CLASH OF THE TITANS. WILL THE ALL BLACKS PREVAIL?

19 Oct

Rugby fans worldwide are gearing up for a scintillating World Cup final where the All Blacks take on the French at Eden Park in New Zealand, on Sunday. Bets are being placed and celebration parties are being arranged, all in anticipation of a Kiwis win. Nonetheless, why are fans worldwide so confident that the All Blacks will win the 2011 Rugby World Cup? I believe that there are numerous contributing factors to the conviction of a New Zealand win.

Home ground advantage has always been an influential factor in rugby and other international sports like soccer. It is important to note that New Zealand have more than home ground advantage counting in their favour. They can also count on history as a motivating factor. In the 1987 World Cup Final, the All Blacks won France at Eden Park.  This was the last time the New Zealand rugby team clenched the coveted Webb Ellis Cup. Could Sunday be a repeat of history, 24 years later? According to Gavin Rich (from Super Sport), four years ago the Kiwis went to the quarterfinals against the French having beaten them 42-11. He also points out in his report that earlier that year the Kiwis beat the French 62-10 but lost 20-18 at the moment it mattered. Will the Kiwis make it count this time around? It most likely could be… At the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the Springboks gave England a beating during the group stages and when these teams met in the final, the Springboks prevailed. Similarly, there might be a repetition of history in this World Cup. New Zealand beat France in the group stages… We can easily connect the dots.

FRANCE

I have heard mixed reviews regarding the performance of France, in this World Cup. Some believe that the current French rugby team exhibited a good defensive performance against Whales, in their semi-final this past weekend. Others on the other hand believe that current French team is arguably the worst in history.

The French Flair has made them favourites amongst rugby fans across the world. Ian Moriarty in his article “The founding father of French flair” states that the French flair in their game of rugby dates way back to the aristocrats of Racing Club and Stade Francias in the 19th century. This flair which the French are synonymous for has been seemingly missing in their World Cup 2011 performances. It could be argued that it is too late to rediscover this essential game characteristic.  France has also been troubled with internal difficulties and low morale which could count against them, come game day. The French forward pack might be strong but they are no match for the All Blacks backline who are more accurate and direct.

KIWIS WIN…

New Zealand has not only been exceptionally disciplined and focused in their last few games but their choice of effective rugby instead of attractive rugby has counted in their favour. In my opinion this will separate them from the French. The strength and accuracy of the All Blacks backline, as aforementioned, is a formidable force. The experience of Richie McCaw and Kieran Read with the assistance of their exciting young stars will prove to be too much for the French. The Kiwis can be expected to be mentally prepared for their clash against the French. Therefore Sunday you are guaranteed an entertaining, tough and exhilarating final.

So my money is on the Kiwis, are yours?

References:

http://www.supersport.com/rugby/rugby-world  cup/news/111018/New_Zealand_applying_the_handbrakes

http://www.espnscrum.com/france/rugby/story/115784.html

Pictures courtesy of:

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT3WlqdhjCmtFpJPA0oFV6JZYOPZPb9ucL5fcGTJMWiCxS_1NJz_g

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS_VR2VEyibd1cFBGtfBJ1xH8KdRrxxZAH8vUULE6eTM33Xhj4j

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