Wallabies and All Blacks go at it for world supremacy.
After 46 games, where rugby fans witnessed the greatest upset of all time and a host nation faltering on home soil, 20 teams now turn into two. Trans Tasman rivals, Australia and New Zealand will battle it out for the first time ever, competing for the title of World Champions. A long, historical rivalry will shape what is expected to be the biggest World Cup Final to date. Arguably two of the most successful rugby nations of all time, it is fitting that these two will fight it out on sacred rugby turf at Twickenham.
Both the All Blacks and the Wallabies had a tough and grueling semi final outing, against South Africa and Argentina respectively. New Zealand, led by the boot of Dan Carter managed to hold off the Springboks by two points, while the Australian forward pack was heavily tested by the Pumas, but an Adam Ashley-Cooper hat-trick was enough to book their place in the final.
David Pocock v Richie McCaw
Two of the most influential and key men for their respective sides, both Pocock and McCaw will have to be instrumental in order for either of the Wallabies or the All Blacks to lift the Web-Ellis Cup. Australian fans have witnessed throughout the duration of the tournament of how crucial Pocock is to the Wallabies side when he’s in the team rather than out. McCaw’s big game experience could be the major factor in the All Blacks lifting a successive Cup. He might count himself lucky to be playing in the final after a stray elbow caught Springbok, Francois Louw, but the captain wasn’t cited by rugby officials. The legendary flanker may go down in history as the first man to lead his country to two World Cups.
Bernard Foley v Dan Carter
Both fly-halves have steered their sides into the World Cup Final this weekend. The battle of trying to out do each other will be key, as whichever man can get on top will guide his side to international glory. Foley has proven over the past few years that he is cool under pressure ‘Ice Man’, and is able to deliver during the big matches. Dan Carter has made a career of being the X-Factor in crucial games. Out of all the All-Black players Dan Carter will be the most eager after missing out on the 2011 title after he was ruled out with injury during the pool stage. With that type of motivation, the Wallabies should be worried and will need to prevent Carter from taking the game by the horns.
Israel Folau v Ben Smith
Supposedly the best full back in the world has been very quiet thus far in the tournament. Since Israel Folau made the switch the rugby union, he has been an integral asset for both club and country, yet his first World Cup campaign has been littered with inconsistency and an ankle injury. If Izzy is at his best the Wallabies are difficult to beat and the All Blacks know this very well. Ben Smith is the best fullback in world rugby at this point in time. He will be chasing the honour of winning both the Super Rugby and the World title in the same year after his exploits with the Highlanders in the 2015 season.
Scott Sio v Owen Franks
Wallabies fans will be sweating on the fitness of prop Scott Sio after an injury ruled him out of the semi final win over Argentina. Without him the Wallabies were very inconsistent in the scrum and will be hoping to improve in the final. Owen Franks has been an important part of the All Blacks set up since 2009 and will be eager to get the better of the oppositions’ forward pack. These two titans in the forwards will be vital for victory for either side.
Kurtley Beale v Sonny Bill Williams
Super Subs, the battle of the bench, the finishers. Whatever the term both these players will be hugely important for their sides as they will provide cover for tiring legs and will be aiming to finish the game off and get the victory. A roller coaster of a few years for Beale up against the code swapping Williams have put critics to bed with impressive performances thus far. One more impressive outing is all that stands between them and World Cup glory.
Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks have only lost once in 2015; too each other. The Wallabies earned their win with a solid and impressive outing in the Rugby Championship in Sydney, but the All Blacks responded a week later by wrapping up the Bledisloe Cup and provided their rivals with a thumping in Auckland. With a piece of silverware each this calendar year, the coveted Web-Ellis Cup is up for grabs, where the victor will rewrite the history books and become three-time World Champions.
2015 Rugby World Cup Final - Australia v New Zealand
1st November, 2am AEDT, live from Twickenham Stadium, London.