Wallabies chase history as All Blacks prepare for extended stint overseas

The Wallabies haven't won at Eden Park since 1986 and it appears New Zealand rugby fans don't rate their chances of doing it this weekend.

After a near sell out at the same ground last weekend, there are still plenty of tickets left for tomorrow night's match, despite it likely being the All Blacks final home game of the season.

New Zealand Rugby declining to provide a ticket sales figure last night, only confirming there were tickets still available in all categories. It's understood between 20,000 and 30,000 tickets had been sold for the match as Friday morning. Eden Park has a capacity of about 50,000. Last week the crowd attendance was about 47,000.

The All Blacks coach Ian Foster is "desperate" to retain the Bledisloe Cup and start the Rugby Championship strongly - he just hopes some more fans will be there to see what could be New Zealand's last home game of 2021.

"It's hard to say is it the last game. I get all the variables, we get the fact that this is a late change. It shows the difficulty in sport at the moment with moving games and changing schedules because that's not easy for administrators. But, it's also not easy for fans to get sorted out either."

The All Blacks head to Perth for the third Bledisloe test on August the 28th, before playing their two Rugby Championship games against Argentina across the ditch.

Their final two tests against South Africa (scheduled for Dunedin and Auckland) are expected to follow suit, with a recent press release from South African Rugby stating they were playing their final four Rugby Championship games in Australia.

The All Blacks players have an agreement with New Zealand Rugby that they will only go into MIQ once this year. That is likely to be when they get back from the end of year tour to the US and Europe.

The team could go straight to from Australia to America should the trans-tasman bubble pause be extended beyond September as expected, and coach Ian Foster is preparing for the possibility of being away for three months.

"We've got a whole lot of options and one is staying away for a long time. That's the likely option, unless things change. Today (Thursday) we heard they're (NZ government) looking for some options of different types of quarantining for those that are fully vaccinated, which will will be and with a bit of luck we'll be playing in the right parts of Australia."

Many New Zealand teams and athletes have had to spend long periods of time away from home due to Covid-19 and the Wallabies coach Dave Rennie revealed his players are making plenty of sacrifices to ensure the Rugby Championship goes ahead.

"I think by the end of this weekend our Waratah contingent (NSW Waratahs), staff and players, have been away from home for seven weeks, with no real end in sight. We could spend a month in Perth, at this stage we're not sure what's happening."

Rennie said the Wallabies hope to reunite some players with their families in Perth, but he concedes they have little choice but to get on with it.

"It's important that we play test footy financially for all the countries involved. So, we've just got to adjust and deal with things."

While Covid is changing history the Wallabies have a chance to create a little of their own.

If they win on Saturday night they'll end a 35 year losing streak at Eden Park and keep alive their hopes of winning their first Bledisloe Cup since 2002. If the hosts win they wrap up the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th straight year.

However, the Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese believes the hosts Eden Park record puts a burden on the All Blacks.

"If anything the pressure's not on us it's on them. No-one wants to be the first All Blacks team to lose at Eden Park. We've had a taste of what it's like now, the cauldron they call it out here and we'll take confidence from last week's performance."

The reality though is that the Wallabies are rank outsiders, as of Friday morning they were paying $11 at the TAB to win, with the All Blacks at $1.06 to emerge triumphant.

It would seem fans and pundits agree with the test looking unlikely to sell out.