Finals are known for being a big old scrap – dominated by kicks and penalties and relatively low-scoring. They’re also unlikely to deliver a comeback win.
No Rugby World Cup winning team has ever trailed at half-time and gone on to win the trophy.
Over the last two editions, however, the losing team has scored more points in the second half of the match than the loser. That might be down to New Zealand doing New Zealand things, though.
On average overall, the winning teams have scored marginally more points (nine) compared to the losing sides (eight) in the second half. Australia’s barnstorming second-half against the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup is the highest number of points (14) scored by a losing team in a final to date.
France came closest to erasing the deficit in the second half when they lost by just one point against New Zealand in the great bar fight of a match back in 2011.
Points scored by teams in the second half of a Rugby World Cup
But things will be tight, regardless. On just three occasions has a team won by a margin of ten or more (New Zealand in 1987 and 2015 and Australia in 1999). The average points difference at full-time in Rugby World Cup finals is ten.
Full-time points difference only
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Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.