The New Zealand and France rugby squads have been putting in their final training sessions before the world cup final clash in Auckland.
The French might have proved a stumbling block for the All Blacks in the 1999 and 2007 world cups, but this time they are facing the Kiwis on home soil and at the home of New Zealand rugby.
The New Zealanders are also well aware that it is a re-run of the first World Cup final in 1987 at the same stadium – a match the French lost.
The French captain Thierry Dusautoir said:
“All children dream of becoming world champions. And I think we’ve really been going back to that childhood dream this week. You can’t aim higher than being world champions.”
The All Blacks’ final appearance before the big game was watched by a few dozen diehard fans. Newspapers trumpeted encouragement saying a win would put the players alongside the country’s all time sporting greats.
The New Zealand captain Richie McCaw said:
“People say who deserves what, but at the end of the day in a final, it’s not about who deserves what, it’s about who goes and plays the best rugby on that stage in this game. And that’s what we’ve got to do.”
The 2011 world cup rugby final kicks off at Eden park in Auckland on Sunday at 10am Central European Time.