Rugby World Cup Final predictions

(Former All Blacks captain and member of winning 1987 Rugby World Cup team)
First thing to say – we have the best two teams in the final. The All Blacks and Australia have played attacking rugby throughout and defensively have been very good.
I rate them, with Argentina and Japan, my four top teams of the Rugby World Cup who want to play an attractive style of rugby. 
Can Australia beat New Zealand tomorrow? They were the best team in the pool phase. Hooper and Pocock have shown the world how to play, especially in the breakdown, and they clearly have enormous confidence. 
As we said in the very first blog, this was always going to be a World Cup of attrition which would test players mentally and physically like never before. I think if Australia have anything against them, it is the fatigue factor. They have played some great games, but there has been a toll on their players.
Psychologically, I think there will be two things which will drive on the All Blacks and could make the difference.
They want to be the first team in history to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups. And there are some massive players for whom this will be their last Rugby World Cup: Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Ma Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Conrad Smith for example.
They will want to go out as winners. I think they will.
Prediction: All Blacks, but not by many points
(Manager of 1995 Rugby World Cup winning Springboks team)
Australia have had a very good World Cup. They came from a difficult pool where they had tough matches against England and Wales. Then a close match against Scotland in the quarter-finals and a bruising game in the semi-finals against Argentina, who played so well.  They will have tremendous confidence, but how much have those games taken out of them?
New Zealand have had a much easier run. They look like a winning team. They have coolness under pressure and you would be a bold man to say Australia could beat them. I think the All Blacks will have the edge.
One thing I will say. The pool games, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals have been full of open attacking rugby and I am sure we will have a fantastic final.
Prediction: All Blacks to win by a small margin
(Former Scotland and British & Irish Lions full-back)
Australia play great rugby and score amazing tries. I hope the weather holds up, and if it does I think we’ve got a fantastic game of rugby on our hands. My feeling is that if Australia can somehow get a couple of tries it will force New Zealand into playing the game that comes naturally to them and that is spinning the ball wide. I think there’s always a danger that New Zealand will close up a little and not believe how good they are.
Australia won in Brisbane, New Zealand won in Auckland, here we have a neutral venue and I think we’re going to have an incredible match, if it’s anything like the quarters and semis have been, we’re in for a treat.
Prediction: Too close to call, can’t pick a winner.
(International player, former captain of Italy)
I think the best two teams are in the final. New Zealand really played their best rugby in the quarter and semi final with two incredible performances. Against France they showed how the can play ball in hand and they showed amazing skills, and against South Africa they won a very attritional game where one little error could cost the game, they were so accurate in both defence and attack.
Australia didn’t play that well in the knockout stages but at some points they showed they are one of the best teams in the world. I think what they need to get a result tomorrow is improve their ability to play at their maximum for 80 minutes, as well as cutting errors down to a minimum percentage.
Prediction: New Zealand by 15 points!

Email Sign up

Email Sign-up

Sign up for all things Laureus

Get regular updates throughout the year