahead of the chance to avenge that heavy loss, he said: "We have worked hard this week on our game and all that comes with it. We've had a great preparation and really excited and looking forward to a massive, must-win match for the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday.

"We know that Australia will be determined and confident after their win in Perth which makes the challenge even more exciting."

With the Rugby World Cup just weeks away, Hansen wants to see a reaction from New Zealand to the joint-heaviest defeat in their history.

He said: "There's a lot of pride in the team and we've talked a lot about the Bledisloe being the second most important trophy and now we get the opportunity to show that this week - all of us working well, working hard, working smart."

Afterwards he will be able to make a judgement on whether the 15 players he fields were the right choices to handle the high-stakes occasion, or whether he needs to search again within his squad for his strongest line-up.

Hansen added, on the All Blacks website: "Australia showed they're a good side. We've got to put them under some pressure and take away the confidence they've got from playing the way they did last week.

"You've got to have a mindset that you've got to do whatever it takes to get yourself mentally and physically ready to play the game, and then you've got to walk towards that pressure and enjoy the pressure of it."

 

New Zealand team to play Australia: Beauden Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Samuel Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Kieran Read (captain).

Replacements: Codie Taylor, Ofa Tuungafasi, Angus Ta'avao, Jackson Hemopo, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett.

Schalk Brits will become the second oldest captain in Springbok history when he leads South Africa against Argentina on Saturday.

Hooker Brits, at 38 years and three months, has been chosen to lead the Boks in the Test at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, as he makes his first start for the national team in over 10 years.

Victor Matfield was almost three months older than Brits when he skippered the Springboks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup third-place match, but Brits becomes the oldest man to be a first-time captain of the team.

With World Cup places at stake, coach Rassie Erasmus has selected a strong yet experimental side, challenging some of his players to prove they deserve a seat on the plane to Japan.

Erasmus said it was "make or break" for a number of the players, as he prepares to finalise his tournament squad.

The pack shows changes following the Boks' Rugby Championship triumph, with flanker Siya Kolisi, number eight Marcell Coetzee and prop Thomas du Toit named in the starting XV, with Wilco Louw - another prop - and back-rower Marco van Staden on the bench.

Kolisi, coming back from a knee injury, is the team's regular captain but may only last for part of the first half as Erasmus eases him back into the team.

"I've asked Siya to empty his tank and go as hard for as long as he can," Erasmus said.

"I've told him he might even come off in the first half. He has played less than 50 minutes of Currie Cup rugby in the last 12 weeks but I needed him to have a taste of Test rugby again before we leave for Japan."

Cobus Reinach gets a chance to impress at scrum-half, with fly-half Elton Jantjies primed to take over the captaincy if - as seems likely - South Africa replace Brits with the uncapped Scarra Ntubeni during the match.

Herschel Jantjies is ruled out after taking a blow to the head in training that is not expected to affect his World Cup chances.

Erasmus urged his players to raise their level for what is their last match before heading to Japan.

He said: "No matter what has happened before this weekend, the momentum we will go to the World Cup with will depend on what happens on Saturday.

"Some of these players will know they are on the plane but for others it is make or break – and even if they don't make the plane there will be six standby roles to be identified."

 

South Africa team to play Argentina: Warrick Gelant, Sbu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Dillyn Leyds, Elton Jantjies, Cobus Reinach; Thomas du Toit, Schalk Brits, Vincent Koch, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi, Rynhardt Elstadt, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Lizo Gqoboka, Wilco Louw, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Frans Steyn.

Joey Carbery looks set to be included in Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad after discovering an ankle injury should only keep him out for up to six weeks.

There were concerns that the fly-half could face a long-term absence when he was carted off in the 29-10 World Cup warm-up win over Italy last Saturday.

Carbery did damage at the base of a ruck in the second half and looked a forlorn figure as he left the field at the Aviva Stadium.

The 23-year-old's injury is not as serious as feared, though, and he is expected to be out for between four and six weeks after undergoing rehabilitation.

Ireland start their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Yokohama City five weeks on Sunday.

Carbery flew out with the Ireland squad for a warm-weather training camp in Portugal on Wednesday along with Devin Toner and Rob Herring, who have recovered from ankle and back injuries respectively.

John Cooney, Finlay Bealham and Mike Haley were omitted.

 

Ireland squad for Portugal training camp:

Forwards: Rory Best, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dave Kilcoyne, Jean Kleyn, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Tommy O'Donnell,Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier.

Backs: Will Addison, Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Jack Carty, Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Luke McGrath, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

 

Duncan Taylor will win his first cap for over two years and Stuart McInally will captain Scotland in their first Rugby World Cup warm-up match against France on Saturday.

Taylor has not played for his country since June 2017 due to injury problems, but the 29-year-old will make up a new centre pairing with Huw Jones at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

Fellow midfielder Rory Hutchinson and lock Scott Cummings could make their debuts off the bench against Les Bleus.

Adam Hastings gets the nod at fly-half and Ali Price starts at scrum-half five weeks before Scotland face Ireland in their World Cup opener in Yokohama City.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: "A huge amount of work has gone in throughout the past two months in order to deliver our best level of performance in the Rugby World Cup.

"These four Tests are a vital part of that process in terms of testing our systems and combinations but also in seeing which players put their best foot forward when it comes to selection for the final 31-man group going to Japan next month."

