Rugby League World Cup 2013 Final: Start Time, Live Stream Info and Prediction

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Rugby League World Cup 2013 Final: Start Time, Live Stream Info and Prediction
Michael Steele/Getty Images

In what's likely to be the biggest clash of 2013, the Rugby League World Cup reaches its close this weekend with two of the globe's titans, New Zealand and Australia, rounding off matters.

The Southern Hemisphere duo have both been in extraordinary form over the last month, showcasing what talent the NRL has to offer with their thriving rosters.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Kiwis are hoping that they'll be able to repeat the heroics of 2008 by staging back-to-back final triumphs over Tim Sheens and his men, but the Kangaroos will be all too aware of that danger this time around.

In a bid to tie up a 10th World Cup title, Australia head into this encounter as the firm favourites to come out on top, but will they live up to the hype in this trans-Tasman encounter?

 

Date: Saturday, Nov. 30

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

Viewing Info: BBC One

Live Stream: BBC Sport website

 

Australia Strength: Mentality

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Aside from breaking down all the physical, tactical and strategical aspects of this match, at its very core lies a simple truth: Australia know how to win.

Yes, that trait was put to the test thanks to their shock loss to the Kiwis five years ago, but having been stung once, the same mistake isn't likely to be made, especially not twice in a row.

After all, complacency is an affliction that can touch even the most invincible of powers and after making their way to six consecutive finals prior to 2008, the Kangaroos were due a loss sooner or later.

With that defeat out of the way, the superb talent that's within the Australian squad is simply helped on even further by the fact that, regardless of the strength of their opposition, the nation have mauled all those in their way so far in this tournament, New Zealand being next in their sights.

 

New Zealand Strength: Flair Potential

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Just like their rugby union counterparts, a lot of the Kiwis' biggest assets lie in their ability to create something out of nothing, as was evident in Shaun Johnson's last-minute try winner against England last week.

With the likes of Sonny Bill Williams, Manu Vatuvei, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and a host of other physically daunting characters in their line-up, New Zealand can't be ruled out of this tie in the slightest.

Coach Kearney recently  reaffirmed his confidence in Williams to star in rugby's biggest occasion, per BBC Sport, saying:

I knew what to expect from Sonny. I've known him for a long time and what he brings to the table from the performance point of view and away from the field too. I knew that he was going to turn up and perform. That was never an issue.

Williams, converting back to league after a few years spent in union, had his doubters regarding whether he could feature as prominently at the top level. 

The second row's victory in being voted International Player of the Year is a rousing vindication that he can do just that.

That being said, it's that flair that often leaves Kearney's side open to exposure, a less defensively cohesive unit than their Australian rivals.

And despite all the attacking talent on the pitch, it's this difference in defensive skill that's likely to tell the tale at Old Trafford.

 

Prediction: Australia 34-26 New Zealand—Kangaroos win the 2013 Rugby League World Cup

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