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Carter v Foley, battle of the 10's!

2015-10-29 07:07
Bernard Foley (Gallo)

London - Dezzy against the Iceman. Dan Carter v Bernard Foley. Two playmaking number 10s at the opposite spectrum of their careers hoping to orchestrate a World Cup triumph for New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Considered to the best flyhalf in the world and a superstar of the game over the last decade, Carter has long been the All Blacks' conductor and master puppeteer.

Able to change and control a game with his ability to feel and see space, Carter in his pomp could punch holes in any defence with his running game -- just ask the 2005 British and Irish Lions who he tore to shreds.

His astute tactical kicking has bamboozled countless sides and his goal kicking pedigree means he will retire as the highest points scorer in test match rugby.

Now rapidly approaching the end of a glittering All Blacks career that began in 2003, the 33-year-old will make his 112th and last test appearance in the fabled black shirt on Saturday having missed out four years ago when injury ended his tournament in the pool stage.

After a patchy season following a sabbatical he took to be mentally and physically in top shape for one final World Cup hurrah, Carter has shown only glimpses of his former self.

But ominously for Australia, his second-half performance in the come from behind semi-final win over South Africa was his best of the tournament.

"I don't know if he's in the best form of his life, but he's in the form we need him to be in right now," New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster said after the game.

"For someone who has gone through what he has the last two or three years, and to climb back in and control the team the way he has, is outstanding."

To win a first World Cup since 1999, Australia will need another big game from Foley, who entered the tournament vying with Quade Cooper for the number 10 jersey but who has made it his own with a succession of stellar performances.

The Wallabies have long been searching for a standoff to rival the calibre of a Michael Lynagh or Stephen Larkham and may have found it in Foley, a former Sevens player who compared to Carter is an international novice having made his international debut in 2013.

His 28-point haul against England in the pool stage which hustled the hosts out of the competition included two well-taken tries, the second of which highlighted the quality of any great flyhalf.

Receiving the ball in midfield, Foley in a flash changed the point of attack and combined with Kurtley Beale to leave England grasping at shadows.

Foley also enjoys a reputation as a clutch kicker -- hence the Iceman moniker he lived up to in slotting the winning penalty goal to secure a maiden Super Rugby title for the New South Wales Waratahs last year.

His cool and poise were evident again when, hindered by a far from easy angle, he slotted a last-gasp penalty to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat in an epic quarter-final against Scotland.

Foley has outscored Carter 75 points to 63 at this tournament though should it come down to one late kick at goal to decide the destiny of the Webb Ellis Cup, each of them would back themselves to nail it.

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