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Jibes fly before Australia-NZ rugby World Cup final

Defending champions New Zealand are the bookies’ favourites and Air NZ declared their confidence in the All Blacks by challenging Qantas to paint a plane in the winning team’s colours.

Using the hashtag #AirlineWager, the Kiwi carrier posted an image of a Qantas aircraft painted black and covered with slogans such as “Go Richie!!!”, “Dan’s the man” and “Team All Blacks”.



Qantas responded with a picture of an Air NZ airliner in Australia’s colours saying: “While black is slimming, we think it needs a golden touch.”



They appeared to settle on flight crews of the losing airline wearing rival jerseys the day after the final, although it is difficult to determine after the feud went “offline”.

Australia showed its support for the Wallabies with a spectacular lighting display that flooded the Sydney Opera House in the team’s colours of green and gold.

New Zealand and Australia have each won two World Cups, but Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist Richard Hinds was quick to point out the Kiwis have gone into all seven editions of the tournament as favourites and failed to deliver five times.

“A gentle reminder that the mighty, all-conquering, we-are-not-worthy-to-wash-your-socks All Blacks froze like rabbits in the spotlight at the site of the William Webb Ellis Trophy in five World Cups between 1987 and 2011 remains somehow reassuring,” he wrote.

The tabloid also dubbed Kiwi captain Richie McCaw the “Richetty grub”, a reference to the fat, white witchetty grub eaten by Australian Aborigines.

“Adept at using its knees and elbows freely on a rugby field, it has been officially registered as a pest in Australia,” it said in a front-page story last week, alongside a photoshopped image of McCaw’s head on the bug’s body.

Not to be outdone, a Radio New Zealand host acknowledged the Wallabies were underdogs but said they could still “steal” rugby’s showpiece trophy “given their convict past”.



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