Rugby World Cup 2019: The Cup 19 Podcast - Episode Four

The Wallabies last raised the Bledisloe Cup in 2002, before the All Blacks began a 17-year domination of the traditional trans-Tasman rivalry.

Veteran Channel 10 commentator Gordon Bray believes the Aussies could break that drought this year - but it would be a big ask.

In the fourth episode of The Cup 19 podcast, the Aussie broadcaster spoke to host Ollie Ritchie before Saturday's Bledisloe opener in Perth. 

"[Australia] have certainly been very rusty, but I think we saw improvement against Argentina," Bray says.

"They have another defensive system and this one seems to be a more contained defence," he said. "That worries me a lot, because it seems to be a very good New Zealand team."

James O'Connor will start for the Australians for the first time since 2013, taking Tevita Kuridrani's spot at centre.

"It's a bold call," Bray says. "Kuridrani has struggled to get into the first two Rugby Championship games, but he is a defensive rock in the 13 jumper, so It's a massive challenge for James O'Connor,

"But they bought him back from overseas and Cheika is rolling the dice there. 

"O'Connor has the playmaking ability, but whether he still has the x-factor remains to be seen. He's been playing well overseas, but it's a massive step up for him."

Bray thinks the All Blacks have made the right choice by elevating Ardie Savea into the starting XV, where he will bolster their attack. 

"I think most people would agree that Ardie's the form rugby player in the world. He's not only so quick and good over the ball, but he's just so hard to stop.

"I don't think Australia has the agility and dexterity and the pace in the back row to match New Zealand."

Rugby World Cup 2019: The Cup 19 Podcast - Episode Four

But does Bray think Australia will win the first Bledisloe test?

"This is the match that is pivotal as far as getting momentum for the Wallabies. If ever you are going to beat the All Blacks, you've got a chance here, because they're still below their best.

"My head tells me the All Blacks will take out this game - I'm still not convinced about the Wallabies defensive system, so I'd say New Zealand by 10. 

"Then again, my heart says the Wallabies do have a definite chance in this game. If they come out and show the physicality that Cheika wants, then they have a chance."

For more of Bray's chat with Ritchie and an in-depth conversation with former All Black Richard Turner, listen to the full episode here.

Previously on The Cup '19 podcast

#1 - The kick-off

#2 - Beware of the Springboks

#3 - The Hunger Games, All Blacks style


Join us at 9:45pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Wallabies Bledisloe test