New Zealand vs. Australia: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 30, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Stephen Kearney the coach of New Zealand,  Simon Mannering the captain of New Zealand, Cameron Smith the captain of Australia and Tim Sheens the coach face the media during the Rugby League World Cup Final press conference at Old Trafford on November 27, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The fixture that many predicted and indeed hoped would round off this year's Rugby League World Cup has come to fruition as Australia and New Zealand once again ready themselves for battle.

This Saturday, the pair will clash once more in a repeat of 2008's curtain closer, the Kiwis emerging as shock victors on that occasion.

However, Tim Sheens' side will be all the more wise as a result of that defeat and will want anything but to slip up against their Australasian foes once again.

Read on for all the essential viewing information of the crunch encounter, as well as a preview of the final.


Date: Saturday, Nov. 30

Time: 2:30 p.m. local time (GMT)/9:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester

Viewing Info: BBC One

Stream: BBC Sport website


Key Battle: Johnathan Thurston vs. Kieran Foran

Kieran Foran has been an impressive outlet for the Kiwis this past month, and while not the most extravagant of stand-offs, the Manly Sea Eagles star has been nothing if not consistent.

WREXHAM, WALES - NOVEMBER 16:  Johnathan Thurston of Australia lines up a kick during the Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and USA at Racecourse Ground on November 16, 2013 in Wrexham, Wales.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Image
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

However, the 23-year-old comes up against a far more experienced opposite number this weekend, Johnathan Thurston being one of those players left over from the unsuccessful World Cup squad of 2008.

And while consistency is key at this level, it's Thurston—one of, if not the best in the world at his position—who has a propensity to combine the flashier parts of the game with that consistency, making for a deadly blend.

If Foran struggles to get a foothold in the encounter and allows Thurston the space and respect that some might give him, the 30-year-old veteran is likely to sniff blood, grab the opportunity with both hands and make New Zealand pay with his typically catalytic standards.


Australia Key Player: Greg Inglis

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23:  Greg Inglis of Australia is tackled by Eloni Vunakece of Fiji during the Rugby League World Cup Semi Final match between Australia and Fiji at Wembley Stadium on November 23, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDona
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

BBC Sport recently announced that Billy Slater had been named in Sheens' squad for the final despite picking up an injury last week that was feared to rule him out. 

If Slater does return at fullback, it will be a massive boost for the Kangaroos' morale, which also means that Greg Inglis can move back into his favoured centre role, which can only be seen as a bad thing for Stephen Kearney's side.

The Rabbitohs star and former International Player of the Year may be a threat from the back, but his potential for devastation is multiplied when coming from midfield, presenting a threat that Dean Whare and Bryson Goodwin will have no choice but to focus on restraining.


New Zealand Key Player: Sonny Bill Williams 

Just after being named International Player of the Year, Sonny Bill Williams will have no greater motivation to go and stage a surprise result this weekend.

The former All Blacks star has the toughest defensive challenge up against him that he's likely to have faced in his league career, but if there's anyone in the New Zealand squad capable of breaking that down, it's him.

Since conceding 20 points against England in their opening match, Australia have let their opposition score just two points in the four matches, showing just what kind of form Williams will need to be in if he's to do what he's done all tournament long and put his side on the front foot. 


Rugby League World Cup Final Squads

Australia: Cameron Smith, Greg Bird, Darius Boyd, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cooper Cronk, Andrew Fifita, Jarryd Hayne, Paul Gallen, Greg Inglis, Brett Morris, Nate Myles, Josh Papalii, Corey Parker, Matthew Scott, Billy Slater, James Tamou, Brent Tate, Sam Thaiday and Johnathan Thurston

New Zealand: Jesse Bromwich, Greg Eastwood, Kieran Foran, Alex Glenn, Bryson Goodwin, Shaun Johnson, Sam Kasiano, Kevin Loche, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Jason Nightingale, Frank-Paul Nu'uausala, Elijah Taylor, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Manu Vatuvei, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dean Whare, Sonny Bill Williams