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Australia, New Zealand seek Rugby World Cup glory and bragging rights

[box type=”shadow” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=””]Prediction: New Zealand will come real hard at Australia to ensure a great fight. Still Australian wallabies have a firm chance of ruining the All Blacks brigade. If it is not a last minute upset, Australia should win this game comfortably. We go with Australia.[/box]
The All Blacks perform the Haka as the Wallabies look on. Image courtesy: rugbyworldcup.com
The All Blacks perform the Haka as the Wallabies look on. New Zealand take on Australia in the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday. Image courtesy: rugbyworldcup.com

For the third time this year, two of the world’s biggest sporting rivals will lock horns in a World Cup final for a shot at ultimate glory. Australia and New Zealand, neighbours across the Tasman Sea, have already fought it out in the cricket and the netball world cups; now, they take centre-stage in London to battle it out for the Rugby World Cup.

Australia won the first two, and will look to inflict yet another loss on New Zealand. But the All Blacks hold the statistical advantage on the pitch, having lost just one of their 12 matches against the Wallabies in the last four years.

And if the All Blacks needed more inspiration, they will be boosted by captain Richie McCaw’s announcement that he will not hang up his boots any time soon. And the entire unit will rally to ensure that departing stars, fly-half Dan Carter, centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, and hooker Keven Mealamu, are given the dream send-off after an illustrious career.

Australia, on the other hand, have fared better against New Zealand as far as World Cup encounters go. In 1991, Australia snatched a remarkable victory, thanks to David Campese’s two moments of genius –his cross field try and his blind, over-the-shoulder pass that put in Tim Horan.

The two teams met again in 2003, and Australia again emerged winners. This time George Gregan producing some verbal brilliance (and nastiness) that riled up the All Blacks at the end of the game: “Four more years, boys, four more years….”

In their most recent meeting, the 2011 semi-final, New Zealand strode on to the pitch determined not to lose. Australia’s Quade Cooper, portrayed as a Kiwi-born ‘traitor’ who once kicked their beloved McCaw in the head, found himself at the centre of abuse stemming from the All Blacks faithful at Eden Park. As a result, he turned in a shocking performance that led to New Zealand’s first World Cup victory over their old enemy.

On Saturday, the showdowns will begin in the coach’s box – Australia’s Michael Cheika and his Kiwi counterpart Steven Hansen will hope they have prepared and conditioned their men well enough – and move to the captains – Richie McCaw and Stephen Moore are buddies, but friendship will have no place in a World Cup final – and then to the rest of the teams.

There will also be a battle of age. If the All Blacks win, they will be the oldest team ever to win the Rugby World Cup. However, history shows the younger team usually wins.

Opening with the All Blacks’ intimidating Haka to explosive encounters across each line, the Rugby World Cup final will be spectacle to watch. And whatever happens, fans around the world will be witness to yet another page being added to the illustrious trans-Tasman history of two proud sporting nations.

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