‘It’s al­ways spe­cial to beat your brother’

Mick Cleary looks ahead to the fi­nal with two of the south­ern hemi­sphere’s finest, David Cam­pese and Zin­zan Brooke

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport Rugby World Cup 2015 - course it is. Zin­zan Brooke Of DC Coaches don’t play the game. DC Yes, ev­ery chance of that.

Mick Cleary Campo and Zinny, leg­ends of your sport, icons in your re­spec­tive coun­tries, great mates now but tell us, is it im­por­tant to put one over on the other one, for Aus­tralia to beat New Zealand in to­day’s Rugby World Cup fi­nal?

David Cam­pese Oh yeah. Look, I played the All Blacks 29 times and only won eight. That’s not a great record is it? But it was al­ways the best of oc­ca­sions. To try to be the best you have to want to learn from the best. Aus­tralia-New Zealand has al­ways been like that. New Zealand is the smaller coun­try, Aus­tralia a vast place, but in rugby we have al­ways tried to learn. At least you know that when you play New Zealand you are go­ing to have to earn that win. New Zealand can score with 10 sec­onds to go as they did the other year against Ire­land and come back from nowhere. You’ve got to go the full 80 min­utes. You can’t take any com­fort from be­ing 10 or 15 points up. It is never enough against th­ese guys.

ZB There is re­spect there. For Ki­wis, South Africa has al­ways been the great­est chal­lenge, but the ri­valry with Aus­tralia is dif­fer­ent. First time to­gether in a World Cup fi­nal, though. That’s strange.

DC Look, it should have hap­pened in 1987, be­lieve me, there was a knock-on in the build-up to that last-minute French try in our semi­fi­nal against them.

ZB I’ve changed my views about the ri­valry with the Aussies and a lot of that has to do with a doc­u­men­tary I con­trib­uted to about Gal­lipoli. It’s the 100th an­niver­sary. My grand­fa­ther, Martin Brooke, fought there. And he used to talk about his great mate from there, an Aussie. I won­dered what that was all about when I was young, my grand­fa­ther prais­ing an Aussie, his best pal. Then I went to Gal­lipoli, to Walker’s Ridge, and did the whole story about the An­zacs. That’s when I be­gan to feel a softer side to­wards the Aussies, em­brac­ing the An­zac spirit.

Th­ese guys made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice and paid the ul­ti­mate price. My grand­fa­ther was in the ditch with his Aussie mate. He died. Now I un­der­stand why he spoke of the Aussies so very fondly. And that’s be­come part of my legacy. That will be in there some­where to­day, among all the sport and all that, there will be a sense of the An­zacs too. New Zealand against Aus­tralia is like two broth­ers go­ing at each other. Al­ways some­thing spe­cial to beat your brother.

MC Are two old lags like you, who have been there, done that, ex­cited about what lies in store? And who is go­ing to win?

DC From where we have come from in the last five to six years, this is a dream for Aus­tralians. I know Michael Cheika, played with him, and ev­ery­one says he has done a great job get­ting us here. There has been an up­turn this year, the Wal­la­bies beat­ing New Zealand and win­ning the Rugby Cham­pi­onship. Cheika has brought back a lot of pride, a lot of pas­sion. We had Robbie Deans, a Kiwi, coach­ing us for a while and he didn’t re­ally un­der­stand the Aussie style of play­ing. We are dif­fer­ent. Bring­ing Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell back from France has brought a lot of knowl­edge and ex­cite­ment back into the camp and into that Wal­laby back line. For the first time in a long time, the Wal­la­bies are be­ing com­pared on more or less an equal ba­sis to the Ki­wis. Be­fore there was New Zealand, then the rest. We have closed that gap. Now we have beaten them as well [in Syd­ney this year] a lot of the doubt has gone.

ZB I think it was good that the Wal­la­bies beat us. I ob­vi­ously didn’t want them to go back to back [New Zealand won in Auck­land a week later]. I was not too con­cerned about the first de­feat but I did want to see a re­sponse from the All Blacks. It was em­phatic and cal­cu­lated.

MC So, Cheika has pulled the Wal­la­bies up by their boot straps. Is get­ting to the fi­nal a tri­umph in it­self ?

DC Look, for me, Aus­tralia has got to win or Cheika hasn’t done a great job. Where union sits in Aus­tralia with league and rules, we need more kids to play our game and win­ning a World Cup would go a long way to de­liv­er­ing that. New Zealand doesn’t have that prob­lem as rugby is a re­li­gion there. If the team plays to its abil­ity, it will be close. I don’t care if it is one point or 21 points, as long as you win.

ZB Look, it can go either way but I think we’re a lit­tle bit ahead of Aus­tralia, just through the ex­pe­ri­ence th­ese guys have got, what they have done, what they can do. Aus­tralia have had to come through the hard way, through a tough pool. Can the Wal­la­bies keep pro­duc­ing that? I do won­der if they can. Clearly, I have got to go the All Black way, by three or four points.

MC Where will the key sport­ing bat­tles be to­day?

DC The back row of course, the master and the ap­pren­tice, Richie Crunch: Nehe Milner-Skud­der feels the force of Is­rael Fo­lau (left) and Matt Giteau in the Bledis­loe Cup clash in Syd­ney in Au­gust McCaw and David Po­cock. Po­cock was un­be­liev­able against Ar­gentina. He was throw­ing him­self in hor­i­zon­tal. That is what brings a lot to the game if you have guys play­ing with that fear­less­ness and en­thu­si­asm.

