Forbes Platypi coach Heamani Lavaka is putting his money on the Wallabies for tomorrow morning’s Rugby World Cup decider and, along with his counterparts across the Blowes Clothing Cup competition, believes “it will be one of the greatest finals we’ve ever seen”.
In the words of Orange Emus Blowes Clothing Cup title-winning coach Graydon Staniforth, “it would be un-Australian to tip against the Wallabies” in the final match of the Rugby World Cup.
It’s no surprise then, that the men in charge across the Blowes Clothing Cup are all predicting a Wallabies victory over the all-conquering All Blacks - except for Orange City coach Steve Hamson that is.
Where Hamson tipped New Zealand, Staniforth, Parkes coach Paul Moody, Mudgee mentor Neil McDonald, Cowra coach Dave Oliver, Dubbo ‘Roos skipper Shaun McHugh, Narromine coach Greg Wynn, CSU Bathurst coach James McLaren, Bathurst Bulldogs vice-president Brian Roberson and Forbes captain-coach Heamani Lavaka all tipped the Wallabies leading into the clash.
One thing was definitely unanimous among the 10 - all ten were in agreeance this, the first Australia-New Zealand Rugby World Cup final, has the potential to be the greatest spectacle the competition has produced since its inception in 1987. - Matt Findlay
HEAMANI LAVAKA (Forbes Platypi)
WHY: With Scott Sio coming back in, I’d put my money on Australia. The scrum was the problem last game, and he will fix that. I heard Michael Cheika on the radio say Australia had prepared very well. Also, New Zealand have never won a World Cup outside New Zealand. But it’s Richie McCaw and Dan Carter’s last World Cup, so they will be playing for them. I think it will be one of the greatest finals we’ve seen.
GRAYDON STANIFORTH (Orange Emus):
WHY: I can’t tip against Australia, that would be un-Australian. Australia can’t chase the game, we have to start well and stay in front or be very close all the way. Hopefully we have some reserves left, the All Blacks will finish strongly. I’d also prefer Kurtley Beale if Israel Falou’s isn’t 100 per cent confident in his ankle.
Our defence and constant pressure at the breakdown, along with a solid set piece will see us prevail by one.
STEVE HAMSON (Orange City Lions)
TIP: All Blacks
WHY: If you compare player for player through the backs and forwards ... across the board I think New Zealand are a bit better. But on the day, you just never know what could happen.
PAUL MOODY (Parkes Boars)
TIP : Wallabies
WHY: The All Blacks had the easy road to the finals. The Wallabies are more match hardened with better defence, and the All Blacks expansive play will be a good target for Pocock and Hooper to steal ball.
NEIL McDONALD (Mudgee Wombats)
WHY: I’ve got to go with my heart. They’re a more youthful side and more importantly, they have more momentum heading into the final.
DAVE OLIVER (Cowra Eagles)
WHY: You’ve got the weight of 4.471 million Kiwis on 22 shoulders, against a bunch of guys who look like they’re just getting better and better at playing rugby. In a pressure cooker situation, I know which side of the ledger I’d rather be on.
SHAUN McHUGH (Dubbo Kangaroos)
WHY: Defensively we’ve been very strong, the games against Wales and even Argentina were testament to that. I think our centre pairing defensively can stand up to the All Blacks’ attacking flair through there, and that’s where it will be won and lost.
GREG WYNN (Narromine Gorillas)
WHY: It’ll be difficult, I think we’ll need to be at our very best and the All Blacks might have to have an off day. They’re an amazing team, but with David Pocock in the form he’s in, and Michael Hooper as well, we’re at least half a hope.
JAMES McLAREN (CSU Bathurst)
WHY: It will be a close match that I hope sees the pressure of Australia’s defence make up for their shortcomings at the set piece. They are playing an expansive game in attack which is nicer to watch than the New Zealand kicking game. The All Blacks have strength in depth though and are favourites but it has been a long tournament, and pressure can do funny things.
BRIAN ROBERSON (Bathurst Bulldogs)
WHY: I think Australia have had the harder build-up this World Cup and the better preparation. It’s a neutral ground at Twickenham where Australia haven’t lost for some time so that will give them a mental edge.