Australia and New Zealand will battle for Rugby World Cup |

Australia and New Zealand will battle for Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Final

Who: New Zealand vs. Australia

Where: London's Twickenham Stadium

Head to head: Played 154 times, NZ won 105, AUS 42, drawn 7

Where to watch: 10 a.m. Saturday, McKnights Irish Pub & Loft, 685 Marketplace Plaza, Steamboat Springs

— Defending world champion, the New Zealand All Blacks, will aim to become the first team in history to win back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles Saturday at London’s Twickenham Stadium when they take on the Australian Wallabies.

New Zealand edged out South Africa 20-18 in the first semifinal this past weekend, while Australia proved its pedigree by beating Argentina 29-15.

Both New Zealand and Australia will be playing in their fourth RWC final. New Zealand won in 1987, was runner-up to South Africa in 1995 and won again in 2011. Australia won in 1991 and 1999 (both on English soil) and was runner-up to England in 2003. Saturday’s winner will boast the best Rugby World Cup record with three titles.

This match pits the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 ranked nations against one other at the “Home of Rugby Union.” A better script could not have been written. Twickenham is sold out, 81,500 fans will fill the stands, every pub in west London will be full and a worldwide television audience, estimated at more than 220 million, will be on the edge of their seats.

This is one of the greatest sporting events, second only to the soccer World Cup final, and finally, Americans will get to enjoy this beautifully brutal global sport with the final being broadcast live on NBC at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

This match has a fairytale subplot to it as the All Blacks and Wallabies prepare to bid farewell to some of the game’s greats following the match.

For New Zealand, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Richie McCaw, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith will all retire from international rugby, while for Australia, the curtain comes down on semifinal hero Adam Ashley Cooper.

Julian Bristow is the coach of the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club and will be following the Rugby World Cup for Steamboat Today.

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