ZB The teams match off at the set­piece, they can both get ball from scrum and line-out, qual­ity ball on the front foot, both sides are go­ing to at­tack. Both sides can fire shots at each other, from any­where and by any means, as we’ve seen with the Aussie driv­ing line-out with Po­cock tucked in at the back. The

Wal­la­bies scav­enge well, as does McCaw of course, so the mar­gins there be­tween them will be small.

DC You’ve got Dan Carter up against Bernard Fo­ley. Carter was ter­rific against France in the quar­ter-fi­nal, the best I have seen from him in years. I think he’s re­alised that as this is his last World Cup, it is all or noth­ing. The 8-9-10 com­bi­na­tion is key to what hap­pens. The Ki­wis have three of the best in the world through there. As for the full-backs, I don’t think we have seen the best yet from Ben Smith, great player that he is, and Is­rael Fo­lau hasn’t shone at all, car­ry­ing that an­kle in­jury. The wings can all score tries and that’s good for the fans. Savea got three against France, Ash­leyCooper got his hat-trick against the Pu­mas, so you have got guys who can fin­ish. The Aus­tralian scrum has gone from be­ing very good to not be­ing good at all against Ar­gentina. But if we can get par­ity, and we have shown that we can scrum in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, we can get some good ball and th­ese guys can run at each other.

ZB The backs are very strong out to the wing. Ben Smith, I agree Campo, has not been at his ab­so­lute best but he’s an ex­cit­ing player. Maybe this week­end is the time. But here is the big dif­fer­ence. Aus­tralia are good at the first phase, strong at the sec­ond and third phase, OK at the fourth phase, but where the All Blacks will break the Aussies down is on the phases be­yond that, on get­ting a mis­match, like a Milner-Skud­der on a prop or a lock.

Phases seven, eight, nine, 10 could be telling, as against Ar­gentina. The Pu­mas in the late stages were on top. I was look­ing at the body lan­guage of the Wal­la­bies in those late stages, and their bums were on the ground, try­ing to suck in the air. The Ar­gen­tines kept com­ing. I’m sure Steve Hansen will have taken note.

DC Ar­gentina made more breaks than Aus­tralia but they didn’t play as a team, and they didn’t give the sim­ple pass when it was needed. Th­ese two teams to­day play as teams. If the pass is the right op­tion, they pass. Cheika has made the Wal­la­bies a team. Aus­tralia did strug­gle, you’re right Zinny, when they got into those high num­ber of phases. Ar­gentina should have scored a cou­ple of tries. But they didn’t link up. They played as in­di­vid­u­als.

To­day is com­pletely dif­fer­ent. You’ve got great in­di­vid­u­als, such as Milner-Skud­der, and what a side­step but you’ve got great team­work in ac­tion, too. An­other thing that strikes me about th­ese line-ups is that take Mil­nerSkud­der, not tall, Matt Giteau, not tall, you don’t need all th­ese gi­ants, like a Ge­orge North or who­ever. It is step­ping and swerv­ing as well, cheeky lit­tle guys get­ting around.

ZB At the breakdown, you’ve got to be quick. Back in the day with us, it used to be all about the magic three sec­onds at the ruck, one, two, three and ball gone. I was count­ing it with Aus­tralia and boom, gone in two sec­onds, so they get it on the move. Our guys are go­ing to have to watch it.

MC And ref­er­ee­ing? Will that play a part?

DC It is get­ting to the stage where you want the ref to be in­structed to just go and en­joy it, play it as you see it. Not pre-told, we want you to look at this or that.

Wayne Barnes blew up last week for this and that. Just en­joy it. Nigel Owens is good. He tends to ref what’s in front of him.

ZB We want the game to be dom­i­nant, not the ref.

DC And let’s not have the ref go­ing to the TMO ev­ery five sec­onds. Nigel is in charge and he should just of­fi­ci­ate.

The world is tun­ing in to watch the play­ers, not lis­ten to a bloke in a TV van.

MC What about the coaches in this fi­nal? Michael Cheika and Steve Hansen. Both strong char­ac­ters and big fig­ures. What in­flu­ence will they have?

ZB Both are ex­cel­lent and even though nei­ther have played at the top level, they have had a key role. It’s a tough job, get­ting 31 guys in a squad on the same hymn sheet. There are dif­fer­ent emo­tional agen­das in a squad too to deal with. They have both done that.

MC There are a lot of play­ers who are bow­ing out this week­end. Where do you rank two of them, Richie McCaw and Dan Carter?

DC Richie’s done a good shift, not lost many either, eh? Carter has had some in­juries but come back strongly. I liked that dropped goal of his last week against South Africa. Clever. The pair of them are smart, great lead­ers, and re­spected by all their team-mates.

ZB I still can’t be­lieve how Richie has lasted given the pun­ish­ment his body takes: 147 Tests. He de­serves his sta­tus, even to the point of be­ing booed when he got sin-binned at Wem­b­ley. Those jeers were a trib­ute re­ally. Dan was un­der pres­sure com­ing in to this World Cup but he’s been solid, ex­cep­tional, in fact, against France. Two great guys, two great am­bas­sadors.

MC And is a crack­ing fi­nal in prospect?

ZB I’d say so, too. With an All Black win!

‘Let’s not have the ref go­ing to the TMO ev­ery five sec­onds’

Zin­zan Brooke New Zealand No 8 / flanker 58 caps 89 points 0 World Cups

David Cam­pese Aus­tralia Wing / full-back 101 caps 315 points 1 World Cup

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