Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
This is the game we have been waiting for for nearly four years. Here it is. The 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
We have the two best teams at this tournament in the final. One of these teams will make history. Whoever wins will become the first team to win three Rugby World Cup titles. If New Zealand wins they will be the first team to win successive titles. There is so much at stake the wait has been unbearable!
New Zealand has been the class act. Slowish to get going they sprang to life with the thumping of France in the quarter final. The semi-final against South Africa was won by two points although New Zealand looked a deserving winner. They came into the tournament as the hot favourites to retain the title and have consistently been at the top of the World Rugby Rankings for the last five years. It will take a super special team to beat them.
Could Australia be that team? Yes, most certainly. The self belief that has built up in this team since Cheika took over as head coach has transformed them from a motley crew into a well motivated, skilful team. They also started quietly with wins over Fiji and Uruguay. But then they disposed of hosts England and pushed them out of the tournament. Next they defeated Wales in a bruising encounter and the belief grew. They were lucky to win against Scotland even though they were the better side. That was an off day. And finally they were most convincing in their semi final win against Argentina.
This is very close to call. I believe the All Blacks will just have the edge. Theirs will be a nervy performance first half but I expect them to settle in the second, apply the pressure and win the last twenty minutes. But it will be close!
Prediction: New Zealand by 4 points. Score 23-19
15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matthew Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 William Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Robert Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas,
3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (Capt.), 1 Scott Sio.
16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Gregory Holmes, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Benjamin McCalman, 21 Nicholas Phipps, 22 Matthew Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale.
Head Coach: Michael Chieka
15 Benjamin Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick,
3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joseph Moody.
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Charles Faumuina, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Sonny Bill Williams.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen