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International Rugby League

Preview: Australia vs. New Zealand

This will be 14th match of the annual ANZAC day Test match which started as a Super League initiative in 1997. Australia has totally dominated these contests with a 12-1 record with the Kiwis’ only success being a 22-16 win in Auckland in 1998. This Test is also very first one to be played at Canberra Stadium.
 

Australia have made five changes to the team that played NZ in October with Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough, Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday and Kurt Gidley have come into the side replacing Tony Williams, Robbie Farah, David Shillington, Ryan Hoffman and Josh Morris. The Kiwis have been hard hit with injury with Benji Marshall (toe injury), Sonny Bill Williams (knee injury), Jeremy Smith (suspension) and Krisnan Inu (suspension) all unavailable with Simon Mannering also making his debut as a captain and Roosters winger Roger Tuivasa-Scheck set to make his Test debut.

Australia should win this Test and win it very easily. The Big 3 (Cronk, Slater and Smith) will be there for Australia after propelling the Storm to unbeaten start to 2013 along with the attacking class of Thurston, Inglis and Hodges and the size and toughness of Gallen, Bird, Tomau and Scott should prove to be far too much for the Kiwis, who despite the dangerous halves pairing of Keiran Foran and Shaun Johnson lack (besides Jared Wearea-Hargraves and Sam McKendry) size and grunt in the forwards and some experience and class in the backs. Expect it to be tight early with Australia gradually piling on the tries later.

Tip: Australia by 28.

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