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New Zealand and Australia brave enough to produce most entertaining final ever seen

30 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
New Zealand and Australia brave enough to produce most entertaining final ever seen

World Cup finalists can often be shackled by the occasion - but Wallabies and All Blacks have too much firepower to freeze in pursuit of history

Given the enormity of the occasion with the biggest prize in rugby union at stake, it is perhaps not surprising that World Cup finals often disappoint as a sporting spectacle.

After all, in the seven World Cup finals to have gone before Saturday’s showpiece, just 11 tries have been scored. Two have even been try-less.

Thank goodness, then, that this year’s finale will throw together two teams who are by some distance the best in the world and not afraid to make the most of their wealth of attacking talent.

Five of the previous seven finals have been decided by less than 10 points, but it is not just the fine margins of top-level sport that have made those games so tight.

The opportunity to write yourself into history can often cause a team to retreat into their shell, preferring to stick and hope that the opposition make a mistake rather than twist and gamble on creating a match-winning moment.

It is no coincidence that the only two sides to have comfortably won a World Cup final are New Zealand and Australia – who both beat France 29-9 and 35-12 in 1987 and 1999 respectively.

The very idea of playing conservative and cautious rugby is certainly anathema to the current crops of All Blacks and Wallabies – so it is with good reason that Saturday’s match-up is expected to end an unforgettable tournament on a high.

The largest ever tally for tries in a World Cup final is four, registered in the first tournament in 1987 – with the 2015 finalists 9/2 to break that record by scoring five between them.

Julian Savea has the top try scorer award wrapped up having already notched eight and is 13/8 to score at any time and go beyond Jonah Lomu and Bryan Habana for most tries scored in a single tournament.

The same two players also currently share the title for most World Cup tries in history on 15, with Wallaby winger Drew Mitchell 12/1 to score the two or more required to claim the record for himself.

Australia have certainly shown the most desire to throw the ball wide, with 10 of their last 12 tries being scored by backs.

Adam Ashley-Cooper already has four tries to his name in the knock-out stages and is 10/1 to score first in the final.

Whichever of the two-time world champions – a record they both share with South Africa – comes out on top will officially be the most successful team in history, with New Zealand also chasing the added honour of becoming the first country to ever retain their title.

The All Blacks have lost just three games out of 53 since lifting the trophy in 2011 and another World Cup win would surely confirm them as not only the greatest rugby team to ever play the game but one of the finest sides in all of sporting history.

Yet Australia will take great confidence form the fact that they inflicted one of those three defeats a few weeks before the tournament began to claim the Rugby Championship title.

The fact that they were consequently hammered 41-13 in Auckland one week later in their final warm-up match will not have dampened their optimism.

Michael Cheika’s curious decision to omit seven players from his line-up – including key figures David Pocock and Matt Giteau as well as the half-back pairing that will start at Twickenham – now appears a masterstroke in terms of preserving that mental edge.

Two of the seven previous finals have gone to extra time and Saturday’s game is 20/1 to do the same following a draw after 80 minutes.

With so little to choose between the sides, it is likely to be close.

For the first time in the history of the tournament, the 2015 final looks set to provide both gripping drama and captivating entertainment.

New Zealand v Australia match betting

READ: Who takes gold, silver and bronze in our all-time Rugby World Cup final moments?

READ: How Southern Hemisphere superpowers have rest of the world in the palm of their hand

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