There’s nowhere in New Zealand where you can escape talk of rugby, as the nation salivates at the thought of winning a World Cup for the first time in 24 years.

The final on Sunday will be difficult to avoid, even in some churches.

“We’re encouraging everybody coming to the service to wear black, and just to hang around and be as mad about rugby as the rest of New Zealand,” Daniel Tiati, pastor at one Wellington church, told Radio New Zealand, explaining that a big screen would be assembled for parishioners to watch the game.

“There’s no shelter in any part of our country from rugby, certainly not in church.”

Christchurch Football Club will be one of scores of rugby clubs across the country showing it.

Club captain Toby Giles was adamanet there would be no cockiness from supporters.

“I think most people are confident, but you never know with the French.”

The club is also home to Richie McCaw, the All Black captain whose foot injury – which reportedly leaves his toe bone pushing at his skin like a tent pole after every game – has become a national obsession.

“We taught him everything he knows,” Giles says. “I’m sure the foot is annoying him, but you work to manage it. I’m sure he’s going to have a pretty long break afterwards.”

The tournament has been such a success that International Olympic Committee chairman Jaques Rogge, who played rugby for Belgium in his younger days, believes the Olympics could also be staged here.

“It seems to be a very, very good Rugby World Cup. [There has been] great hospitality, great passion, all the support for the various teams coming together and great organisation,” Rogge said.

Resources have been stretched in New Zealand to hold the 48 games of the World Cup, spread out across the country.

Olympic Games are hosted by a city, rather than a country and only Auckland could ever realistically make a pitch to bring the sporting spectacular to New Zealand.

Despite the Olympics not going to a country of New Zealand’s size since the 1952 Games in Helskinki, Roggesai the country could handle it.

“No it is not too small – you can organise the Olympics with the population of only 4.4 million,” he said.

“Whether it would be useful for the country, only you can determine, it is not to the IOC to tell that.”

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has made only one change to the team that beat Autralia in the semi-final – Adam Thomson replacing the less experienced Victor Vito on the bench.

It was an easy side for coach Graham Henry to pick and the product of a relatively settled selection policy.

It is also a vastly experienced side, with 708 caps in the starting XV. The presence of first five-eighths Aaron Cruden (eight) and fullback Israel Dagg (11) brings the average number below 50 caps to 47.

Many have some experience of what it’s like to miss out on winning the World Cup or missing playing in one. It’s not fear of losing that is driving this team but the opportunity of winning.

“Although they may be ranked the leading team in the world, they have never been world champions and it will be just marvellous to have that title because they have had every other title going in rugby apart from this one,” Henry said.

“So for Richie [McCaw] and the boys I think it would be fabulous. You don’t deserve that title until you do the job but I think they are good enough and that would be the icing on the cake.”