Everything you need to know about the Rugby World Cup final

Everything you need to know about the Rugby World Cup final

England beat Canada to book their place in the World Cup final
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland Date: Saturday, November 12 Kick-off: 06:30 GMT
Reporting: Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live; follow text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

England face hosts and holders New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final at 06:30 GMT on Saturday.

The Red Roses have been top of the world rankings since November 2020 and have won their last 30 Tests – the longest streak in international rugby history.

However, they have never beaten New Zealand in a World Cup final in four attempts.

Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend’s decider.

How can I follow the WC final?

The final will be live on BBC Radio 5 Live, with live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. You can watch it on ITV.

Who will win?

The final is likely to be a great clash of playing styles.

England have advocated a forward-focused game, driving the ball over the try-line after a line-out.

In contrast, the Black Ferns play chaotically, throwing the ball around and using star wings Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui to score tries.

New Zealand are chasing a sixth World Cup, having never lost in the finals, while England are seeking a third after becoming world champions in 1994 and 2014.

England received full-time contracts in 2019 and the Black Ferns only received them in February 2022.

The extension as professionals changed England’s position in the world game and they took back-to-back record wins against New Zealand in autumn 2021.

But the Black Ferns are the last side England lost to – in July 2019 – and the Red Roses have never beaten New Zealand in a World Cup.

New Zealand’s squad for the final consists of 11 players who suffered the record defeats in 2021 and six who won the 2017 decider. There are nine players in the England team that lost that final.

England’s winning streak meant they came into the World Cup as firm favourites. As New Zealand have grown into the tournament, they have closed the gap. Whether they have fully caught up remains to be seen.

Where is the WC final?

The final will be played at Eden Park in Auckland, where New Zealand have never lost.

Before this World Cup, nobody had ever paid to see the Black Ferns play in New Zealand.

Now Eden Park – the home of New Zealand rugby – is sold out for the time being as the country falls behind its women’s team for the first time. There have even been reports of people selling concert tickets for Saturday night to ensure they can watch the final live.

With a capacity of more than 40,000, it is likely to be a record attendance for a women’s rugby match.

The previous record was set on the opening day of the tournament, when there were 34,235 fans at Eden Park.

By the end of this tournament, more than 140,000 fans will have attended the matches, more than any other World Cup after the total attendance in 2017 was 45,412.

Back in England, local clubs are throwing watch parties and famous rugby pub The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham will be opening its doors early.

Who are the players to watch?

The battle between Abby Dow and Ruby Tui on the wing is likely to be the most exciting watch.

The charismatic Tui has never played for England in XVs and rose to stardom in sevens, where she helped New Zealand to Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Dow defied a surgeon’s verdict to bounce back from a broken leg in just five months to reach the World Cup and looked stronger than ever as she arguably scored the try of the tournament in the semi-final against Canada.

What have they said?

England head coach Simon Middleton: “[The crowd] will be more frightening to them. Losing in front of your home crowd is a tough game. The pressure on them is absolutely enormous.”

New Zealand rugby manager Wayne Smith: “We’re in a place that probably not a lot of people thought we’d get to. We’ve got probably the best team of all time this weekend. We’re just enjoying it. We’ve got to be at our very best – every single individual – to come close.”

What are the laws?

England’s Holly Aitchison and Emily Scarratt start together in the middle for the first time this World Cup, while Ellie Kildune steps in for injured full-back Helena Rowland.

Claudia MacDonald moves to the bench and provides cover at scrum-half with Lucy Packer out of the squad, and lock Cath O’Donnell is a surprise inclusion among the replacements.

New Zealand have made an injury-hit change as number eight Charmaine McMenamin replaces Liana Mikaele-Tu’u.

England: Kildune; Thompson, Scarratt, Aitchison, Dow; Harrison, Infante; Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, M Packer, Hunter (capt).

Compensations: Davies, Muir, Brown, O’Donnell, Cleall, Kabeya, MacDonald, Heard.

New Zealand: Holmes; Tui, Fluhler, Fitzpatrick, Woodman; Demant (capt), Hanesedge; Love, Ponsonby, Rule, Roos, C Bremner, A Bremner, Hirini, McMenamin.

Compensations: Connor, Murray, Taumata, Ngan-Woo, Simon, Bayler, Tubic, Leti-I’iga.

Judge: Hollie Davidson (Sco)

Pool scene Quarter finals
England 84-19 Fiji England 41-5 Australia
England 13-7 France Semi-final
England 75-0 South Africa England 26-19 Canada

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