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||New Zealand dismiss France
New Zealand: 40
Tries: Jack, Howlett, Rokocoko, Thorn, Muliaina, Holah
Cons: MacDonald, Carter (4)
Drop goal: Yachvili
New Zealand 40-13 France
New Zealand strolled past a second-string French side to win a largely flat encounter for third place in the World Cup in Sydney.
The All Blacks, stung by their 22-10 semi-final loss to Australia, opted for a full-strength team and eased to victory with six tries at the Telstra Stadium.
Locks Chris Jack and Brad Thorn, wings Doug Howlett and Joe Rokocoko, full-back Mils Muliaina and substitute number eight Marty Holah crossed for New Zealand.
For France, wing Pepito Elhorga scored the only try despite the late bolstering of the team with some of the squad's more senior members.
Les Bleus were overpowered up front and ripped to shreds by New Zealand's dazzling back-line, aching to make amends for a disappointing World Cup campaign.
Despite turning around only 14-6 down, France were unable to live with the Kiwis, who were eager to avenge the famous 43-31 defeat in the semi-final in 1999.
New Zealand revealed their hand from the start by running the ball at every available opportunity - and as early as the fourth minute they found the first gap.
The guys have done well to pick themselves up after a pretty shattering event
More New Zealand reaction
Fly-half Carlos Spencer released Howlett with his trademark no-look inside pass and the All Blacks hared upfield with slick interpassing to put in Jack. His try was converted by centre Leon MacDonald.
France clawed back some ground when scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili took over the kicking duties from stand-off Gerald Merceron, who had missed an earlier shot.
But the All Blacks were biding their time - and Muliaina's incisive break fed Howlett for the second try, converted by Daniel Carter, who replaced the injured MacDonald.
France, though, began to enjoy some possession but were unable to carve a way through, content to snatch a drop-goal from Yachvili before the break.
And it was France who began the second period on the front foot after bolstering the pack with prop Jean Jacques Crenca and lock Fabien Pelous.
They forced All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger into a fumble in midfield before firing the ball wide to Elhorga, who came off his wing to score under the posts.
We had a chance but then there were two tries in 10 minutes and the game was lost
More France reaction
New Zealand hit back immediately with a simply-worked try for Rokocoko on the left wing and then a controversial score from replacement Thorn after a suspicious line-out throw.
The Kiwi settings were switched to cruise control as Muliaina rounded off a flowing back move on 60 minutes.
France brought on more fresh legs in fly-half Freddie Michalak, flanker Olivier Magne and hooker Raphael Ibanez.
But it was All Blacks substitute Holah who rumbled over to add the final sheen to the scoreline.
France: C Poitrenaud; P Elhorga, T Marsh, D Traille, D Bory; G Merceron, D Yachvili; S Marconnet, Y Bru (capt), J-B Poux, D Auradou, T Privat, P Tabacco, S Chabal, C Labit.
Replacements: R Ibanez, J-J Crenca, F Pelous, O Magne, F Michalak, B Liebenberg, N Brusque.
New Zealand: M Muliaina; D Howlett, L MacDonald, A Mauger, J Rokocoko; C Spencer, S Devine; D Hewett, K Mealamu, G Somerville, C Jack, A Williams, R Thorne (capt), R McCaw, J Collins.
Replacements: M Hammett, C Hoeft, B Thorn, M Holah, B Kelleher, D Carter, C Ralph.
Referee: Chris White (England).
|stewed & Keefed
||England set for Aussie showdown
Sat 22 Nov | 0900 GMT | Telstra Stadium - Sydney
Fans set for song battle
Australia and England lock horns on Saturday knowing they are one match away from World Cup glory.
The 2003 Rugby World Cup final will take place in front of a capacity 83,500 crowd in Sydney - almost 40,000 of whom are expected to be travelling England fans.
Millions more will be watching on television across the world and back in England, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair who officially wished the England team well on Friday.
The weather over the New South Wales capital is expected to be overcast and showery, similar to the conditions in which England beat France to reach the final.
Australia, who are defending champions, overcame fierce rivals New Zealand to make their third World Cup final
The countries have met once before in the final, in 1991 when the Wallabies won 12-6 at Twickenham.
But coach Clive Woodward's men have not lost to Australia since June 1999 and are seeking to become the first northern hemisphere side to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy.
Bookies favour England
And they are 4/7 favourites to win, with the Aussies offered at 5/4, with bookmakers William Hill, who claim the match will be the biggest in rugby betting history.
Jones makes one change
Australia coach Eddie Jones is confident his team can deliver the goods and become the first country to win the William Webb Ellis trophy back-to-back.
Jones would have sent out the same team that beat New Zealand 22-10 in the semi-finals, but for injury.
The serious neck injury Ben Darwin suffered in that victory means prop Al Baxter comes in to the front row.
