We're thirsty for early Bledisloe: Mils - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We're thirsty for early Bledisloe: Mils

By Mark Geenty 18/08/2009 11:37:30 AM Comments (0)

The All Blacks have drunk from the Bledisloe Cup enough times in recent years that they know its exact capacity.

And, with fullback Mils Muliaina on Monday labelling it more prestigious than the Tri Nations trophy, the All Blacks are intent on sipping its contents for a seventh consecutive year on Saturday night.

Coach Graham Henry will on Tuesday name his side for the Bledisloe Cup/Tri-Nations Test at ANZ Stadium knowing victory will retain the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy for 2009 with two matches to spare.

New Zealand took possession of the cup back in 2003 with a 2-0 series victory before stumbling to Australia in the World Cup semi-finals later that year in Sydney.

"It was massive. Back then, you only had to win it once to retain it, so we had to win both games. The emotion after we won it was something different," Muliaina said.

"To have it in the changing rooms ... we still have the saying now that there's 32 Steinlagers that fit in the Bledisloe so you want to be drinking out of it, I tell you, it tastes good."

Muliaina was quizzed at length by Australian reporters about the prestige of the Bledisloe Cup which the Wallabies held for five seasons before the All Blacks' latest run.

He didn't hesitate when asked if it was more important than the Tri Nations competition, now in its 13th year.

"The Bledisloe Cup, obviously. There's a lot of history behind it and certainly it means a lot to us.

"We've kept it for a long period of time and when the Australians had it for a long time we desperately wanted it back.

"The Tri Nations series is special but the Bledisloe, Kiwis and Australians, is something different.

"It's a double. If we can win this week, we keep it for another year, and the Tri Nations for us is still very much alive."

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw on Sunday declared the Tri Nations title hopes gone for the losers on Saturday night.

Even if the All Blacks win, they'll have to topple runaway leaders the Springboks and Wallabies at home, and hope the Wallabies can beat the Boks in Perth.

Key pivot Daniel Carter slotted back into five-eighth at training on Monday and will return for his first Test of 2009, while Luke McAlister (for Ma'a Nonu) and Kieran Read (for Rodney So'oialo) also looked good bets to start on evidence of the two-hour session at North Sydney.

In contrast, the Wallabies will be missing injured captain and centre Stirling Mortlock in a crucial swing in key personnel.

"Stirling being out is a massive blow to them. The experience he has, and he's their go-to guy when things aren't going so well," Muliaina said.

"In terms of our approach, we've got a lot of things we need to work on that we haven't quite nailed and this weekend gives us an opportunity. "

Still, Mortlock was absent, as was McCaw, when the Wallabies won 34-19 in Sydney last year for their third victory from their last four trans-Tasman Tests at the 2000 Olympic venue.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news