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All Blacks 'favourites' to win final

2015-10-26 08:36
Michael Cheika (Gallo)

London - With no time to waste, the mind games are already in full swing ahead of next week's Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand.

No sooner had the Wallabies charged into the final with four unanswered tries in Sunday's 29-15 semi-final win over Argentina, than they were talking down their chances.

Few teams ever want the extra pressure of going into a final as favourites and Australia coach Michael Cheika wasted no time telling reporters why the odds were with the All Blacks.

"They're obviously the world's number one, aren't they, and they're there for a reason," he said.

"I think we've only beaten them once out of the last 10 (matches) so I think they'll be feeling pretty good that they've got our measure.

"It's going to be up to us to do something special, do something extra to just to be competitive."

Cheika said the All Blacks would also have a physical advantage over his team because they had enjoyed a much smoother path to the final.

While the Wallabies had to battle hard to win their pool after being drawn with England and Wales, then won a heart-stopping quarter-final with Scotland, the All Blacks cruised through their group and romped to a record victory over France in the quarters.

New Zealand did survive an epic battle with South Africa in the semis but Cheika said his players would have to let the occasion lift them for one more effort.

"New Zealand have had a very different path to us to here and obviously they'll be feeling a little bit differently in their preparation," Cheika said.

"But it's a World Cup final and the adrenalin's going to be pumping so I think anyone who's a little bit sore is going to forget all about soreness when that whistle blows."

Despite New Zealand's superior head to head record, Australia beat the All Blacks as recently as August to win this year's Rugby Championship.

They also drew with them last year and again in 2012 but Cheika said his team still faced a huge challenge to beat the defending champions.

"Every game at this level is so hard and you've got a team like New Zealand who have many threats," Cheika said.

"They're a very well drilled side, they have an excellent coach, they're very well organised so they know what they're doing all the time on the field from all situations, whether it's kicking or running or whatever.

"I'd be lying if I said we didn't believe in ourselves to get there and do our absolute best. I don't want to look back at things, if I start looking back at that one win I might have to look back at the other nine or so losses."

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