Everything you need to know before Bledisloe 1!

Everything you need to know before Bledisloe 1!

The match will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with a UK/Ireland kickoff at 10.45am and local kickoff of 7.45pm AEST. South African kickoff time is 11.45 am. The Bledisloe Cup is named after Lord Bedisloe, who kindly donated the trophy.

Where to watch

Fans in Australia can watch on Stan Sport, Kiwis on Sky Sports, in the UK and Ireland the game will also be shown on Sky sports action and streamed on Now. As per usual SuperSport will have all the rugby action and FloRugby in the USA


The All Blacks will be captained by Ardie Savea (Sam Cane is injured) and the Wallabies by prop Allan Alaalatoa


Referee is Wayne Barnes who will be refereeing his 103rd test match, extending his world record as the most capped Test referee. 

Match notes with thanks to World Rugby

Referee Wayne Barnes (England) 


Test debut: 24 June, 2006 – Fiji 23-20 Samoa

Tests as referee: 102

  • Wayne Barnes is the most-capped referee in history with 102 tests.
  • Barnes claimed the record in his own right by taking charge of France v South Africa in Marseille in the Autumn Nations Series on 12 November, 2022.
  • He had refereed his 100th test – joining Nigel Owens as the only referee to take charge of 100 test matches – a week earlier with Wales v New Zealand in Cardiff.
  • Barnes is set to referee in a record fifth Rugby World Cup in France. He holds the record for most Rugby World Cup matches as referee with 21.
  • Barnes also holds the record for most Six Nations matches as referee with 26 across 17 Championships, having made his debut back in 2007 with Italy v France.
  • This is his ninth time in the middle in The Rugby Championship.
  • Australia lead 3-2 in the head-to-head when they have come up against New Zealand with Barnes as referee.
  • Barnes will referee two more tests following this match before RWC 2023 – Georgia v Romania on 12 August and Ireland v Samoa on 26 August. Head-to-head Played: 175 – New Zealand leads 122-45 with eight draws Points for: Australia 2,536 / New Zealand 3,867 (avg. score: 15-22) Highest score: Australia 47 (47-26 on 10 August, 2019) / New Zealand 57 (57-22 on 14 August, 2021) Biggest winning margin: Australia 21 (28-7 on 28 August, 1999) / New Zealand 38 (43-5 on 31 October, 2020) First met: 15 August, 1903 – New Zealand 22-3 Australia – Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Last met: 24 September, 2022 – New Zealand 40-14 Australia – Eden Park, Auckland Head-to-head notes
  • This is the first of two Bledisloe Cup fixtures in 2023 with the return match on 5 August at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
  • The All Blacks’ current winning streak against the Wallabies is five matches dating back to 2021 at Eden Park. Ten straight games is their longest winning run in this fixture (2008-10). • The last time the Wallabies defeated New Zealand was in November 2020 (24-22 at Suncorp Stadium).
  • There have been five tests between the Wallabies and All Blacks in Melbourne since 1997, the last was a 39-37 win for the All Blacks with Jordie Barrett scoring the match-winner right at the death.
  • Three of those five matches have come at the MCG, with the Wallabies holding a 2-1 win record there against their trans-Tasman rivals.
  • That was the 70th match out of 175 in this fixture’s history that has been decided by a converted try or less. • The winning team has scored 33 points or more in the last five meetings. Team notes Rugby Championship titles Men’s preview – 29 July, 2023 5 New Zealand – 2012-14, 2016-18, 2021-22 Australia – 2015 2023 Rugby Championship results New Zealand W 41-12 (a) v Argentina, W 35-20 (h) v South Africa Australia L 43-12 (a) v South Africa, L 34-31 (h) v Argentina 2022 Rugby Championship results New Zealand L 26-10 (a) v South Africa, W 35-23 (a) v South Africa, L 25-18 (h) v Argentina, W 53-3 (h) v Argentina, W 39-37 (a) v Australia, W 40-14 (h) v Australia. Australia W 41-26 (a) v Argentina, L 48-17 v Argentina (a), W 25-17 (h) v South Africa, L 24-8 v South Africa, L 39- 37 (h) v New Zealand, L 40-14 (a) v New Zealand.
  • New Zealand have held onto the Bledisloe Cup for the last 20 years, the second longest period the Cup has been held by one nation in its history, after New Zealand’s 27-year grip between 1951- 78 (not contested annually).
  • New Zealand are currently top of The Rugby Championship standings on nine points, four more than South Africa, following wins over Argentina (41-12, away) and South Africa (35-20, home).
  • The All Blacks will retain The Rugby Championship title for a third consecutive year if they pick up at least one bonus point.
  • Last week’s win over the Springboks was the All Blacks’ 100th in the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship.
  • If New Zealand avoid defeat they will have gone 10 consecutive games unbeaten. They have won eight and drawn one of their last nine matches. Their best run of results under Ian Foster is 10 straight wins between November 2020 and October 2021.

  • New Zealand are this year’s top try-scorers after the first two rounds (11) and they have also made the most clean breaks (17) and beaten the most defenders (52).
  • The All Blacks also have the most efficient set piece in the competition – lineout 91.4 per cent and scrum 93 per cent.
  • Australia prop up The Rugby Championship standings with just one point to their name – the losing bonus point against Argentina, who are three points better off.
  • The Wallabies need to win to have any chance of avoiding finishing bottom for the first time since The Rugby Championship was introduced in 2012.
  • Australia have only won two of their last 10 tests, although five of those defeats have come by one-score margins.
  • The last time the Wallabies won a test match in Melbourne was in 2017, 37-14 against Fiji at AAMI Park.
  • Allan Alaalatoa, Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper are the only players to have featured in that match who remain in the current Wallabies squad.
  • Australia’s third try against Argentina in round two was their 300th in the Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship.
  • Australia have the best tackle completion rate of 87.6 per cent.
  • Australia have had three yellow cards across the first two rounds, conceding an average of 9.33 points during each sin-bin period.

