Aussie coach tips NZ to win Rugby World Cup

Australia coach Robbie Deans - a former All Black assistant coach - believes New Zealand are firm favourites to beat France in Auckland next Sunday in the Rugby World Cup final.

"The All Blacks showed they are more than capable of winning that final," said Deans.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry said his side's performance was "heroic" after they booked their place in the final against France by defeating Australia 20-6 at the weekend.

Captain Richie McCaw described his side's performance as "awesome" but warned the job was far from done as New Zealand seek their first world title since 1987 – and only second ever.

"We've got next week to look forward to and I'm very proud of the way the guys fronted up," he said.

All Blacks coach Henry said his side "had a huge physical presence from minute one to minute 80, led by Richie [McCaw]", adding that McCaw was "outstanding both in playing and leadership".

Henry was in charge when New Zealand fell at the quarter-final stage in 2007 at the hands of France.

Asked what was behind the win over the Wallabies, he replied: "Four years of planning, I suppose. Four years of guys being frustrated and wanting to do the job, four years of trying to get things right.

For all the talk of a trans-Tasman tussle to match the Wallabies' wins of 2003 and 1999, this was a lesson in controlled rugby, the 20-6 margin 17 points shy of what it might have been had the All Blacks landed all their eminently kickable opportunities

"We have lot of history with France at World Cups. We respect them and it will be a big game next week." – Own correspondent


1987: NZ 29-9 France (final)

1999: France 43-31 NZ (semi)

2007: France 20-18 NZ (QF)

2011: NZ 37-17 France (pool)

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