Awesome All Blacks: New Zealand become first three-time champions
New Zealand win back-to-back titles to become first three-time champions
NEW ZEALAND 34
Dan Carter bowed out as king of rugby this morning (Singapore time) when he kicked the All Blacks to a historic 34-17 World Cup final victory over Australia at Twickenham.
Carter kicked a decisive 19 points in his final match for New Zealand as they became the first team to retain the World Cup and the first to win three titles.
When the Wallabies had closed to within three points of the All Blacks in the second half, Carter struck with a monstrous drop goal and a 50-metre penalty to decide the game.
With three tries, two converted, and a further three Carter penalties, the All Blacks put on a brilliant show, spoiled only by Ben Smith becoming the first player to be sin-binned in a final.
Richie McCaw, in what may have been his international swansong, raised the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in four years after 80 minutes of high-octane rugby.
"We played some damned good rugby there," said McCaw as celebrations started.
Carter, who has confirmed it was his 112th and final Test, scored 19 points to stretch his world record to 1,598.
The Wallabies put up a stubborn resistance for much of the first half but the speed of the All Blacks and passes proved too much for them.
The Australian's resistance broke just before half-time, when Conrad Smith, Aaron Smith and McCaw all combined to put Nehe Milner-Skudder over in the corner.
Sonny Bill Williams, who replaced Conrad Smith at half-time, produced two classy off-loads with his first touches. The second put Ma'a Nonu on a 40-metre run to the line.
Before a capacity crowd of 80,125, it put the All Blacks ahead 21-3.
The Wallabies came back with two converted tries in the middle of the second half when the All Blacks were down to 14 men with Smith in the sin-bin.
David Pocock crossed from a line-out drive and Tevita Kuridrani scored when Australia counter-attacked after Milner-Skudder missed touch with a clearing kick.
The two wings with places in the record books at stake, Julian Savea and Drew Mitchell, were unable to cross the line.
Savea finishes the tournament with eight tries, equalling the record for a single World Cup set by Jonah Lomu (1999) and Bryan Habana (2007).
Mitchell signed off without adding to his 14 career World Cup tries, one behind the record also shared by Lomu and Habana. - AFP.
Meyer: Springboks can be invincible
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said his side could become "invincible" after they finished their World Cup with a 24-13 third-place play-off win over Argentina yesterday morning (Singapore time).
While falling short of the standards Meyer set for the two-time world champions, third place represented a recovery given South Africa started this tournament with a shock 34-32 loss to Japan - the biggest upset in World Cup history.
South Africa pushed defending champions New Zealand close before losing 20-18 in last weekend's semi-final.
But with several Springboks still in their early 20s, the future appears bright for South Africa.
"Having been so close, I think this team can be invincible going forward," said Meyer.
"In four years, even another year, they will be a different team." - AFP.