Australia will face reigning champions New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final

It will be the fourth installment in a fierce World Cup rivalry.

REIGNING WORLD CHAMPIONS New Zealand will face Australia in the Rugby World Cup final next Saturday after the Wallabies 15 – 29 semi-final win over Argentina in Twickenham today.

Australia New Zealand Rugby Championship Rick Rycroft Rick Rycroft

The 31 October meeting will be the fourth, but undoubtedly the biggest, of the World Cup clashes between the near neighbours as it will be the first match that is not a semi-final.

The Wallabies were victorious in the 1991 and 2003 encounters, but were unable to thwart the All Blacks in Auckland four years ago.

Rugby Union - World Cup 2003 - Semi Final - New Zealand v Australia EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

Australia’s semi-final success means that the William Webb Ellis Cup will once again be won by the team who goes unbeaten through the tournament as the teams from both sides of the Tasman have recorded 100% records over the past five weeks.

That said, it has been far from plain sailing. Australia had to battle their way through a ‘Pool of Death’ including the teak tough Wales and hosts England before riding their luck against an inspired Scotland in last weekend’s quarter-final.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2011 - Semi Final - Australia v New Zealand - Eden Park PA Archive / Press Association Images PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Even before yesterday’s nervy semi-final win over South Africa, reigning champions New Zealand had to work hard to justify their billing as tournament favourites. Argentina gave a warning of the sharpness of their claws by giving Steve Hansen’s boys a real scare on the opening weekend. But Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Smith inspired the victory over the All Blacks’ Rugby Championship rivals.

Now though, they must take on the closest rival of them all: the green and gold team who know and relish the chance to beat them more than any other nation in the world.

While New Zealand have lost just one of the 11 meetings between the teams since the last World Cup, there have been draws in 2012 and 2014. And that sole loss came in timely fashion for the Wallabies — a 27 – 19 victory in Sydney just over two months ago.

All Blacks pass brutal Springboks test to secure World Cup final spot


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