RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Sunday, 1 November 3:00am
This is just the second time in history, and the first since 1995, that the Rugby World Cup Final will be contested by two teams from the same hemisphere as both of these fierce rivals aim to become the first nation to win three Webb Eliis Cups.
After the hosts limply exited the competition in the Pool stage this is surely the final that the neutral fan wanted. It comes as a surprise that this is the first time New Zealand and Australia have met at this stage previously and it feels fitting the game is taking place at the Home of Rugby. History would back-up the odds compilers that the All Blacks are worthy favourites. In their 154 head-to-heads, New Zealand have won 105 matches and scored almost 1000 more points than their opponents.
Just like all previous World Cup winners these two come into the final on the back of a 100% record in the group stage. Australia had the tougher group but, as a reward for topping Pool A, they couldn’t have asked for a much easier route to the final than Scotland in the quarters and Argentina in the semis, though the former were agonisingly close to causing a shock.
New Zealand’s first real test of the tournament came in the semi-final as they went into half-time a player down and five points behind South Africa but a combination of Springbok choking and fierce attacking rugby got them back in the game. Australia’s 2015 record is fantastic. They’ve won nine of their 10 games with their only defeat coming in New Zealand and they won the, albeit shortened, Rugby Championship in 2015. Prior to that tournament some bookies were quoting 80-1 on a Wallabies’ Rugby Championship and World Cup double. Only one of their 2015 Internationals has had fewer than four tries and the last nine have featured at least one yellow card.
New Zealand’s form is, unsurprisingly, fantastic. They’ve won 15 of their last 16 matches with their only defeat coming in Sydney in August as Australia won the Rugby Championship but it’s worth noting that the World Champions bounced-back to win the Bledisloe Cup the following week with a thumping 43-17 victory. The All Blacks average winning margin in this World Cup is 29 and they’ve beaten Australia by at least eight points in five of their last eight head-to-heads. New Zealand also registered a comprehensive 20-6 win when these two met in the Semis in the last World Cup.
The average winning margin in the previous seven World Cups has been 8.4 points but that’s largely due to two thrashings of France. Australia destroyed them 35-12 in 1999 – the only past final to feature more than 38 points – while New Zealand beat them by 20 points in 1987. All of the other five matches were decided by single figures while extra-time was required famously in New Zealand’s loss to South Africa in 1995 and in Australia’s defeat to England in 2003.
With a tense final to be expected and considering Australia’s marked improvements under Michael Chieka this year we think that the Wallabies will get closer to the All Blacks than they have in recent years but we also believe New Zealand will prove too strong and become the first nation to retain the Rugby World Cup.
- No country has won three World Cups, both of these sides have won two
- No country has retained the Webb Ellis Cup
- Australia have won nine of their 10 matches this year
- New Zealand have won 15 of their last 16 matches
Recommendation: New Zealand Winning Margin Under 12.5 Points @ 2.64