Resilient All-Blacks To Take Over Twickers
NZ v Australia
New Zealand didn’t look that impressive in their Pool games, struggling to overcome Argentina, and labouring to victories over Namibia, Tonga and Georgia.
Although, they showed their true form in the last eight, running in nine tries to demolish France. They were given a bruising examination by South Africa in the semi-finals and trailed at half-time, but imposed themselves in the second half and were deserving winners.
Australia came through a tough Pool with flying colours, battling past Fiji, thrashing Uruguay, dumping England out of the competition and holding off a spirited Welsh resurgence. They were made to work hard by Scotland in their quarter-final, sneaking through thanks to a controversial late penalty, but were more assured against Argentina, defending stoutly and taking their chances clinically to reach the final.
There were fears that New Zealand captain Richie McCaw might be cited after an apparent elbowing incident against South Africa, but television footage showed there was no foul play. McCaw is one of a number of All-Black stars who will be playing his last international match, the others being Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Keven Mealmu.
Australia is likely to be more or less at full strength for the final. Israel Folau came off with what looked like a recurrence of his ankle injury after an hour against Argentina, but is expected to be fit and will be preferred to Kurtley Beale. Centre Matt Giteau also came off against the Pumas, with a groin strain but has been able to train this week and lock Scott Sio is recovering well from an elbow problem.
It’s one of the oldest and most frequently-tested rivalries in rugby, dating back to 1903, but New Zealand have had the best of it over the last 112 years.
The All-Blacks have won 123 of their 178 matches against Australia and have only lost once in their last twelve meetings.
That defeat came in August, when the Wallabies won 27-19 in Sydney, their first victory in this fixture since 2011.
But a week later, normal service was resumed in Auckland, when New Zealand scored four second half tries to thrash Australia 41-13.
New Zealand blew France away with power, pace and skill in the quarter-final, but also have the ability to win ugly, as they did with a resilient, composed display against South Africa, and are not surprisingly strong favourites.
But these two sides know each other so well, and have such an intense rivalry, that I can’t see this being anything other than a tense, close affair, and with a six point start, Australia look a good bet at 10/11 in the Match Handicap market.
And don’t forget, if you have a bet in the first try scorer market, BoyleSports will give you your money back as a free bet if the first try of the game is not converted.