Player notes Men’s preview – 29 July, 2023 

  • James Slipper will become the second-most capped Wallaby in his 130th test, surpassing former captain Stephen Moore, if he comes off the bench.
  • Gethin Jenkins is the only prop in test history to have played more games than Slipper (134).
  • The prop is set to play in his 31st test against the All Blacks, the second-most by any Wallaby after Adam Ashley-Cooper
  • Rob Valetini scored his first and only Wallaby try to date in Melbourne last year against the All Blacks.
  • He has never tasted victory against the All Blacks, with five losses and one draw in his career.
  • Valetini has made the most successful tackles (33) in The Rugby Championship this year. • This is Quade Cooper’s first Bledisloe Cup test since 2016 at Eden Park.
  • Marika Koroibete has beaten the most defenders (11) in this year’s Rugby Championship and has carried for the most metres (172).
  • Sam Whitelock will equal Richie McCaw’s record for most tests by an All Black against Australia if he comes off the bench.
  • The Barrett brothers – Beauden (114), Scott (60), and Jordie (50) – became the first trio of brothers to gain 50 caps or more in the second round win against South Africa.
  • Beauden Barrett is one of three All Blacks players on a record 11 tries in this fixture – Richie McCaw and Ma’a Nonu are the others.
  • Richie Mo’unga has averaged 17 points per game across his past five tests against the Wallabies.
  • The fly-half scored 19 points against the Wallabies in Melbourne in 2022 – one try, four conversions and two penalties.
  • Mo’unga is the leading points-scorer in The Rugby Championship with 20.

Team news • Fly-half Carter Gordon, 22, makes his first start for Australia in his third test as Tate McDermott’s half-back partner.

  • It’s one of a number of changes to the side, with another Queenslander, Jordan Petaia returning to the team at outside-centre, having fully recovered from a wrist injury to partner Samu Kerevi in the midfield.
  • Andrew Kellaway will also play his first test of the year at full-back alongside wingers Marika Koroibete and Mark Nawaqanitawase, with the Wallabies set to wear their First Nations jersey for the first time in Melbourne this weekend.
  • Angus Bell’s strong performance from the bench against Argentina in Sydney a fortnight ago has seen him change roles with James Slipper against New Zealand, linking up with hooker David Porecki and tight-head prop Allan Alaalatoa who have started both games so far this season.
  • Nick Frost returns to the second row to partner Will Skelton, while the dynamic Tom Hooper returns from shoulder injury to start at openside flanker in a new look back row that features Jed Holloway at blindside flanker and Rob Valetini at number eight.
  • Replacement Taniela Tupou will also make his return to the test arena after recovering from a ruptured Achilles.
  • Ardie Savea will lead New Zealand for the fifth time in his career, featuring in a loose forward trio which has undergone one change.
  • Regular skipper Sam Cane has been withdrawn due to a neck strain sustained in the win over South Africa in Auckland. His absence has provided an opportunity for Dalton Papali’i to wear the number seven jersey for the 14th time in his test career, with Luke Jacobson coming into the matchday 23 as loose forward cover.
  • The rest of the starting XV remains unchanged with props Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax and hooker Codie Taylor forming the front row and Brodie Retallick and Scott Barrett packing down behind them.
  • In the backs, Aaron Smith and Richie Mo’unga retain their position as half-backs, Jordan Barrett and Rieko Ioane make up the midfield and Mark Telea and Will Jordan are on the wings with Beauden Barrett at full-back.
  • Experienced campaigners Anton Lienert-Brown and Samuel Whitelock are set to make their first appearances of the season from the bench, Men’s preview – 29 July, 2023 7
  • Ofa Tu’ungafasi returns as a replacement after playing the opening test against Argentina and Cam Roigard is in line to make his test debut as half-back cover.

Head coach notes


  • Eddie Jones is in his second spell as Australia coach, having replaced Dave Rennie earlier this year. He has yet to win a game in two previous attempts since returning to the position. • Jones has presided over five victories and six losses against New Zealand as the Wallabies’ head coach. His record with England against the All Blacks was evenly split with one win, one defeat and one draw.
  • In his previous spell in charge (2001-05), Jones led Australia to the Tri-Nations title in his first season and the final of Rugby World Cup 2003.
  • Jones was a technical advisor to the RWC 2007 winning Springbok team before taking on the top job in Japan, where he transformed their fortunes, helping them get into the top 10 of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini for the first time.
  • Japan pulled off the biggest shock in Rugby World Cup history when they defeated South Africa in the pool stage of the 2015 tournament.
  • Jones then led England to their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years in 2016 and then to the final of RWC 2019. By the time he left his position in December 2022, Jones had guided England to victory in 59 of his 81 matches in charge, with his win rate of 73 per cent topping all of his predecessors.
  • All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has a P36, W25, D2, L9 record (69 per cent win percentage) since taking charge of his first game in October 2020, a 16-16 draw with Australia.
  • Foster was previously an assistant coach to Steve Hansen and an All Blacks selector from 2011- 19.
  • Foster will stand down at the conclusion of Rugby World Cup 2023 and be replaced by Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.

Latest News