Jones tips All Blacks to beat Wallabies in RWC Final

Eddie Jones has been linked extensively to the England coaching job

Former Wallabies and Japan coach Eddie Jones has tipped New Zealand’s All Blacks to beat Australia’s Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup final – but only just.

Under Jones Japan gave the Rugby World Cup a massive lift almost six weeks ago when they beat South Africa in their opener.

South Africa went on to reach the Semi-final before being knocked out last week by the All Blacks.

Australia had a massive scare in the Rugby World Cup quarter final but were saved by a late – albeit incorrectly awarded – penalty against Scotland and they went on to beat Argentina in the Semi-final.

Jones led Australia to their last Rugby World Cup final in 2003 against England but he says that the All Blacks are just too good for Australia..

“If you just look at the stats, then they are (the best ever),” he told Australian Associated Press.

“Their Test match record is so good; no other team in the sporting world — not just rugby — have a record like them.

“So if you just look at that, they’re certainly right up there with the best of them.”

When in charge of the Wallabies, Jones pulled off a major World Cup upset by orchestrating the semi-final defeat of arch-rivals New Zealand in 2003.

But having analysed both team’s victories last weekend, he sees a fairytale end for the retiring Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and a handful of other New Zealand veterans.

“I think New Zealand will make it home in less than five points — it will be close,” he said.

“New Zealand played against a South Africa team that played their best 40 minutes in the first half. To win that game to me was very impressive. They really stuck it out and showed belief in their own game.

“It was a very good performance.”

Jones said Australia on Sunday kept inviting Argentina back into the game.

“They were a little bit loose and gave the Argentinians a chance,” he said.

“It was still a very good win by the Australians. Both teams will go into the final full of confidence. There’s not much between them.”

Former Wallaby skipper John Eales, one of a select group to have won the World Cup twice, in 1991 and 1999, agreed it will be tight and said the key for Australia was to keep their focus.

“It’s a week of a lot of emotions. At the end of this week you’re either going to be world champions or you’re not — one road is good and the other isn’t,” he said on Fox Sports.

“You have a lot of anxiety and how do you deal with that stress? How do you sleep?

“They can’t dwell on it, they can’t relax because they got through. They’ve got to maintain the rage and just focus on what it’s going to take (to win).”

Fellow former skipper Stirling Mortlock said the odds being stacked against the Wallabies would give them a mental advantage.

“Australians are best when we’re underdogs, when our backs are against the wall,” he told reporters.

“We are the underdogs and we need to play a lot better to go toe-to-toe with the All Blacks.”

The bookies have New Zealand to win the Final by 7 points.

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