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New Zealand Vs. Australia
2015 Rugby World Cup, 1 November, 2015
|New Zealand 34 defeated Australia 17|
|Referee: N Owens|
|Touch judges: J Garces & W Barnes|
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The All Blacks have defended their World Cup win of four years ago, becoming the first team to retain the trophy.
It was on the back of a dominant first half performance, with disciplined play and dominance in the lineout.
Dan Carter was outstanding, marshalling his team around the field, as he claimed man of the match honours.
The Wallabies made a late rally in the second half after Ben Smith was yellow-carded, and got to within four points.
But the All Blacks showed their class, pulling away with a Carter drop goal and then a try in the final few minutes.
New Zealand world champions once again.
New Zealand 34
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Trans-Tasman foes the Wallabies and All Blacks meet in a Rugby World Cup final for the very first time. Who will win the William Webb Ellis trophy for a record third occasion? Join The Roar from 2:30am (AEDT) for all the action from Twickenham.
And then there were two. There is one game left in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the final, where the 2011 and 1987 winners meet the 1991 and 1999 winners.
New Zealand against Australia, there is a nice symmetry with those two Bledisloe rivals. They have been playing against each other for over 100 years and this will be one of their most anticipated clashes yet.
The All Blacks are the favourites, as they defend their title from 2011, and have lost just four games in the past four years. It’s an amazing record.
They have dominated against the Wallabies in recent times, the loss in Sydney this year the only defeat to the men in gold since Hong Kong 48 months ago.
New Zealand has a champion side – one many are calling the best ever. They will be determined to send those retiring from the international scene – such as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Keven Mealamu – out as winners.
Facing them is a reborn Australian team. A year ago they were in disarray, with a coach sacked, a split team and terrible results. Michael Cheika has come in and changed all that. He has improved the scrum, enticed several players back in, and secured some great wins.
A shortened version of the Rugby Championship was claimed, with the victory over New Zealand at ANZ Stadium playing a large part, but the Bledisloe Cup was not won after the All Blacks smashed the Wallabies in the return fixture at Eden Park.
Still, Cheika’s charges have continued to grow and develop at this World Cup. They topped the ‘Group of Death’, were lucky to get past Scotland, and had a thorough examination against Argentina.
The All Blacks, in comparison, had a scare in their tournament opener against the Pumas, before breezing through their next three games. They were sensational in thrashing France and then ground out a win over South Africa. Their path to the final has not been as taxing.
The Wallabies have been given a boost with the return of prop Scott Sio. The Australian scrum wobbled against Argentina and Sio’s inclusion should help steady the ship. James Slipper drops back to the bench and Toby Smith is out of the 23-man squad.
The All Blacks remain the same, with Joe Moody starting in the front row and Wyatt Crockett ruled out.
These two teams play each other regularly, know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and what makes them tick.
The two best teams in the tournament and two nations who are often linked in sporting arenas. It all makes for a fascinating final,
Wallabies or All Blacks? Join The Roar from 2:30am (AEDT) for the Rugby World Cup final to find out.
Follow John Davidson on Twitter @johnnyddavidson