All you need to know ahead of the All Blacks’ clash against Australia at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Sunday, 5 September, kick-off at 6pm:
The Wallabies host the All Blacks in a rare Sunday afternoon match at the international level. Turns out that’s not the only unusual occurrence in a Rugby Championship compressed from four countries into one Australian state — at least from next week.
Date: Sunday, September 5
Kick-off time: 4pm AEST / 6pm NZST / 8am SAST / 7am BST / 2am ET
Covid-19 restrictions first postponed Sunday’s finale of the Bledisloe Cup at Perth from late August when the All Blacks were unwilling to travel to the Western Australian capital after the lockdown in New Zealand. They’d already clinched the annual series between the transtasman rivals for the 19th straight year with wins over two weekends at Auckland’s Eden Park.
On Sunday in Perth, All Black Beauden Barrett will return to the No 10 jersey in which he twice was voted the world’s best player. Barrett has played only sporadically at first five for the All Blacks over the past two years, since Richie Mo’unga succeeded him in the starting role. Most of his recent test appearances have been at fullback or from the bench.
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For the Wallabies, Samu Kerevi and Izack Rodda will make their long-awaited returns. Kerevi comes into the side at inside centre for Hunter Paisami, who will miss the game due to the birth of his child. It will mark Kerevi’s first appearance since the 2019 Rugby World Cup, having spent the past two years in Japan playing for Suntory.
Rodda will come off the bench in place of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto in front of his new home crowd after signing with the Perth-based Western Force for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
New Zealand will be looking to complete a 3-0 clean-sweep of the Bledisloe series.