Interesting facts on the Rugby World Cup final

2011-10-21 08:24

It’s the same teams contesting the Bronze final and Cup final as they did back in 1987, so will it be a case of history repeating this weekend?

This will be the 51st test match played between New Zealand and France. The All Blacks have won 37 games, France 12 and there has been one draw.

France are the last team to have beaten New Zealand at Eden Park, winning 23-20 in 1994. That match is also New Zealand’s only defeat at Eden Park in the past 25 years since Australia won there in September 1986.

France have won six of the 13 tests they have played at Eden Park, including two against the All Blacks. They have a 46% winning ratio at this ground, better than any other nation other than New Zealand.

The All Blacks have lost two Rugby World Cup knockout matches after leading at half-time, both against France.

Vincent Clerc is top try scorer in the tournament with six, chased by Israel Dagg on five and Jerome Kaino, Sonny Bill Williams and Richard Kahui on four.

Clerc is one of the three players to have played every minute of his team’s six RWC 2011 matches, along with Quade Cooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Kaino was subbed off in the final seconds of the All Blacks’ last match robbing him of that distinction.

Morgan Parra will be playing his fifth game at first five-eighth and his 86% goal-kicking success rate is the best of all the goal kickers on display this weekend. Dimitri Yachvili’s success rate is 71%, while Francois Trinh-Duc has been pinpoint with both of his drop-goal attempts during the play-offs.

Piri Weepu is kicking at 75%, and his third penalty goal last week against Australia saw him reach 100 test points. Aaron Cruden is sitting on 50% for his goal-kicking, having missed one penalty but landed one conversion. He is 100% with his drop-goal attempts after slotting one against Australia last weekend.

Expect plenty of big tackles in this game, with Thierry Dusautoir (81) and Julian Bonnaire (78) coming up against Richie McCaw (61) and Jerome Kaino (50).

The All Blacks should have it over France when it comes to line breaks with Ma’a Nonu (nine) and Richard Kahui (eight) sitting in the tournament top 10, and Sonny Bill Williams on the bench as the top line breaker with 11.

The All Blacks have racked up 39 tries in the 293 points they have scored in the tournament to date, and are well ahead of France who have scored just 15 tries and 152 points. However, the All Blacks will still fall short of their own tournament record number of 52 tries and 361 points they set at RWC 2003.

Craig Joubert, who refereed the New Zealand versus Australia semifinal, becomes only the second South African to officiate a RWC final following two-time final referee Andre Watson. The final will be his seventh match of RWC 2011, and he is the first official to take charge of six or more games at one RWC tournament.

Whoever wins the World Cup this Sunday will top the IRB World Rankings. New Zealand are currently first and will remain there with a win, but if France should win, they will move to the top and become the first northern hemisphere side to hold that position since England in 2004.

There is also the potential for New Zealand to drop as low as third if France win by more than 15 points, and either Australia or Wales win by the same margin in the Bronze final.

France last beat New Zealand 27-22 in Dunedin in 2009.

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