Australia: M Rogers, W Sailor, S Mortlock, E Flatley, L Tuqiri; S Larkham, G Gregan (capt); B Young, B Cannon, A Baxter; J Harrison, N Sharpe; G Smith, P Waugh, D Lyons.
Replacements: J Paul, M Dunning, D Giffin, M Cockbain, C Whitaker, M Giteau, J Roff.
Tindall in for Catt
England, like Australia, have made one change to the team that booked their final spot with a 24-7 victory over France.
Woodward has elected to bring in centre Mike Tindall for Mike Catt, a swap he described as "horses for courses".
Tindall's return means that England will be running out with 14 of the team that beat the Wallabies in their last encounter in the summer, Matt Dawson for Kyran Bracken being the only change.
England: J Lewsey, J Robinson, W Greenwood, M Tindall, B Cohen; J Wilkinson, M Dawson; T Woodman, S Thompson, P Vickery; M Johnson; (capt), B Kay; R Hill, N Back, L Dallaglio.
Replacements: D West, J Leonard, M Corry, L Moody, K Bracken, M Catt, I Balshaw.
Road to the final
Both squads have endured tough campaigns in booking their place in the Sydney showpiece.
AUSTRALIA: ROAD TO THE FINAL
Australia 24-8 Argentina
Australia 90-8 Romania
Australia 142-0 Namibia
Australia 17-16 Ireland
Australia 33-16 Scotland
Australia 22-10 New Zealand
Photos from their campaign
Australia have scored more points than England, and conceded less, in reaching a record third World Cup final.
However, their haul of points is massively off-set by the record 142-0 win over Namibia.
They started with a patchy pool performance against Argentina, and sneaked past Ireland by one point.
However, those results and their semi-final victory over the All Blacks have got superstitious supporters believing an Australian victory is written in the stars.
In 1991 the Wallabies opened their account against the Pumas, beat Ireland by a solitary point and cruised past a much-fancied New Zealand side in the last four... before beating England in the final.
In total the Wallabies have scored 328 points and 42 tries. They have conceded 58 points and five tries.
Their leading scorer is Elton Flatley with 88 points. Mat Rogers and Chris Latham have each scored five tries - all Latham's coming against Namibia.
ENGLAND: ROAD TO THE FINAL
England 84-6 Georgia
England 25-6 South Africa
England 35-22 Samoa
England 111-13 Uruguay
England 28-17 Wales
England 24-7 France
England have scored 307 points and 35 tries in their six matches en route to the final.
In that time they have conceded 71 points and six tries, and like Australia, have been far from convincing at times.
In the pool stages all eyes were on their crunch clash against South Africa in Perth, which they came through after an attritional first half.
A scare followed against Samoa, when they were trailing after 60 minutes before pulling through, and Woodward's men had to call on all their experience to shake off a tenacious Welsh side in the quarter-finals.
But England put all the doubters in their place when they were finally able to pick their strongest team against France and won convincingly.
Jonny Wilkinson, the hero of that semi-final win with all 24 points, has 98 to his name in the World Cup. Another six will see him become the tournament's leading scorer.
Will Greenwood and Josh Lewsey have scored five tries each, Lewsey equalling the English record for a single match with five tries against Uruguay.
The World Cup final will be the 29th meeting between the two sides and the fourth in World Cup history.
Australia hold the head-to-head advantage with 16 wins to 11, but England have won the last four meetings.
The Wallabies have to go back to 1999 for their last victory over Woodward's men, a 22-15 win in Sydney.
England clinch historic victory
But since then England have racked up regular wins, three at home and, most recently, a famous first win on Australian soil, 25-14 in Melbourne.
Australian coach Eddie Jones described England's three-try victory as "probably the best ball movement we've seen this year in international rugby".
World Cup golden moments:
Andrew drops Aussies in it
England were also the last side to beat Australia at the World Cup, Rob Andrew's last-minute drop goal accounting for the Wallabies in 1995 - a record 12 matches ago.
The two countries met in each of the first three World Cup tournaments, Australia holding the edge 2-1.
Wallabies pip England in final
After a pool win in 1987, they won the greatest prize in the sport four years later with a 12-6 World Cup final victory at Twickenham.
England prop Jason Leonard is the only survivor from that match, but seven of the Australian squad can boast winners' medals from four years ago.
|stewed & Keefed
|stewed & Keefed
||England win Rugby World Cup
Pen: Flatley (4)
Pen: Wilkinson (4)
Australia 17-20 England
England won the Rugby World Cup with a breathtaking drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson just 26 seconds from the end of a thrilling final in Sydney.
Millions watched around the world as captain Martin Johnson became the first player to lead a northern hemisphere side to the world title as they edged out defending champions Australia in the rain.
Wilkinson's last-gasp effort was all that separated the sides after 100 minutes of rugby.
