RWC 2015: And now the thrilling conclusion…

Often a final can be a disappointment, but thankfully after a cracking tournament, New Zealand and Australia delivered a satisfying final act for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The first half saw the All Blacks on the attack, forcing some magnificent defending from the Australians. It was frustrating the New Zealanders and the question was who would crack first. Would the Australians hold out? Or would New Zealand start to lose momentum?

Dan Carter got the first points from a penalty, which was soon cancelled out by Bernard Foley. Carter added more but they couldn’t break through for a try until the end of the first half, when a brilliant sequence of passes lead to Nehe Miner-Skudder getting over. New Zealand led 16-3 at the break and it was looking like it was turning into a one sided affair.

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This looked even more likely two minutes after the interval when Ma’a Nonu cut through the Australian defence. He sliced through and then left everyone for dead, it was a sensational break and the man in black made it look embarrassingly easy

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Nonu scores after a sensational run

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The All Blacks celebrated and though Carter missed the conversion their 18 point lead looked like a mountain their neighbours would struggle to climb.

Thankfully for the neutrals, Australia got a chance to get back into it. Ben Smith tip-tackled and went without protest to the bin, leaving New Zealand a man down. The Wallabies used their advantage well, driving from the line out to close the gap to eleven. And just before Smith returned they bagged a second try, after Kuridrani muscled over.

Foley’s kick left them a mere five points behind as the match returned to fifteen-a-side. With ten minutes to go Dan Carter hit a superb 43 metre drop goal. It was a sublime strike under pressure and capped a wonderful tournament for Carter.

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Carter hits the drop goal

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Four minutes later he added another penalty to his haul and New Zealand were in control. Australia tried to get back into it, but time was against them and a loose knock on let the ball to Ben Smith. As Australian players swarmed towards him he placed a perfectly weighted kick beyond them and the fresh legs of Beauden Barrett told and he shinned it forward before going for the try. t

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Barrett leaves everyone behind as he gets the final try

It was a gripping end to a tournament which has been full of great games and incident. New Zealand, strong throughout were deserving champions and outplayed the Australians, who nonetheless should be applauded for getting back into it and defending well in the early stages.

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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