Twickenham stadium prepares to host the Rugby World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand while the London Eye is lit up in the colours of the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
London prepares to host Rugby World Cup final
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 30, 2015) (REUTERS – FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY)
1. VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF TWICKENHAM STADIUM
2. VARIOUS OF SIGN, READING: “#RWC2015”
3. INTERIOR OF STADIUM
4. VARIOUS OF AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND FLAGS HANGING IN STADIUM
5. VARIOUS OF STADIUM SEATS
6. VARIOUS OF CAMERA CREW SETTING UP AHEAD OF MATCH
7. MEDIA WAITING FOR AUSTRALIAN TEAM TO TRAIN ON PITCH
8. VARIOUS OF RUGBY STATUE OUTSIDE TWICKENHAM, FLANKED BY AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND JERSEY CUT-OUTS
9. VARIOUS OF NEW ZEALAND CUT-OUT
10. VARIOUS OF AUSTRALIA CUT-OUT
11. VARIOUS OF SECURITY WALKING OUTSIDE STADIUM
12. ENGLAND 2015 SIGN ON FLOOR / TURNSTILES
13. EXTERIOR OF STADIUM
14. POSTER ADVERTISING FINAL ON SIDE OF STADIUM
15. EXTERIOR OF STADIUM WITH RUGBY STATUES ON ORIGINAL TURNSTILES
16. VARIOUS OF RUGBY STATUE WITH WALLABIES POSTER IN BACKGROUND
17. VARIOUS OF STATUE WITH NEW ZEALAND POSTER IN BACKGROUND
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 27, 2015) (REUTERS – ACCESS ALL) (NIGHT SHOTS)
18. LONDON’S PALACE OF WESTMINSTER, WHERE THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT SIT, AND THE CLOCK-TOWER HOUSING THE BIG BEN BELL/TWO LONDON DOUBLE-DECKER BUSES DRIVING PAST
19. LONDON EYE WHEEL LIT UP WITH THE COLOURS OF THE TWO RUGBY WORLD CUP FINALISTS – AUSTRALIA (GREEN AND GOLD), AND NEW ZEALAND (BLACK AND WHITE)
20. WHEEL TURNING, WITH PASSENGER VIEWING CAPSULES SEEN
21. CAPSULES SEEN, LIT UP IN BLACK AND WHITE
22. WIDE VIEW OF WHEEL, CAPSULES AT THE TOP OF THE WHEEL
23. ANOTHER VIEW OF THE WHEEL WITH LIGHTS REFLECTED IN THE THAMES RIVER
STORY: Under typically-autumnal grey clouds and light drizzle on Friday (October 30), hundreds of volunteers and officials, along with the world’s media, prepared for the Rugby World Cup final at London’s Twickenham stadium.
In the culmination of the self-declared third-biggest sporting event in the world, traditional heavyweights and arch rivals Australia and New Zealand will face each other for the first time ever in a world cup final.
Hailed already by some as all-time greats, New Zealand will be venerated in rugby folklore if they become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups by beating Australia on Saturday (October 31).
The old adversaries, both twice winners, meet in the denouement of the global showpiece for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1987 having previously only met in three semi-finals.
The All Blacks swept aside the Wallabies four years ago on the way to ending their 24-year wait for a second triumph and Steve Hansen’s side have unquestionably been the dominant force since.
New Zealand have suffered only three defeats in 53 games spanning the four years after their 2011 triumph and Saturday’s trans-Tasman battle will signify a changing of the guard for the men in black.
The likes of flyhalf supreme Dan Carter and centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith head to pastures new in French club rugby after long and distinguished international careers, with talisman and captain Richie McCaw also highly likely to call time after extending his world record to 148 caps.
Lifting the Webb Ellis Cup aloft would be a fitting end not only for the 34-year-old McCaw, who Hansen thinks is the “best rugby player to have played the game”, but for Carter who missed the 2011 final through injury.
Standing in their path are a rejuvenated Australia side who have gone from a team in chaos and racked by infighting to World Cup finalists since Michael Cheika was appointed last October after Ewen McKenzie’s shock resignation.
Cheika lost three of his first four games in charge but, since slumping to sixth in the world rankings in March, Australia have claimed the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship, culminating in a 27-19 win over New Zealand in Sydney — their first win over the All Blacks since 2011.
Impressive wins over England and Wales in the pool stage confirmed their credentials for the title and having enjoyed a quarter-final let-off against Scotland, the Wallabies were both clinical in attack and resilient in defence in defeating Argentina to reach the final.
They will need to step up a notch again with Hansen naming an unchanged All Blacks team and bench from the one that beat South Africa 20-18 last weekend.
Elsewhere in the UK capital, the London Eye, is currently lit up in the colours of the Wallabies and the All Blacks..
The Eye’s 32 viewing capsules are lit up in either green and gold for Australia, or white and black for New Zealand.
Earlier, 20 of the capsules were decorated with a special wrap depicting the logo of the participating nations in the tournament.
The Eye is located by the side of the Thames river in the centre of London, opposite the Houses of Parliament.