PIRATES skipper Darcy Ward will be hoping to help Australia end a 12-year wait for glory when he lines up in the World Cup final tonight.

Ward will be one of a four-man Aussie team locking horns against holders Poland, Alun Rossiter’s Great Britain and Denmark in Bydgoszcz.

Poland, who have won six of the past nine World Cups, will be warm favourites to emerge triumphant on home shale, while Australia last won the trophy in 2002.

Ward and former Pirates ace Chris Holder both scored 11 points as Australia booked a place in the final after winning a race-off against Sweden, USA and Czech Republic on Wednesday.

The Aussies enjoyed a titanic tussle with the Swedes during an eventful meeting at the Polonia Stadium, eventually prevailing by 11 points with Troy Batchelor (11) and Jason Doyle (10) also contributing.

Greg Hancock, a hero of Poole’s Elite League title win last season, was the event’s top scorer with a 21-point maximum for USA, while Pirates star Vaclav Milik carded nine points for back-markers Czech Republic, his highlight being a heat six win over Batchelor, Oliver Berntzon and Ricky Wells.

Speedway World Cup race-off result: 43 Australia, 32 Sweden, 26 USA, 24 Czech Republic.