New Zealand Report: Selwyn Manning joins Australia’s radio FiveAA breakfast team to deliver New Zealand Report, this week they dig into the form of Rugby World Cup finalists the All Blacks and the Wallabies – Recorded live on 28/10/15.
This has got to be the perfect outcome of the month-long Rugby World Cup tournament, with both the All Blacks and the Wallabies in the final.
Consider this… there have been three major World Cups in 2015. Crick, Netball and Rugby. Australia and New Zealand have been in all the finals. Maybe this is New Zealand’s time to shine 🙂
It’s a statement on how good southern hemisphere Rugby is that all four teams in the semi finals were from below the equator: Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Predictably the All Blacks V Spring Boks game was as they say, a real nail biter with the Spring Boks ahead at half time, and the All Blacks finishing the game with two tries, two conversions, and a drop goal to mount a two point 20-18 lead. The South Africans failed to score a try but booted their way into contention, capitalising on the All Blacks high penalty rate.
And that penalty rate is the biggest problem with this All Black team. No one from the New Zealand team has really explained why the All Blacks have been giving away so many penalty goal opportunities to their opponents. It was a concerning pattern in the pool games, and it nearly lost the All Blacks a shot at the final when the Spring Boks exploited this weakness when in All Blacks territory.
But the All Blacks are on form now, they are fast and probably the finest pack in the World Cup. And they are peaking at the right time. The All Blacks also have shown they do have the ability to shape the game-play and tactics to counter any opposition.
Australia, while having outplayed all opponents so far in the World Cup, showed a few signs of being battle-weary last weekend. But then again, the Wallabies fired up and delivered when they needed to against a passionate Argentina on Monday morning. And you guys have amazing depth.
Both the Wallabies and the All Blacks substitution-bench is arguably as good as the starting players and certainly better than most other opponents in this World Cup.
Now everyone is focussing on Sunday morning’s final.
The pundits this side of the ditch are predicting a fabulous game. It’s Australia and NZ’s opportunity to really show the northern hemisphere how this game should be played. No team in the world can play like our two countries. And both sides always turn it up a notch when that Trans-Tasman rivalry kicks in.
For the record, the NZHerald is ranking the top players as follows: (ref. NZ Herald)
1. Richie McCaw (All Blacks captain, Flanker)
2. Dan Carter (All Blacks first five)
3. David Pocock (Wallabies number 8) – The punters say your guy is unstoppable and will be key to creating a Wallabies win. The ABs will mark him totally.
4. Nigel Owens (the Referee from Wales). He is said to be the best ref in the game.
5. Bernard Foley ( Wallabies first five, solid goal kicker and a real revelation that is seriously concerning for the All Blacks camp)
6. Scott Sio (Wallabies prop. He’s a powerhouse and the All Blacks are watching carefully to see if he is match fit from injury)
7. Ben Smith (All Blacks fullback, this guy is world class under a high ball and in the kick-and-chase phase of the game)
8. Ma’a Nonu and Sunny Bill Williams (All Blacks second five players. These two world class players share the game with Nonu doing the damage in the first half and SBW coming in off the bench, injecting power into the centre-and-backline in the second half)
9. Matt Giteau (Wallabies second five, he has built huge respect on this side of the ditch especially through this World Cup tournament. The punters say he’s got the smarts to really turn the game)
10. Beaded Barrett – All Blacks utility, Barrett has intuition and superb handling skills in a fast passed game, injecting real energy into the phase play.
And then there’s the rivalry. Over here, Kiwis love to see our Aussie counterparts having a go. The NZ Herald has reported how the Aussie tabloid The Daily Telegraph headlined its front page calling the All Black Captain Richie McCaw, “The Richety Grub!” The Daily Telegraph said, this guy has been bugging Australia for years! (ref. NZ Herald )
Over here this man is God, even the Prime Minister wants him on his National Party team and keeps offering him Knighthoods. To date, McCaw says no to both. It’s going to be a great game!