Tri-Nations' results rely on halfbacks' form
By Wynne Gray
The compelling Tri-Nations series has become a tale of the halfbacks.
The All Blacks have seen a resurgent Piri Weepu, the Springboks have felt the pain without the injured Fourie du Preez, and the Wallabies are trusting in the repair work on Will Genia's knee and hand.
After some heavy analysis of the Super 14, All Black coach Graham Henry nominated the men in the No 9 jersey as those who would drive the team plan more than in previous seasons. They retained Jimmy Cowan and Weepu, who made their All Black debuts within a week of each other in 2004, and tweaked their job descriptions.
Meanwhile, du Preez and Genia were wounded. The Springboks lost du Preez for the Tri-Nations, while Genia will return for the Wallabies' start to that campaign against the Boks in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Wallabies have lost only three of their 17 tests at Suncorp Stadium in the professional era and have beaten the Boks all five times they have met at that venue.