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Rugby News

Rugby-Wallabies foresee 'guessing game' with All Blacks before Bledisloe

WELLINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Wallabies assistant coach Matt Taylor was giving little away ahead of their first Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks, except to say that nearly everything about the match on Sunday was likely to be a mystery.

Both Australia and New Zealand have new coaching groups this year, with Dave Rennie taking over the Wallabies, while Ian Foster succeeded long-time All Blacks coach Steve Hanson, who had been involved with the team for 16 seasons.

The coaching teams have also had to wait an additional three months to finally put their plans into action, with their July tests cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Both sides are starting afresh in a certain way,” Taylor told reporters from their biosecure facility in Christchurch.

“The coaching group at the All Blacks are new. They’ve got some exciting young players coming through.

“We’re probably both having a guessing game in terms of what the (other) squads might be doing.”

Part of the guessing game for the Wallabies has been whether the All Blacks will start Richie Mo’unga or Beauden Barrett at flyhalf, with Taylor joining fellow assistant coach Scott Wisemantel in expecting Mo’unga to get the nod.

“But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some selection surprises (and) we really don’t know how the All Blacks will operate,” Taylor added.

“We will have a little bit of a better idea when they name their team.”

Both sides will be named on Friday, before the Australians fly to Wellington on Saturday after being released from their managed isolation facility.

Taylor added there were no injury concerns among the 44-man squad and Australian fans might be surprised as to who gets named on Friday.

“Most of the squad have put themselves into a position to be selected,” he said.

“There might be a few surprises in terms of what people think but not a surprise to us.”

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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