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Hailed already by some as all-time greats, New Zealand will be venerated in rugby folklore if they become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups by beating Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
The old aersaries, both twice winners, meet in the denouement of the global showpiece for the first time since the tournamentand’s inception in 1987 having previously only met in three semifinals. The All Blacks swept aside the Wallabies four years ago on the way to ending their 24-year wait for a second triumph and Steve Hansenand’s side have unquestionably been the dominant force since. New Zealand have suffered only three defeats in 53 games spanning the four years after their 2011 triumph and Saturdayand’s trans-Tasman battle will signify a changing of the guard for the men in black. The likes of flyhalf supreme Dan Carter and centres Maand’a Nonu and Conrad Smith head to pastures new in French club rugby after long and distinguished international careers, with talisman and captain Richie McCaw also highly likely to call time after extending his world record to 148 caps.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN