Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has released the starting line up for Australia against New Zealand’s All blacks who are bidding to become the first team to win consecutive World Cups, and a third.Wallabies coach Cheika has included out-of-form fullback Israel Folau. The rugby superstar has been playing injured for half of the tournament, having injured his ankle in Australia’s crucial pool game victory over England four weeks ago.That injury forced him to miss Australia’s quarter-final victory over Scotland,which ended his record of never having missed a Test through injury, and which rugby experts have said hampered his performance against Argetina.Israel Folau’s big-match experience may have convinced Wallabies coach Cheika to keep faith in the former NRL champion to deliver in the biggest match of his rugby union career. And thats the same view I hold that for Wallabies to prevail, we need experience and big game player and Folau, who has been the best Australian rugby player since 2013, is such a player.Although he has failed to score a try during the Rugby World Cup tournament coming to an end tomorrow night at Twickenham, Folau is a great asset to Wallabies despite his dip in form.
The only change to starting line up is Wallabies key prop Scott Sio who has made a tremendous recovery to overcome a painful elbow injury in time for the Rugby World Cup final.Sio’s inclusion is the only change made to the starting lineup from the semi-final victory over Argentina, and gives Michael Cheika a full-strength squad to choose from for the Twickenham showdown tomorrow. Good news for all Gold and Green color fans including myself, is that David Pocock who was suffering from calf, broken nose, veteran centre Matt Giteau who had a groin injury and as well as Scott Fardy who had a hip concern, have all been cleared to play the AllBlacks tomorrow at Twickenham. Australia starting line up include Stephen Moore (c), Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio. The reserves are James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Dean Mumm, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale and Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Defending champion New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has selected the same starting team and reserves for the Rugby World Cup final as the one that faced Springboks last weekend.Seven All Blacks players who started in the 2011 final win over France will run out at Twickenham against the Wallabies and include Prop Owen Franks, lock Sam Whitelock, loose forwards Jerome Kaino, captain Richie McCaw, and Kieran Read, and centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith.In the reserve there is Keven Mealamu, the starting hooker in 2011, along with fellow 2011 survivors Ben Franks and Sonny Bill Williams.In the last two matches between the two, All Blacks were humbled by Australia 27-19 in the Rugby Championship decider in Sydney in August but the following week, Allblacks smashed the Wallabies 41-13. New Zealand starting line up has Ben Smith, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Daniel Carter, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody and in the reserves there’s Victor Vito, Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.
The match kicks off at 3am AEDT for fans back in Aussie while fans in Africa and Europe including myself it will be great game of rugby on a Saturday evening. Those who follow me on twitter knows my supports for Wallabies since the tournament began has been unquestionable.Noise complaints aside, my friends in Sydney, Canberra, Auckland, Christchurch, Gold coast, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Jakarta, Tokyo and hometown of Melbourne have been emailing me saying they will have to stay up and ride the night through because the finals will be about getting Southern Hemisphere bragging rights for the next four years. All of them have given me an assignment to call them up as a plan B for them setting up their alarm clocks which will disrupt their sleep in the wee hours of the morning irrespective of where they’ll be.Big game experience in the either teams ranks will no doubt be the key to winning the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Twickenham stadium in England.Today, the Bronze medal and third place finish will be contested by both semi final losers Springboks of South Africa and Los Pumas of Argentina.