ANZAC Test Sides Named

There have been some interesting changes to both the Australian and New Zealand test sides ahead of the ANZAC Test on the Gold Coast on Friday night.

The Australian team is slowly moving on from players who either have proven they can not get the job done at this level, or who will simply not be around by the time the World Cup rolls around in 2013.

As for the Kiwi’s, they simply have to pick their form team these days. They are the standard now and you can see with the incredible depth they have, they are going to be hard to beat.

This test will be part of a test series we will now be playing every year against New Zealand. Its about time they sorted that…

Anyway, lets have a look at the lineups.

Australian Test Team
1. Billy Slater
2. Jharal Yow Yeh
3. Justin Hodges
4. Greg Inglis
5. Brett Morris
6. Darren Lockyer (C)
7. Jonathan Thurston
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith
10. Petero Civoniceva
11. Sam Thaiday
12. Ben Creagh
13. Paul Gallen

14. Cooper Cronk
15. Ben Hannant
16. Jamal Idris
17. Kade Snowden

There isn’t a great deal you need to say about most of the Australian lineup. Its a handy looking back line and I think Yow Yeh fully deserves his place in the side.

I’m pleased they went with Inglis and Hodges in the centers, they are the two best in the game by a long way.

The forward pack looks strong although Ben Creagh should not be anywhere near the side. Lets hope NSW selectors dont feel pressured to pick him at State Of Origin level.

The big selections are on the bench if you ask me. Cronk seems to have cemented his place as the utility player in the test side which I think is great. He is a much better player than Gidley who some try and push into that position.

Jamal Idris is a player Australia had to pick. He is a player we need to develop and have as an option come the World Cup in two years time. No one wants to have to play against Idris, can you imagine running him out against the boys that England push out onto the field against Australia?

Kade Snowden makes his step up with Dave Shillington pulling out with a chest injury. Once again, I think this is a case of blooding a youngster, maybe a little ahead of time, with an eye on the World Cup, something we HAVE to do.

New Zealand Test Team
1. Lance Hohaia
2. Matthew Duffie
3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
4. Simon Mannering
5. Jason Nightingale
6. Benji Marshall (C)
7. Kieran Foran
8. Fuifui Moimoi
9. Issac Luke
10. Adam Blair
11. Greg Eastwood
12. Bronson Harrison
13. Jeremy Smith

14. Nathan Fien
15. Lewis Brown
16. Ben Matulino
17. Sam Rapira
18. Gerard Beale
19. Sam McKendry

The Kiwi’s side is a lot more interesting if you ask me, with so many different combination’s they can go for. They just named a 19 man squad so what you see above is how I would guess they may throw them together.

I think Hohaia will start at fullback, I can’t see them throwing Beale into the fire. The Kiwi’s only named one specialist center, and while they do have the option of bringing Fien into the halves and pushing Foran out into the centers, I can’t see them wanting Foran to line up against monsters like Inglis and Hodges. I think they’ll probably put Mannering out there and hope he can physically compete with them at least.

The Kiwi’s draw a lot of strength from the depth of their forwards, who are the best in the world by some way, and this side is no exception. There are any number of ways they could go with their lineup. I think it will come down to how many younger players they want to give a bit of experience to.

So Who Will Win?
I think you always have to weigh these one off tests in Australia’s favour simply because we’ve been bringing rep sides together on a short preparation for years at Origin level and we know how to get the most out of a short week.

This Kiwi side is very good but I always get the feeling that their best player, Benji Marshall, struggles a little in these one off games. Thats no real knock on him, I think its more a case that his team mates that that extra time a end of year test series gives you to get use to Marshalls ability, his style of play and simply knowing what he is capable of and where they need to be to allow him to weave his magic.

For me, at this stage, everything is about the World Cup. Looking at the two team, New Zealand looks far better places and seem to be more comfortable with the direction they are heading in than Australia does. Australia seems to keep picking different forwards hoping that someone will show they are up to matching the Kiwi’s and playing with a bit of fire.

As for this game, its hard to tip against Australia, in Australia in a one off test match. My Tip: Australia by 16

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