Australia re-enter the fray after the Ireland upset with Will Genia as captain. Dingo Deans has chosen to give game time to a number of players returning from injury, notably Slipper, Mitchell and a slimmed down Cliffie Palu. Polota-Nau could be thrown into that category except he started against Ireland. Scott Higginbotham starts at blindside and has a chance to stake a claim for the 6 jumper. Pocock was unlikely to start this game due to rotation policy but the diggers must have concerns over his fitness.
America go with their second string as well. Like many of the smaller nations, they are reliant on a small number of high quality players to make an impact. Without these players, it is unlikely that they will have the quality to trouble Australia or to keep pace. Trinity fans will be happy to see Scott LaValla start in the second row but it’s a big step up from College Park and a measure of the experience the Eagles can draw from.
The bookies make this a 61 point game. With the weather in Wellington due to be dry and sunny, I expect the Wallabies to beat the handicap with Cooper, Beale and Mitchell cutting in the open field.