Is Australia vs New Zealand on TV? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch Rugby Championship match

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

New Zealand can move a step closer to retaining the Rugby Championship with a victory over Australia in Melbourne on Thursday.

New Zealand’s 50-point victory over Argentina and South Africa’s win against Australia means all four teams head into the penultimate round separated by just one point.

The fixture will also be the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup, which Australia have not held in two decades.

New Zealand have been vulnerable this season, and are yet to win back-to-back matches this year, but bonus point win would see them put one hand on the Rugby Championship ahead of next week’s return match in Auckland.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When is Australia vs New Zealand?

The match will kick off at 10:45am BST (7:45pm local time) on Thursday 15 September in Melbourne, Australia.

How can I watch it?

It will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena, with coverage starting from 10:35am.

If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.

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What is the Australia team news?

Flyhalf Bernard Foley will play his first test in three years after Noah Lolesio was ruled out by concussion in one of eight changes for the Wallabies.

Lolesio and centre Hunter Paisami both suffered head knocks in the 24-8 loss to South Africa in Sydney and Lalakai Foketi will win his third cap at inside centre.

In other tweaks to the backline, Andrew Kellaway will play at fullback and Jake Gordon has earned his first start at scrumhalf of the season in place of Nic White.

Rory Arnold is unavailable for both Thursday’s match and the return game in Auckland next week as he awaits the birth of his first child, so Jed Holloway shifts from the back row to lock alongside Matt Phillip.

What is the New Zealand team news?

Hoskins Sotutu will replace Ardie Savea as one of three positional changes to the starting 15 that dismantled Argentina 53-3.

Savea, excused from the test while awaiting the birth of his third child, has been a rock through a difficult season for the All Blacks, and Sotutu knows he has a hard act to follow.

Hoskins is part of a reshuffled back row, with Scott Barrett shifting from lock to blindside flanker in place of the injured Shannon Frizell in Ian Foster’s starting side.

Former World Player of the Year Brodie Retallick has been promoted to starting lock alongside fellow veteran Sam Whitelock, with loose forward Akira Ioane coming onto the bench in the only change to the reserves.

Starting line-ups

Australia team: 15. Andrew Kellaway, 14. Tom Wright, 13. Len Ikitau, 12. Lalakai Foketi, 11. Marika Koroibete, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Jake Gordon, 8. Rob Valetini, 7. Pete Samu, 6. Rob Leota, 5. Matt Philip, 4. Jed Holloway, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 2. Dave Porecki, 1. James Slipper (captain)

Replacements: 16. Folau Fainga’a, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Pone Fa’amausili, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Nic White, 22. Reece Hodge, 23. Jordan Petaia

New Zealand team: 15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. David Havili, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Scott Barrett, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Tyrel Lomax, 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1. Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16. Dane Coles, 17. George Bower, 18. Fletcher Newell, 19. Akira Ioane, 20. Dalton Papali’i, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Beauden Barrett, 23. Quinn Tupaea