Rugby fans warm up for long night

Australian-based All Blacks fans have made their voices heard across the country in the build-up to Sunday morning’s rugby World Cup final.

New Zealand supporters donned black and performed flash mob hakas throughout Australia on Saturday in a display of passion before the All Blacks take on the Wallabies in England.

Less than 24 hours after it was draped in green and gold to support Australia, the steps of Sydney’s Opera House was the scene of one performance of the traditional Maori war dance.

Other mobs popped up at Martin Place, in Brisbane, under the Surfers Paradise sign on the Gold Coast and at Melbourne’s Federation Square and Bourke St mall.

Pasi Pateriki, who led the haka on Brisbane’s South Bank along with approximately 30 others, was in no doubt about what will happen in the big match.

“All Blacks by 50,” Mr Pateriki said after the impromptu performance.

“Richie McCaw, bro, all the way.”

His confidence has been shared by a punter over in New Zealand, who has staked $NZ400,000 on the All Blacks and will make a return of $NZ540,000 if New Zealand win.

The huge punt is the largest single wager in the history of New Zealand’s TAB.

All across Australia bars and clubs are preparing for a long night, with the final not set to kick off until 2.45am AEDT.

The match will be the first final in eight World Cups between the trans-Tasman rivals.

Australia head into the game having never lost a match in a northern hemisphere World Cup after winning the 1991 and 1999 tournaments.

However, New Zealand are the defending champions and favourites to retain the title they won on home soil in 2011.

Both teams are aiming to become the first nation to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy three times.

Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said the Wallabies would do the nation proud and he backed coach Michael Cheika’s men to upset their rivals.

“Australia will win this game because I just have that feeling that Australia is up for the game,” Sir Peter told the Australian Rugby Union.

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