New Zealand become first ever team to defend a Rugby World Cup title as they outclassed perennial archrivals Australia in Saturday evening’s final.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
New Zealand retained the Rugby World Cup title they won in 2011 with a 34-17 over perennial archrivals Australia at Twickenham Stadium in London on Saturday night. The tie had been expected to be a cracking affair after New Zealand edged out South Africa in the semi-finals last week while Australia made light work of Argentina.
New Zealand embarked on their usual intimidation tactics with their trademark Haka dance before the game as their Australian opponents watched. Despite all the show boating, the game started in a cagey manner as both teams exchanged penalties as they boasted arguably the two best kickers in the tournament; Bernard Foley of Australia and Dan Carter of New Zealand. However, the All Blacks drew first blood as Nehe-Milner Skudder went in at the corner after some good passing movements. Things got worse for the Wallabies as Mana Ma’a Nonu made it 21-3 in favor of the New Zealanders just after half time.
Australia was handed a lifeline when Ben Smith was yellow carded for tip-tackling. Australia almost immediately capitalized on their one man advantage as David Pocock went over the line for their first try and Adam Ashley Cooper released Tevita Kuridrani who got Australia’s second try to make the game much tighter at 21-17. However, the All Blacks fought back and Daniel Carter scored a spectacular drop goal to make it 24-17 and later converted another penalty to further increase the gap.
The final nail in Australia’s coffin was nailed in the final minutes after a kick by Ben Smith was utilized by the pacey Beauden Barrett who outran the Australia defense and scored the all-important try to end the game at 34-17.