Route to Rugby World Cup final for New Zealand, Australia
LONDON (AP) New Zealand and Australia have won all of their games en route to the Rugby World Cup final. Here’s how they arrived at the showpiece at Twickenham on Saturday:
Pool Stage (1st place):
W Argentina 26-16-The All Blacks recover from having Richie McCaw sin-binned and being 16-12 down shortly after halftime to get title defense off to successful start, with strength off the bench noticeable.
W Namibia 58-14-An easy win, with New Zealand crossing for nine tries, but it was the Namibians – the lowest-ranked team at the World Cup – who left the Olympic Stadium happier after avoiding an avalanche of tries and frustrating the champions.
W Georgia 43-10-Pulled clear after halftime with Julian Savea finishing with three tries, but the All Blacks still yet to fully fire and under the pump at the scrum.
W Tonga 47-9-A masterful second half after a tough first 40 minutes hinted at better things to come for New Zealand, which lost Tony Woodcock to a tournament-ending injury and saw Ma’a Nonu cross late for a try in his 100th test.
W France 62-13-The All Blacks produce an almost complete performance at Millennium Stadium, scoring nine tries, as Dan Carter returns to form at flyhalf and the team erases the memory of its quarterfinal loss to the same opponent at the same venue in 2007.
W South Africa 20-18-The All Blacks show their resilience in filthy conditions at Twickenham, rallying from a 12-7 halftime deficit to grind down the Springboks and reach a fourth World Cup final.
Pool Stage (1st place):
W Fiji 28-13-A belated start to the tournament sees Wallabies go 18-3 in front at halftime through two tries from David Pocock, but struggle to contain Fijians after halftime.
W Uruguay 65-3-An 11-try walkover for the Wallabies, with fringe players getting a rare run-out against the amateurs from South America.
W England 33-13-Flyhalf Bernard Foley’s two tries and 28-point haul establishes Australia as a genuine title contender and virtually ensures England is dumped out of its own World Cup.
W Wales 15-6-Reduced to 13 men for seven minutes, Australia produces mighty defensive effort and wins a kicking duel to secure first place in the pool and a supposedly easier path to final.
W Scotland 35-34-Wallabies score five tries but require a wrongly awarded penalty, successfully converted in the last minute by Bernard Foley, to escape a huge shock.
W Argentina 29-15-Wallabies score two tries in opening 10 minutes, weather a fierce comeback from Pumas and clinch victory late on when Adam Ashley-Cooper completes hat trick of tries.