The All Blacks overcame their bitter rivals Australia to reach the Rugby World Cup final, and in such dominant fashion. Piri Weepu took the responsibility of kicking the points, but pushed more wide than slotted. This, however, did not really matter all that much, as he still managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over with the penalties he did convert, thus maintaining the pressure over the Australians.

Aaron Cruden, showed experience beyond his playing career, internationally that is, dropping a goal in the first half from outside the twenty-two, after the New Zealand attack had come to a standstill. In fact Cruden’s all round performance should be commended, not because he did anything necessarily superb, but because he not only controlled the distribution to the backs with composure, but also ensured he made all his first-time tackles; an area the Australians were expecting to be weak. He had big boots to fill, as they say, and he did so admirably.

…the game was largely exemplified by forward-dominance…

The only try came from a typically flowing All Black move culminating in a slicing run from the exciting Israel Dagg, who also confidently gathered any kick throughout the game, and his well-timed offload to Ma’a Nonu, who finished in the corner. Apart from this normally oft-seen moment of attacking flair, the game was largely exemplified by forward-dominance on the part of the All Black’s pack. They battered and boshed their opposite numbers all about the park, causing disruption and turnovers on numerous occasions, led by their effervescent captain, Richie McCaw.

The game was tipped to be a battle between the experienced and much-respected McCaw, and his younger Australian counterpart, David Pocock, and it certainly lived up the billing. Although Pocock was venerable at times, McCaw just came out on top; the highlight coming when Pocock managed to steal New Zealand ball at the breakdown, only for McCaw to pinch it straight back in the subsequent ruck.

 …intense and exciting affair…

 The Aussies were well and truly beaten by an imperious All Black team in an intense and exciting affair, that was accentuated by the hugely vocal support of the Auckland crowd.

The New Zealand faithful may yet witness the long sought-after return of the William Webb-Ellis Trophy. 


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