The Finals Review

New Zealand 34 Australia 17

The All Blacks confirmed their status as the best team on the planet by holding off a determined Wallabies in London, retaining their trophy and claiming their third title. Living up to their great hype, New Zealand were the most consistent side in the tournament, and over all the outstanding team of this generation.


Two great tries from Milner-Skudder and Ma’a Nonu handed the defending champions a 21-3 lead heading into halftime. Australia fought back though the excellent David Pocock crashing over and Tevita Kuridrani converted. After an extremely tense next period, a classic Dan Carter drop goal handed the All Blacks the momentum, and when substitute Barrett outpaced everyone to get to Ben Smith’s clearance kick, the party could begin as history was made.


The match is a fitting farewell to a number of retiring All Black players. Special mention must go out to Dan Carter for resisting the intense Australian assault- converting 19 points from his boot, and captain Richie McCaw, who’s been labeled “the greatest of all time” after yet another outstanding performance when it really mattered.

South Africa 24 Argentina 13

The Boks finished third with a positive 24-13 over the Pumas. JP Pietersen crossed the line and Handre Pollard impressed with the boot. South Africa looked comfortable leading 16 to nothing at the break. Sanchez finally put Argentina on the scoreboard after the interval, before Etzebeth put South Africa out of sight,  Argentina with a good consolation on the whistle.

 

The headline of the day was Habana’s shot at being the all time try scorer in World Cup rugby, but it was not to be as the legend missed the chances he was given, not his day after years of consistency from the winger. Argentina, depleted by injuries, was never able to get their attacking game going against a well-oiled defense. Back to the drawing board for South Africa, with many players set to retire, along with the future of Heyneke Meyer still yet to be confirmed.

 

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