20 teams started the Rugby World Cup tournament 2015, all harbouring hopes of lifting the famous Webb Ellis trophy. Now, 34 days later, only two teams remain.
The two survivors – New Zealand and Australia, will be battling it out for Rugby World Cup honours this Saturday evening at the Twickenham Stadium in London.
Although they have never actually met in the grand final of a Rugby World Cup tournament, both teams will surely be very familiar with each other as they have crossed swords numerous times, including three World Cup semi-final meetings.
Whichever team wins will certainly create history of being the first-ever nation to win the Rugby World Cup three times. For the All Blacks too, there is the added bonus of becoming the first-ever side to retain the Webb Ellis trophy.
Let’s look at the strengths of both the Kiwis and the Aussies.
Why the All Blacks can win
All Blacks defensive line-out is too good
During the semi-final match-up against the Springboks, New Zealand stole four line-outs and they didn’t lose a single one of those. And South Africa simply could not cope with this. So I think that the Wallabies would likewise struggle against the All Blacks’ defensive line-out, too.
The All Blacks have a strong reserve squad to call on when the need arises. These include Sam Cane, Beauden Barrett and Sonny Bill Williams.
For example, it had been Cane and Barrett who had scored important tries against Argentina and South Africa, during important Rugby World Cup 2015 matches for the All Blacks. These may eventually lead to the All Blacks being a winner.
At the same time, the men in black know how to make full use of their interchange men compared to the Wallabies to shake up the entire game. And this gives the opposing team something to sweat buckets over, instead of simply swapping players who would slot nicely in with the existing game patterns.
This may also be something that the Wallabies could struggle about.
Why the Wallabies can win
The magic of Folau
Israel Folau, a Wallabies’ full-back and one of the key players on their squad, may be about to reach his top form in the tournament finale. Throughout the tournament, he has been having a bad time as injuries have prevented him from playing to his full capabilities.
But against Argentina, he showed some marked signs of improvement and this could mean that that he may be on fire against the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup Final.
History is on their side
In the past three Rugby World Cup match-ups between New Zealand and Australia, the Wallabies have won 2 to 1. So they may take as a sign that they could win the Rugby World Cup 2015, thus creating history.
But that said, it must be noted that in the 2011 Semi Final between Australia and New Zealand, the All Blacks had won. This was the year that the All Blacks had both hosted and won the tournament.
This is a Rugby World Cup Final that will definitely come down to the wire, with the two teams also being evenly-matched and physically located so close to each other too, in terms of geography and so they will probably know each other quite well.
Despite the trend though, that Rugby World Cup finals in the past have not been very high scoring due to the defensive nature of the teams that usually participate in it, I am predicting that the 2015 final will buck the trend. This is because matches between the All Blacks and the Wallabies have usually resulted in a combined total of more than 50 points scored.
The All Blacks will triumph
I have stated my reasons and looked at possible reasons why both sides can triumph in this closely-matched Rugby World Cup Final.
Based on the strengths and weaknesses of these two teams, I am going to go with the All Blacks to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy at Twickenham and create history – if I were to choose a side in the mammoth clash between these two world rugby superpowers.
Score Prediction: New Zealand 20-17 Wallabies