All Blacks World Cup final penpix

ALL BLACKS WORLD CUP FINAL PENPIX

BEN SMITH (fullback)

Age: 29. 1st World Cup; 47 Tests; 95 points (19 tries)

Israel Folau gets all the raps this side of the Tasman, but the All Blacks wouldn’t trade their brilliant No.15 for anyone. A flawless performer and superb under the high ball.

NEHE MILNER-SKUDDER (wing)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 7 Tests; 35 points (7 tries)

Stunned by his squad inclusion, the elusive rookie is now favourite for World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year award after bagging five tries in five games. Brilliant stepper, dangerous in broken play.

CONRAD SMITH (outside centre)

Age: 34. 3rd World Cup; 93 Tests; 130 points (26 tries)

The veteran has already achieved it all – Bledisloe, Tri Nation, Rugby Championship, World Cup and grand slam glory – but the crafty backline organiser can bow out as a rare dual world champion.

MA’A NONU (inside centre)

Age: 33. 3rd World Cup; 102 Tests; 150 points (30 tries)

The blockbusting centre’s worth to the All Blacks is etched in his World Cup record that none of his illustrious teammates can match – 14 games for 14 wins.

JULIAN SAVEA (wing)

Age: 25. 1st World Cup; 40 Tests; 190 points (38 tries)

The prolific tryscorer has crossed for a tournament-best eight five-pointers in five games already and stopping “The Bus” will prove one of the Wallabies’ toughest tasks.

DAN CARTER (five-eighth)

Age: 33. 4th World Cup; 111 Tests; 1579 points (29 tries, 291 cons, 277 pens, 7 drops)

Missed the 2011 triumph with injury and lifting the Webb Ellis Cup would be the crowning glory for New Zealand’s all-time leading pointscorer and master playmaker.

AARON SMITH (halfback)

Age: 26. 1st World Cup; 46 Tests; 62 points (12 tries, 1 con)

The former hairdressing apprentice has transferred his razor-sharp skills to the scrum base and rucks, providing silver service to teammates and always threatening opposition defences.

KIERAN READ (No.8)

Age: 30. 2nd World Cup; 83 Tests; 100 points (20 tries)

Former World Player of the Year yet to recapture that form but still hugely influential. A key figure in lineout steals, kickoff regathers and with ball in hand.

RICHIE MCCAW (opensider flanker, captain)

Age: 34. 4th World Cup; 147 Tests; 135 points (27 tries)

The only three-time World Player of the Year, almost certainly playing the last match of arguably the greatest career in rugby history. Prides himself on plays that make a difference. Breakdown, tackling and inspirational leadership his strongest suits.

JEROME KAINO (blindside flanker)

Age: 32. 2nd World Cup; 66 Tests; 55 points (11 tries)

Prototype All Blacks blindside flanker. Brutal tackling and clean outs and direct running his fortes.

BRODIE RETALLICK (lock)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 46 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Reigning World Player of the Year, hasn’t quite recaptured his 2014 form but his enormous work rate and huge frame make him invaluable.

SAM WHITELOCK (lock)

Age: 27. 2nd World Cup; 72 Tests; 20 points (4 tries)

The All Blacks’ man mountain forms a lethal lineout combination with fellow 204cm second-rower Retallick. Loves the rough stuff as well.

OWEN FRANKS (prop)

Age: 27. 2nd World Cup; 77 Tests; 0 points

Typical deep south island stock; hard as nails, indestructible some might say, and among the best scrummagers in world rugby.

DAN COLES (hooker)

Age: 28. 1st World Cup; 35 Tests; 25 points (5 tries)

The apprentice to master hooker Mealamu has graduated to claim the All Blacks’ starting spot. Mobile and renowned for sniffing out a try out wide.

JOE MOODY (prop)

Age: 27. 1st World Cup; 10 Tests; 5 points (1 try)

Living the dream starting in a World Cup final just three weeks after playing in the NPC following a tournament-ending injury to Wyatt Crockett.

RESERVES

SONNY BILL WILLIAMS (centre)

Age: 30. 2nd World Cup; 32 Tests; 45 points (9 tries)

The code-hopping dual international is looking to add a second World Cup title to two NRL premierships. A genuine impact player off the bench with his offloads and direct running.

BEAUDEN BARRETT (utility back)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 35 Tests; 140 points (8 tries, 26 cons, 16 pens)

A super-sub in the Kurtley Beale mould who can cover just about any position in the backline. Speed to burn and goalkicking back-up to boot.

TAWERA KERR-BARLOW (halfback)

Age: 26. 1st World Cup; 19 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Loves a snipe and particularly deadly on the short side. His explosiveness will test the tiring Wallabies defence late on.

SAM CANE (flanker)

Age: 23. 1st World Cup; 30 Tests; 50 points (10 tries)

Heir apparent to the great McCaw and the All Blacks’ energetic answer to Michael Hooper. Loves a steal and has a tryscoring strike rate to envy for any flanker.

VICTOR VITO (back row)

Age: 28. 2nd World Cup; 32 Tests; 20 points (4 tries)

Experienced, mobile and versatile, covering No.8, No.6 and lock and featuring in his second World Cup campaign.

CHARLIE FAUMUINA (prop)

Age: 28. 1st World Cup; 32 Tests; 5 points (1 try)

A powerful 130kg tight-head prop who can also cover loose-head when required. A handful for any opposing scrum.

BEN FRANKS (prop)

Age: 31. 2nd World Cup; 46 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

An explosive scrummager and ideal second-half addition when the All Blacks set piece needs rejuvenating.

KEVEN MEALAMU (hooker)

Age: 36. 4th World Cup; 131 Tests; 60 points (12 tries)

The oldest man in the final but one of the spiritual leaders of the All Blacks’ golden generation and unlikely to let the defending champions down in his farewell Test.

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