Wallabies World Cup final penpix

WALLABIES PENPIX

ISRAEL FOLAU (fullback)

Age: 26. 1st World Cup; 37 Tests; 90 points (18 tries)

The jewel in Australia’s backline has had a quiet campaign but is being backed to burst to life on the biggest stage. Genuine match-winner if fully fit.

ADAM ASHLEY-COOPER (winger)

Age: 31. 3rd World Cup; 113 Tests; 185 points (37 tries)

The side’s most experienced World Cup combatant has the chance to farewell Australian rugby in the ultimate fashion. Ultra consistent performer for a decade.

TEVITA KURIDRANI (outside centre)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 30 Tests; 40 points (8 tries)

The straight-running Fiji-born midfielder has been building form all tournament and could peak in the final. Puts Wallabies over the advantage line and leads the backline defence.

MATT GITEAU (inside centre)

Age: 33. 3rd World Cup; 101 Tests; 698 points (30 tries, 106 cons, 108 pens, 4 drops)

The veteran has added polish and poise to the backline and can cap an excellent campaign with elevation to the all-time Wallabies greats with an elusive World Cup win.

DREW MITCHELL (winger)

Age: 31. 3rd World Cup; 69 Tests; 170 points (34 tries)

Like Giteau, the tackle-shedding winger has repaid the coach’s faith in him since being parachuted in from France. Australia’s all-time leading World Cup tryscorer.

BERNARD FOLEY (five-eighth)

Age: 26. 1st World Cup; 26 Tests; 262 points (7 tries, 43 cons, 46 pens, 1 drop)

Not even in the playmaking pecking order behind James O’Connor, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua two years ago but now undoubtedly the main man.

WILL GENIA (halfback)

Age: 27. 2nd World Cup; 65 Tests; 40 points (8 tries)

Has returned from injury to his world-class best in one of the success stories of the tournament. His stunning revival gives the Wallabies an added dimension.

DAVID POCOCK (No.8)

Age: 27. 2nd World Cup; 54 Tests; 30 points (6 tries)

The World Cup’s most influential player, his prolific pilfering a huge concern for the ABs. His value to the Wallabies best illustrated in his absence from the quarter-final escape against Scotland.

MICHAEL HOOPER (openside flanker)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 50 Tests; 45 points (9 tries)

Dynamic at the breakdown, defensively deadly and a proven tryscorer, the workaholic flanker also looms as a final gamebreaker for the Wallabies.

SCOTT FARDY (blindside flanker)

Age: 31. 1st World Cup; 29 Tests; 0 points

No longer the unsung hero of Australia’s potent back row after standing up as one of the team’s best and busiest this campaign.

ROB SIMMONS (second row)

Age: 26. 2nd World Cup; 59 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Australia’s lineout general has been up and down but must deliver against New Zealand’s tall timber to ensure the Wallabies their fair share of possession.

KANE DOUGLAS (second row)

Age: 26. 1st World Cup; 22 Tests; 0 points

Has silenced the doubters after his contentious selection with a lion-hearted campaign, topping Australia’s tackle count and giving the Wallabies an intimidating physical presence.

SEKOPE KEPU: (loosehead prop)

Age: 29. 2nd World Cup; 62 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Has been a pillar of strength, scrummaging strongly and rolling his sleeves up to work tirelessly in attack and defence around the rucks.

STEPHEN MOORE (hooker, captain)

Age: 32. 3rd World Cup; 101 Tests; 25 points (5 tries)

The skipper has led from the front all tournament, driving the Wallabies scrum, throwing accurately at the lineout, tackling non-stop and making some brave captaincy decisions.

SCOTT SIO (prop)

Age: 24. 1st World Cup; 15 Tests; 0 points

The revelation of the tournament, his set-piece strength has helped restore credibility to Australia’s oft-maligned scrum. A huge inclusion after missing the semi-final injured.

RESERVES

KURTLEY BEALE (utility back)

Age: 26. 2nd World Cup; 59 Tests; 118 points (12 tries, 2 cons, 18 pens)

Unlucky to miss a starting spot after enjoying a fine tournament, but gives the Wallabies an attacking X-factor off the bench.

MATT TOOMUA (centre/five-eighth)

Age: 25. 1st World Cup; 30 Tests; 20 points (4 tries)

Reliable playmaking back-up and his steely defence could prove vital if the Wallabies have their noses in front late.

NICK PHIPPS (halfback)

Age: 26. 2nd World Cup; 38 Tests; 25 points (5 tries)

Provides energy and enthusiasm whenever injected but his over-excitement can lead to errors. Needs to stay cool in the pressure cooker of a World Cup final.

BEN MCCALMAN (back row)

Age: 27. 2nd World Cup; 46 Tests; 20 points (4 tries)

His second-half impact looms as potentially decisive. A strong runner equally capable of big hits and scrambling trysaving tackles.

DEAN MUMM (lock)

Age: 31. 1st World Cup; 43 Tests; 20 points (4 tries)

Another heartwarming comeback tale and the veteran’s experience and leadership is likely to be required with the match on the line in the tense final stages.

GREG HOLMES (prop)

Age: 32. 2nd World Cup; 23 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Has added stability to the Australian scrum every time he’s been injected. Must stand up again under the most extreme pressure yet.

JAMES SLIPPER (prop)

Age: 26. 2nd World Cup; 73 Tests; 0 points

Gets the chance to atone after his horror intercept pass almost eliminated Australia in the quarters and repeated scrum penalties in semis also had Wallabies under pressure.

TATAFU POLOTA-NAU (hooker):

Age: 30. 2nd World Cup; 60 Tests; 10 points (2 tries)

Has been getting 20-odd minutes most matches and needs to be precise defensively and at the set pieces in the biggest Test of his life.

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