 

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Huw Jones, Duncan Taylor, Byron McGuigan, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Jamie Bhatti, Stuart McInally (captain), Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie, Josh Strauss.

Replacements: George Turner, Gordon Reid, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Blair Kinghorn.

Swys de Bruin has quit as South Africa attack consultant less than six weeks before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

De Bruin stepped down from his role for "personal and medical reasons" after a win over Argentina last weekend, which sealed a first Rugby Championship triumph for a decade.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus said: "Swys made a great contribution to the squad in his time with us and I'd like to thank him on behalf of his fellow management and the players he has worked with in the past 12 months.

"He brought a fresh perspective to one facet of the game and he'll be hard to replace.

"I'd also like to thank the Lions for releasing him to us and SA Rugby for supporting his appointment."

Erasmus will weigh up his options before appointing a short-term replacement for De Bruin.

"This was not something we were expecting but our planning has been thorough and it's something we can manage," he added.

South Africa face the Pumas again at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, five weeks before taking on defending champions New Zealand in a blockbuster World Cup clash.

New Zealand lock Scott Barrett has been suspended for three weeks following his red card in last week's heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat against Australia.

Barrett was sent off prior to half-time as the All Blacks suffered their join-heaviest loss – a 47-26 Rugby Championship defeat to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was ordered off for a no-arms tackle on Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium, where world champions New Zealand conceded the most Test points in their history.

Barrett accepted a guilty plea on Tuesday, ruling him out of this week's second Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Auckland.

The ban will last up until September 1, meaning Barrett will be available for New Zealand's final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Tonga on September 7.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.16," SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee chairman Adam Casselden said.
 
"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. 

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's exemplary judicial record, his expressed remorse and the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

"The Foul Play Review Committee adjourned the hearing to seek more evidence regarding the Player's proposed schedule of matches. Upon reconvening the Foul Play Review Committee was presented with extensive evidence demonstrating the Player's intended playing schedule."

New Zealand lock Scott Barrett has been suspended for three games following his red card in last week's heavy Bledisloe Cup defeat against Australia.

Barrett was sent off prior to half-time as the All Blacks suffered their join-heaviest loss – a 47-26 Rugby Championship defeat to the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

The 25-year-old was ordered off for a no-arms tackle on Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium, where world champions New Zealand conceded the most Test points in their history.

Barrett accepted a guilty plea on Tuesday, ruling him out of this week's second Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Auckland.

The ban will last up until September 1, meaning Barrett will be available for New Zealand's final Rugby World Cup warm-up against Tonga on September 7.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including submissions from his legal representative, Stephen Cottrell, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.16," SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee chairman Adam Casselden said.
 
"With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks due to World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or neck must start at a mid-range level. 

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player's exemplary judicial record, his expressed remorse and the fact the Player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 3 weeks."

"The Foul Play Review Committee adjourned the hearing to seek more evidence regarding the Player's proposed schedule of matches. Upon reconvening the Foul Play Review Committee was presented with extensive evidence demonstrating the Player's intended playing schedule."

Eddie Jones refused to divulge why Ben Te'o was omitted from England's Rugby World Cup squad, simply declaring "he's just not in our top 31 players".

Centre Te'o and full-back Mike Brown were notable absentees when the squad for the tournament in Japan was named on Monday.

The duo were reportedly involved in an altercation at a social event during England's warm-weather training camp in Treviso last week.

England head coach Jones was not prepared to disclose why British and Irish Lion Te'o had been overlooked from a squad that includes Piers Francis and former Sevens specialist Ruaridh McConnochie.

The Australian said: "I'm not going to go into reasons why he wasn't selected. We've had conversations; he understands it. Whether he agrees with it is another matter.

"We've had that discussion with him and he's just not in our top 31 players at the moment."

Asked if Te'o had missed out due to his form, Jones added: "Again, we don't go into reasons as to why we select them or unselect. We won't disclose conversations we have with players."

Jones also defended his decision to pick only two scrum-halves in Ben Youngs and Willi Heinz, who impressed on debut in the victory over Wales on Sunday.

"We'd like to take three of every specialist position, but that would leave us short in other positions. We decided to go with two there and two at tighthead," Jones said.

"There's risk involved, but there's risk involved in other positions, so we've got contingency. We've got contingency in George Ford to play a little bit of half-back.

"He's been doing some training and we'll continue to do that. If we say we need a third half-back, we believe he can fulfil the role for a period of time."

Captain Siya Kolisi will make his South Africa comeback in the Rugby World Cup warm-up encounter with Argentina on Saturday.

The flanker played no part as the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the first time in a decade due to a knee injury.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus on Monday revealed Kolisi will feature against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria this weekend.

"He is a guy we desperately want to be involved on Saturday and we will involve him, but it will be limited minutes," said Erasmus.

"We won't rush him – we need to carefully manage his return."

South Africa thrashed the Pumas 46-13 in Salta to win the title on Saturday and Erasmus wants the players to put on a show in their final match on home soil before the World Cup in Japan.

"This is a very important week for us and I'm really excited about what we plan to do," he added.

"We're determined to build on the momentum we've produced over the past few weekends and we're really looking forward to ticking a few more boxes before we leave for Japan.

"This is the last 80 minutes we will have before reaching Japan and then we have only one match there before playing New Zealand [in their first World Cup match] so this match is very important to the campaign.

"We don't know what team Argentina will pick but you can be sure they'll be going all out to end their pre-Rugby World Cup campaign with a morale-boosting win."

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