Test Preview: There Is No Revenge For Losing A World Cup Final

Australian Test selectors have made few changes to the team beaten in last year World Cup Final. The team that wasn’t good enough will be given a chance to get some sort of false redemption against the World Champion New Zealand Rugby League team in Friday night in Sydney.

New Zealand have made a few changes, some through common sense, some through representative retirement and some through injury and possibly suspension.

They look great though, and its going to be hard to beat them. So lets look at the sides, the stories and I might even give a few opinions on the game for once!

As mentioned, the Australian selectors gave the majority of last years losing World Cup Final side another chance. Here is the official lineup:

Australian Kangaroos
1. Billy Slater
2. Israel Folau
3.Greg Inglis
4.Justin Hodges
5. Darius Boyd
6. Darren Lockyer (capt)
7. Johnathan Thurston
8. Petero Civoniceva
9. Cameron Smith
10. Steve Price
11. Anthony Laffranchi
12. Paul Gallen
13. Glenn Stewart

14. Kurt Gidley
15. Brent Kite
16. Luke Bailey
17. Anthony Watmough

Some of the selections I understand, others I find a bit strange.

Its hard to argue with the backline, although how Darius Boyd got in there over some of the other players in better form is a bit beyond me.

I have no idea how Glenn Stewart got a start at lock. I don’t rate him all that highly, sure he is handy at club level, well he was for a few minutes in 2008, but he is not a rep player. I’d have had Campese or Anasta instead.

The bench is pretty good, its about what you would expect considering the direction the selectors went.

Now let me just say, this bullshit about how many Queenslanders there are in the side really pisses me off. Who cares?

I don’t know what some people expect, New South Wales has lost the last few Origin series because Queenland is producing better players, so what type of miracle is supposed to happen where New South Wales get more Test players?

I personally think inter state arguments at Test level are boring and pathetic.

Now as for the Kiwis…..

New Zealand Kiwis Lineup
1. Lance Hohaia
2. Sam Perrett
3. Iosia Soliola
4. Jerome Ropati
5. Manu Vatuvei
6. Benji Marshall (capt)
7. Nathan Fien
8. Roy Asotasi
9. Issac Luke
10. Adam Blair
11. Jeremy Smith
12. Greg Eastwood
13. Simon Mannering

14. David Fa’alogo
15. Bronson Harrison
16. Jeff Lima
17. Jason Nightingale

Frank Prichard has been ruled out with injury while Issac Luke has to fight as completely ridiculous striking charge at the judiciary…..he was being tackled by 3 opposition players when he is supposed to have led with an elbow in the tackle, bloody ridiculous!

This isn’t the official lineup but its about what you can expect.

Its great to see Benji Marshall named as captain. He is fighting injury but I’d expect him to be there.

This side is a bit different from the team that won the World Cup, its just lacking a touch of class in the backline that I’d like to see but the forward pack is fantastic.

Its going to be interesting to see how the Kiw’s play. At times they come out like a house on fire but burn themselves out after 20 minutes. Other times they come out and get thrashed, lacking confidence and playing like crap.

I’m wondering how much they will get out of their World Champion status and playing largely against a team they know they have beaten on the games biggest stage just months ago.

As for Australia, they need to put a 50 point scoreline up or I would tear the side apart. They lost the World Cup Final, at home….they shouldn’t have been given a second chance!

I’m going with the World Champs in this one. I think they’ll be confident, their forward pack will get the job done, I think Issac Luke will be massive if he plays and I reckon Benji Marshall will have a big game after being named captain.

As for Australia, I think this game could finally put some question marks over some players and put pressure on them. Thats a good thing if you support Australia because doing what we have done in the past is not good enough any more.

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