Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup
Michael Cheika: Has transformed Wallabies. Picture: AFP/Getty

Allan Massie: New Zealand self-belief gives them edge

New Zealand aim to retain the Rugby World Cup, and this is something no holder has yet managed to do. Indeed only twice before – 2003 (Australia) and 2007 (England) – has the winner of the previous tournament reached the final of the next one. Nevertheless, the All Blacks are probably just favourites to pull it off.

Rugby union
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw wins  line-out ball from Eben Etzebeth of South Africa during the World Cup semi final at Twickenham. Picture: Getty

Simon Taylor: All Black-Springbok clash was purist’s classic

As semi-final weekends go, that was a pretty good one. Everyone has their opinion on what makes a classic, but I thought Saturday’s match between New Zealand and South Africa, despite the relative lack of tries and linebreaks, was one of the most gripping of the World Cup. There is drama in seeing some of the best individuals to ever play the game hammering away at each other from minute one, big-game players putting in fearless performances in what could be their last-ever appearance for their respective countries.

Rugby union
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