Australia battled hard and were never out of the game but ultimately fell just short, despite opening the scoring through centre Lote Tuqiri.
The match represented the culmination of four impressive years of improvement from an England team that flattered to deceive in the last World Cup.
Oh the delicious irony - Jonny wins it with a drop goal! Pinch me someone, I'm dreaming!
Then, Johnson and his cohorts were kicked out of the World Cup by South Africa and were rightly criticised for lacking a 'killer spirit'.
There were no such weaknesses on display on Saturday as England wrestled the cup away from an Aussie side who fought tooth and nail to become the first team to retain the trophy.
The Wallabies started strongly when Tuqiri out-jumped Jason Robinson to a huge Stephen Larkham bomb with just six minutes on the clock.
The score was no more than Australia deserved but three Wilkinson penalties soon silenced the strong home support.
Despite the rain continuing to fall, both sides chose to keep the ball in hand and as the game progressed, so the mighty England pack began to dominate.
With just 10 minutes of the first half left, Ben Kay knocked on with the line beckoning to the frustration of the visiting fans.
6 mins: Tuqiri's try puts Australia ahead
38 mins: Robinson scores a try after three Wilkinson penalties to put England 14-5 ahead
80 mins: The hosts haul themselves level with Flatley's last-gasp penalty
82 mins: Wilkinson's penalty gives England an extra-time advantage
97 mins: Flatley strikes again to equalise at 17-17
100 mins: Wilkinson's drop goal wins England the World Cup
Minutes later, England finally silenced their critics when Robinson scuttled over wide on the left after a powerful midfield burst from Lawrence Dallaglio.
The men in white started the second half as they had finished the first.
Johnson led from the front with a towering performance and Dallaglio and flanker Richard Hill caused numerous problems down the middle of the pitch.
But just as England looked likely to pull away, two sloppy penalties allowed Elton Flatley to bring his side back within touching distance.
England looked the more confident side with the ball in hand - but only just.
Will Greenwood knocked on inside the Aussie 22 and Wilkinson then missed a drop goal as the match entered a tense closing quarter.
Runs from the powerful Stirling Mortlock and George Smith pushed England back into their own half.
And as referee Andre Watson prepared to blow for full time, Flatley slotted his third kick of the half to push the match into extra time.
The players looked understandably exhausted and when Wilkinson and Flatley again swapped penalties the match looked as if it was heading into sudden death.
But England were not to be denied and it was fitting that Wilkinson sealed a deserved victory as well as the most memorable result in English rugby history.
England: J Lewsey, J Robinson, W Greenwood, M Tindall, B Cohen; J Wilkinson, M Dawson; T Woodman, S Thompson, P Vickery; M Johnson; (capt), B Kay; Richard Hill, N Back, L Dallaglio. Replacements: D West, J Leonard, M Corry, L Moody, K Bracken, M Catt, I Balshaw.
Australia: M Rogers, W Sailor, S Mortlock, E Flatley, L Tuqiri; S Larkham, G Gregan (capt); B Young, B Cannon, A Baxter; J Harrison, N Sharpe; G Smith, P Waugh, D Lyons. Replacements: J Paul, M Dunning, D Giffin, M Cockbain, C Whitaker, M Giteau, J Roff.
|stewed & Keefed
||Johnson praises Wilkinson
England captain Martin Johnson paid tribute to Jonny Wilkinson after the fly-half's last-gasp drop goal sealed victory for his side in the Rugby World Cup final.
Wilkinson converted the crucial kick - his first success from four drop goal attempts during the final in Sydney - with just 20 seconds left of extra-time to seal a famous 20-17 victory.
"It was a huge effort by the entire squad of players, coaches and backroom staff, everybody. Thanks to the fans, they were incredible," Johnson said.
"I can't say enough about the team, because we had the lead and we lost it but we came back. And I can't say enough about Wilko at the end.
I can't say enough about the team
England captain Martin Johnson
"You've got to give credit to Australia, they're a very good team and they made it very difficult for us.
"I'm just for happy for the players, they've put their heart and soul into it. It couldn't have been any closer and I'm just happy I'm on the right side."
Coach Clive Woodward, clearly emotional after the result, refused to single out Wilkinson for praise.
"We said he'd be the man for the drop goal but that result was about 15 men," he said.
"It's just fantastic. I must thank every single fan in this stadium. It's the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. I am totally speechless.
"It was an awesome night and I'll never forget it."
Woodward revealed he was not happy with the amount of errors which marred his team's display in the latter stages.
But Johnson paid tribute to his players for overcoming their nerves to become the first northern hemisphere side to win the World Cup.
The England captain said: "It was a huge effort from the entire squad of players as well as the coaching staff.
