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‘A notch above’: Why the Wallabies will win back the Bledisloe

By Finn Morton
Matt Philip of the Wallabies reacts during The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australian Wallabies at Eden Park on August 14, 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

For the Wallabies and Matt Philip, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. It’s Test week in Melbourne, and the All Blacks are coming to town.


The All Blacks have dominated the Bledisloe Cup rivalry for more than two decades, but after 21 years of hurt, disappointment and frustration, the Wallabies are ready to reclaim the trophy.

Australia are coming off back-to-back defeats under new coach Eddie Jones, while the All Blacks appear to be trending in a very different direction.

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Sitting at opposite ends of The Rugby Championship ladder, New Zealand are deservedly the favourites going into this Test.

But the Wallabies are ready.

After arriving in Melbourne earlier in the week, and training in front of some inspired students at Brighton Grammar School on Tuesday, the Australians are ready to make a statement in front of about 80,000 fans at the MCG.

“We’ve got the cattle, I think we’ve always had the cattle,” Matt Philip told reporters. “Some really exciting players in the squad with people like Taniela (Tupou) and Samu (Kerevi) coming back into the squad.

“The coaching staff as well has really reinvigorated the training. The intensity of training has been a notch above what it has been in previous years.



“The intensity and the detail around our game that we’re training and how we want to play will help us get to that next level that we haven’t been able to reach for a long time.”

In the southern hemisphere, there is probably no greater sporting rivalry than the fiercely contested battles between Australia and New Zealand.

Whether it’s rugby union, league, cricket, football or even sailing, any clash between the neighbouring nations is sure to create headlines.

Even in AFL-mad Victoria, the MCG is being prepared to host an international Test matches. Promotional images of All Black Ardie Savea and Wallaby Michael Hooper were seen on Wednesday around ‘the G.’


The All Blacks are coming into this Test on the back of two big wins over Argentina and South Africa, and they’ll be full of confidence when they run out onto the most famous field in Australian sports.

But there’s just something about this rivalry.

The Bledisloe Cup is a prized chalice in New Zealand, and the visitors won’t go down without a fight. There’s a reason Philip believes the All Blacks are “the standard in world rugby.”

“For me, putting aside a World Cup final, it’s the biggest game as an Australian rugby player,” Philip added.

“Every time you put on the jersey it’s a new opportunity to test yourself against the best because I believe they are the standard in world rugby.

“It’s the biggest game personally and it’s the biggest test you can face.”

Sitting on a tram in East Melbourne, Philip sat with a few reporters – including myself – as a small group of Wallabies, media and photographers made their way towards Flinders Street Station.

With the MCG in sight, Philip opened up about his “life-changing” knee injury – and the journey back to Wallaby gold.

“Every Test you put on the Wallabies jersey you want a result. You never know when it could be your last.

“I’ve been through a pretty big injury, thought potentially that could be my last (Test) having the ACL done at the end of last year. Fortunately, it wasn’t so every Test from now on is extremely special to me because like I said that was a pretty life-changing experience.”

The Wallabies take on rivals New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday evening in the first of two Bledisloe Cup Tests.


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Jmann 356 days ago

well this article aged pretty badly didn't it

Graham 357 days ago

Dunno what you're smoking buddy but where can I get some of that horse manure.

Ruby 358 days ago

They won't do it this year but I hope the Aussie's win it someday, preferably with players who were born after they last held it, they're not far off now, Carter-Gordon is 22 and it's been 21 years.

Hira 358 days ago

When they stop talking and start playing I will sit up and take notice

Sunny 358 days ago

Come on Matt Phillips, and Eddie "THE DREAMER," Jones, the dribbles coming from your mouth tells me 'Only One Thing, That The Aussie's Are Only Good At Dribbling😝🤤🤬🤮 From The Mouth. Because they don't know how to dribble a rugby ball, or soccer ball, The Matilda's loss to Nigeria, and The Wallabies loss to The Pumas are a point of "VALUABLE LESSONS TO LEARN FROM."
But, It's Not All Doom n Gloom for our neighbour's across the ditch, if people like Jonesy, and Phillips can learn to put a "ZIPPER 🤐🤬😷ACROSS THEIR MOUTH

Duncan 358 days ago

Our biggest southern hemisphere rugby rivalry is with SA, not Australia

Another 359 days ago

Would it be too much to ask for a little bit of analysis to be included alongside the sentiment?

Reyz 359 days ago

LMFAO! Someone's been on the wine 😅🤣🤣🤣🤣🤭

frandinand 359 days ago

Hell when I saw that headline I thought Christy Doran must have started writing for Rugby Pass !!!

Jmann 359 days ago

Hey - they may very well win the game in Melbourne - it has 'ambush' written all over it. And a ref could spoil the game with one flash of a card. But it's hard to see them winning twice.

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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Jon 11 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

37 Go to comments
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