It’s the All Blacks all day long for us

Captain Sam Cane at a training session earlier this week. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Captain Sam Cane at a training session earlier this week. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Otago Daily Times sports reporters make their predictions for the Rugby World Cup final.

Hayden Meikle

Pre-tournament pick: France.

Final prediction: All Blacks 32-20. The All Blacks have defied a lot of pre-tournament predictions and built superbly since the opening loss to France. They’ve also had an extra day to recover. And it will be a victory for rugby — proper rugby — if they can score a few tries against a Springboks team that has physicality but little else.

Key All Black: Ardie Savea. We had him on the cover of our pre-World Cup tabloid special. The headline was "IN ARDIE WE TRUST", and indeed we should.

Key Springbok: Eben Etzebeth. The peerless lock will relish one final battle with Sam Whitelock.

 

Adrian Seconi

Pre-tournament pick: All Blacks.

Final prediction: All Blacks 18-15. Discipline will be crucial. The All Black have copped four yellows cards so far. Another against the Boks would be catastrophic. And pray for dry weather.

Key All Black: Beauden Barrett. It is going to take a moment of magic to break open some very stiff South African defence. And Barrett is a wizard.

Key Springbok: The bench. It has been the Boks’ trump card. They roll on a large group of fresh behemoths and continue battering away.

 

Kayla Hodge

Pre-tournament pick: Ireland.

Final prediction: All Blacks 25-20. It will be a big battle up front — especially when the Boks deploy their "bomb squad" — but the All Blacks have been building nicely since their quarterfinal. Looking forward to Will Jordan burning them down the outside.

Key All Black: Scott Barrett. The big man has packed down strongly with Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock throughout the tournament. Those second row combinations will be huge against Boks stalwart Eben Etzebeth.

Key Springbok: Handre Pollard. Was a big call bringing the first five in instead of another hooker after Malcolm Marx’s injury, but he has stepped up time and time again. That boot will be key for the Boks.