"With 20 minutes of extra-time it could go either way."
|stewed & Keefed
||Australia v England statistics
Australia 17-20 England
1 Tries 1
0 Pen tries 0
0/1 Conversions 0/1
4/6 Penalty goals 4/4
0/0 Drop goals 1/5
Phases of Play
12 Scrums Won 9
0 Lost 0
21 Lineouts Won 27
9 Lost 8
8 Pens Conceded 12
0 Freekick Conceded 3
1 Mauls Won 8
6 Ruck and Drive 14
64 Ruck and Pass 74
71 In Open Play 96
10 In Opponent's 22 13
45 At Set Pieces 44
20 Turnovers Won 21
19 Kicks to Touch 27
151 Passes Completed 176
33 Possession Kicked 33
95 Tackles Made 103
6 Missed 2
5% Percentage Missed 1%
3 Offloads in Tackle 3
2% Offloads / Tackled 3%
21 Errors Made 21
18% Errors / Ball Won 15%
Minutes in possession
12:00 First half 13:44
11:31 Second half 14:46
Minutes in opponent's half
22:12 First half 16:09
15:23 Second half 23:02
|stewed & Keefed
||Wallabies coach hails England
Report: England win World Cup
Beaten Australia coach Eddie Jones hailed England as the best team in the world "by a minute" after Jonny Wilkinson's extra-time drop-goal settled the World Cup final.
Although disappointed, Jones put on a brave face after the match, which saw the Wallabies fight back from 14-5 down at half-time to force extra time.
"They were outstanding. They are the best team in the world - by one minute," he said with an ironic smile after Wilkinson's drop-goal in the final minute finally seperated the sides.
"I think they are an outstanding team. They play to their strengths. They have got a very good forward pack, some good, hard running backs and should be lauded as the best team in the world."
You slug it out for 100 minutes and you get beaten in the 99th - I think that would qualify as a photo finish
Australia coach Eddie Jones
More Australian reaction
Jones also complimented England's backroom staff but praised Australia for pushing their northern hemisphere opponents to the limit.
"They are extremely well coached, extremely well prepared and have got a huge amount of talent within their squad," he said.
"They had to play well. We certainly put them under the pump and in the end we just weren't quite up to it. We are shattered."
Having confounded the critics by reaching the World Cup final, Jones' Australia have been riding an unprecedented wave of support all week.
But in the end, England managed to edge them in the race to victory.
Jones added: "You slug it out for 100 minutes and you get beaten in the 99th - I think that would qualify as a photo finish.
"We gave ourselves the best opportunity to win the World Cup. We came up just short but we put ourselves in the best position."
Jones was full of praise for inside centre Elton Flatley who landed two high-pressure kicks - one to force extra-time and the other to level the scores after 97 minutes.
"Flats was terrific," said Jones. "He has had a very good World Cup. He kicked big goals, kicked consistently well. He is a very good young player.
"His best footie is ahead of him and, if he sticks at it he will be a very, very good player in the next couple of years."
|stewed & Keefed
||Wilkinson: Team spirit won World Cup
England Rugby World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson has spoken of the "huge feeling of togetherness" the players have felt since their famous victory over Australia on Saturday.
After the initial celebrations died down, the 24-year-old fly-half relived the moment when he clinched victory for England.
"It was an amazing feeling," said Wilkinson, who was named international player of the year at an official awards ceremony on Sunday.
"We were level score with 80 seconds to go. You know exactly what you want to happen in the next 80 seconds but it seems barely possible.
"Then all of a sudden you find yourself under the posts and the kick thankfully just crept over.
"Suddenly what was a minute and a half ago looking very ropey, and possibly heading for sudden death or drop goals, then looked very rosy for us.
"It was a massive team effort and a huge feeling of togetherness we had certainly for the rest of the evening and through today as well," added Wilkinson.
We've got the winning habit and hopefully we can keep it
England coach Clive Woodward was named coach of the year and England team of the year at the IRB awards ceremony in Sydney.
Woodward reflected on his team's preparation for the big occasion.
"We had a clear routine of how we'd get a drop-goal. It just went absolutely like clockwork. That's why you win these big games.
"Probably the most important thing was when Mike Catt kicked it over the stand to finish the game - that was the moment I remember most," he joked.
Captain Martin Johnson said the huge support England had received in the Telstra Stadium had helped spur them on to victory.
"It was a home game for Australia, albeit a World Cup final. They don't lose a lot of games in Sydney," he said.
"For us to have - certainly where we were - parity in the stadium in terms of colours and fans was unbelievable. We weren't alone. We had a huge amount of support."
Johnson added that the team had shaken off their tendency to choke in the big games.
"Maybe three or four years ago, we were losing close games. We were winning the majority but losing the occasional close one," he said.
"But the last two years we've mainly started to win them. We've got the winning habit and hopefully we can keep it."
|stewed & Keefed
||Well that's my last post on the rugby world cup.
Thanks for reading
||Thanks S&K. Six nations next .