New Zealand Wins! Run The Cutter – #RWC2015 Weekend 7



What’s the difference between fourth and first? Well it’s four years and 16 points as Saturday evening proved with a virtuoso Daniel Carter performance leading the All Blacks to a 34-17 triumph over the Wallabies to hand New Zealand a third Rugby World Cup title. The fly half played a pivotal role in the 2015 decider after he missed out on New Zealand’s 2011 triumph when fourth-string number ten Stephen Donald struck a crucial penalty against France which ultimately saw the All Blacks win 8-7. Four years later and virtually injury-free, bar a knee niggle picked up against France in the quarter final, Carter stuck over a drop goal to edge New Zealand seven points in front after Australia had come storming back into the contest when Ben Smith was sin-binned. The comeback was short-lived and Beauden Barrett, potentially the number ten for New Zealand in Japan 2019, crossed late to seal the win. On the other side of London the day prior South Africa won a bronze medal beating Argentina 24-13.





Throughout the pool stages in the World Cup in England, and Wales, our wrap touched on each team per their place on the pool ladder. In the knockout phase we went match by match in review. Here is how we saw games 47 and 48 of the tournament.


South Africa v Argentina – Olympic Stadium

Argentina had a chance to cap off a strong tournament with an upset win but in the end ill-discipline cost them conceding 15 penalties despite dominating possession and territory as South Africa ran out 11-point winners in the House that Mo Built. Springbok Francois Louw drew plenty of turnovers in a game when Handre Pollard’s boot and general kicking game of South Africa set the platform for them to ease to a win. Newcastle Falcons prop Juan Orlandi brought some respectability with a late try but South Africa was always in control after future Brumbies halfback Tomas Cubelli was sin-binned for obstruction. The Boks scored ten points in his absence and an inexperienced Argentinian side couldn’t drag themselves back into it.


Of the winners

Heyneke Meyer was reported to have been given a four-year contract extension in August but there are many within South African that feel the 48 year-old should not only be replaced but be replaced by a foreign coach. Given no South African side has set the Super Rugby competition on fire in recent years over a consistent period of time it’s not an unreasonable option. A constant problem in South African rugby, at all levels, is equality and that cause was set back in this tournament when essentially in a meaningless game Meyer elected not to play halfback Rudy Paige, a player of colour whose selection in the squad alone was the subject of conjecture, until three minutes before full-time. Surely for future reference you give anyone on the fringe more of a run in such a game. It’s a free game to give players experience. Speaking of experience Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield all farewelled the game at the top level with the win.


What next for the beaten?

By virtue of injury Argentina dug into their depth for the 47th game of the tournament and whilst they were comfortably beaten with their try coming late in the game Daniel Hourcade will have learnt a lot. For example his starting front row whilst combining for over 50 caps rarely get a chance to play at length against the Boks and this will put them in a strong position for next year’s Rugby Championship.


New Zealand v Australia – Twickenham

Let’s be honest we (the All Blacks – yep going hard on the jingoism) were never going to be beaten in this game, we had the best player on the planet this year on our team and Jerome Kaino is actually a viking as Lorde, Brooke Fraser, Jon Toogood and friends showed us. Aside from the stutters during the first half which included a few handling errors, some kicks that failed to find touch and Smith’s sanction Steve Hansen’s team had the game in hand, especially after nabbing a try just before the break when the Wallabies had shown resolute defence in the face of overwhelming possession to the All Blacks. That said when the Wallabies did get the ball they were ineffective. By half time New Zealand’s 70-odd runs with the ball had yielded over 40 which passed the gain line but Australia’s comparison rate was far less at 30 possessions but only eight of those were positive gains. When in attack Australia had a targeted plan with Carter ending up topping the tackle count for New Zealand making 12 tackles but aside from the tries in the yellow card period struggled for attracting traction. Australia was undoubtedly hindered by losing the experience of Matt Giteau and Kane Douglas to concussion and a knee injury, respectively, but Kurtley Beale (Giteau’s replacement) was key in Australia’s mini-revival so you could say those replacements were neutral, and possibly better.


Of the winners

Coach Hansen hasn’t confirmed he will stay on to the next World Cup so the identity of the next head coach, player retirements and rugby in Brazil could will be the three determining factors for the All Blacks in the next year. On the coaching front Ian Foster looks a logical choice if Hansen steps away after the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand and the former Chiefs mentor would be a sensible option to carry on the systems put in place by Graham Henry after the 2007 tournament exit which were carried on by Hansen post the 2011 triumph. In the playing ranks with McCaw, Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Kevin Mealamu, and Tony Woodcock all having played their final test it is a huge void to fill. Only the man from Hakataramea Valley in North Otago – Richard Hugh McCaw – hasn’t made clear his playing future officially but an educated guess assumes he makes an announcement by the end of December if not earlier that he is retiring. Carter, Smith and Nonu will continue playing overseas. Second half substitute in the final Sonny Bill Williams and final water boy Liam Messam are amongst the key 15 a side players who have expressed an interest in playing Sevens in the Olympics next year hence a large chunk of the 32 players who were at the tournament won’t be around next year let alone 2019. Fly half Lima Sopoaga, who couldn’t get into the tournament squad for the All Blacks despite having helped guide the side to a win in South Africa this year, will be in line for a spot next year as will centre Ryan Crotty with forwards like James Parsons and Nepo Laulala likely to get a run also in 2016 with an eye to the Lions tour depth. Sam Cane, Luke Romano, Waisake Naholo are amongst the names in the squad from the World Cup who will feature a lot more next year.



What next for the beaten?

I’m not of the opinion like the New Zealand Herald’s Chris Rattue that ‘every other country is hopeless’ (my paraphrasing) and Australia will have plenty to look forward to with hope for not only Japan in four years’ time but next year’s Bledisloe Cup. Skipper Stephen Moore won’t be around for the next World Cup and experienced hookers will be an issue for Australia as will depth in key backline spots. Fly half and halfback back-ups will be an issue in the coming years and whilst the All Blacks will lose key players to the Sevens circuit Australia’s test team availability may be dictated to by foreign clubs. With overseas-based Wallabies who are eligible to play for Australia under the ‘Giteau clause’ the issue might not be the players themselves but around their release clauses and costs the clubs may impose on them. Remember some Spring Tour tests aren’t played in the specified international game period so this could present an issue for Cheika this time next year given the ARU’s financial situation. How Australia manages this policy with the tyranny of distance and the above factors will be interesting. Conceivably four overseas-based players (Will Genia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, and Drew Mitchell) could start Australia’s first test in 2016.


This first appeared on the blog where you can see our look at earlier in the tournament which includes some recruitment advice for Super Rugby clubs.

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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