It's hard to se any other result than an All Black victory tonight, and because we may not get to watch the match as we're going out, we're going to take another tack.
Has Australia been punching above its weight in rugby all these years? We reckon that could well be the case. Australian rugby has an issue with depth. When the Western Force joined the Super 14, we reckoned that could actually harm Australian rugby, with the talent pool having to be spread an additional 33%. What we're seeing now in recruitment for the new Melbourne team for next year is the talent pool being further diluted, to the point where Melbourne will have a decidedly Kiwi flavour about it.
We reckon that the bottom line is this; Australia has a very good first fifteen, even a first 22. But drop down a level, and the quality of player drops away markedly. Stirling Mortlock is a world-class centre who's broken our hearts far too often. Lose him, and the team suffers a significant blow.
You could argue that the same applies to us, and in the case of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, you'd be right. But suddenly, the All Blacks have depth in positions where we've been lacking in the last few years; fullback, wing, midfield, lock and prop especially. That's really heartening. And we reckon that's a significant factor in why the All Blacks should go nine straight against Australia tonight, and give Robbie Deans a special homecoming gift; joint ownership of the Wallabies worst-ever record against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, we're doing the dinner and show thing tonight; what chance of finding an eatery where the rugby's on a big screen - any suggestions folks?