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One Last Push for Glory
The 30-men to walk out at the World Cup Final
Posted Oct 21, 2011 by Chris White
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After weeks of preparation and controversies, the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final has now arrived and the France and New Zealand teams to walk out at Eden Park on Sunday have been announced, with 30-men giving their all one last time to try and become the World Champions.
France coach Marc Lievremont, who criticised his players this week for being “selfish” after going out to celebrate their victory against Wales, has named an unchanged team for the final, meaning that their four injury doubts are all fit to take their place against the All Blacks.
Hooker William Servat, number eight Imanol Harinordoquy and the half back duo of Morgan Parra and Dimitri Yachvili were all doubtful for the Final with injuries, only participating in light training during the week, while flanker Julien Bonnaire missed training all together, but all five have been declared fir to play in a major boost to Les Bleus.
Lievremont said in his squad announcement that “Every time we play New Zealand it’s always the same – they are the favourites. But I believe in our team and we can win. If we have to win it the same way we did against Wales, I will accept that with great pleasure.
“A lot of people have memories of 1999,” – where the French beat New Zealand in the semi final only to lose to Australia in the final – “but we must be prepared to win this match.”
New Zealand have also named an unchanged team for the final, meaning Piri Weepu continues at scrum half and Aaron Cruden alongside him at fly half. Coach Graham Henry said that picking his starting line up was “an easy decision” after their performance in the semi final but isn’t underestimating their opponents.
“The French forward pack is as good as we’ve played in the competition. Their loose backs are outstanding and they have backs who can bite you,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
New Zealand team to play France in the World Cup Final: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu; 1 Tony Woodcock, 2 Keven Mealamu, 3 Owen Franks, 4 Sam Whitelock, 5 Brad Thorn, 6 Jerome Kaino, 7 Richie McCaw (C), 8 Kieran Read.
Replacements: Andrew Hore, Ben Franks, Ali Williams, Adam Thomson, Andy Ellis, Stephen Donald, Sonny Bill Williams.
France team to play New Zealand in the World Cup Final: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili; 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 2 William Servat, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Pascal Pape, 5 Lionel Nallet, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (C), 7 Julien Bonnaire, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy.
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Jean-Marc Doussain, Francois Trinh-Duc, Damien Traille.