Mighty New Zealand All Blacks Win Epic Rugby World Cup Final Over Australia

01/11/2015 4:57 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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New Zealand's captain Richie McCaw holds the trophy aloft after the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium in London, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The All Blacks won 34-17. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

They're the greatest team in world rugby and this was their crowning moment.

The almighty All Blacks of New Zealand stared down the plucky challenge of their arch rival Wallabies in the perfect matching of Rugby World Cup foes: The Legends vs The Contenders.

And they earned their reputation well in an epic, if not at times uncertain 34-17 victory in the World Cup final at Twickenham in London on Sunday morning.

Before the tournament, the Wallabies weren't tipped to get this far. The semi-finals, perhaps. But the decider? Australian rugby's rebuilding phase was meant to take longer. Michael Cheika's pragmatic, hard-talking program was only in its infancy when the Wallabies set up camp in England.

And despite a wonderful World Cup up until this point -- clinical in its preparation and game planning -- the Wallabies looked far from a team prepared for the All Blacks, who raced to a comfortable 16-3 lead by half-time.

Moments into the second half the Kiwis their focus: steely, precise, ruthless. Ma'a Nonu stepped around Kurtley Beale to score a wonderful try and and extend the margin to 21-3 lead and place a hand on the William Webb-Ellis Cup.

Yet the Wallabies weren't in London to be window dressing. Sensing an opportunity, they pounced when Ben Smith was yellow carded and piled on quick tries through David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani.

21-17. The game, sharply poised, was now up for the taking.

kuridrani

Kuridrani scores and the Wallabies make it a game. (Picture: Getty Images)

But there's a reason why the All Blacks are the most feared team in world rugby.

Gunning to be the only team in World Cup history to win both three Cups, and win back-to-back titles after dominating the 2011 tournament, they turned to their marshal Carter.

Six golden points off Carter's boot pushed the score to 27-17, a 10-point lead the Wallabies threatened to breach with controlled possession in the final minutes.

dan carter

Who else but Dan Carter. (Picture: Getty Images)

But a slip-up from Drew Mitchell and the nimble pegs of Beauden Barrett gave the All Blacks the late try to push the Cup beyond Australia's reach and etch their place in rugby lore.

all blacks celebrate

That's what winning a World Cup looks like. (Picture: Getty Images)

Richie McCaw turned his thoughts away from retirement when asked at full-time, a career so marked with grand moments that this would seem a fitting curtain call. Wallabies captain Stephen Moore and Cheika, bitterly disappointed, were magnanimous in defeat.

New Zealand was the best team in Rugby World Cup 2015, and the best team in the final. Now it's literally the best team in rugby history.

all blacks

The greatest. (Picture: Getty Images)

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