All the information and reflection from around the game
In Charts – Want to know what really happened – here’s the whole World Cup as data
5 reasons why New Zealand won it - The All Blacks timed their run into form to perfection, had one of the world’s shrewdest coaches and every player, regardless of how many caps he had, played as if his life depended on it. More here.
Team of the Tourno - Following 44 days of competition and 48 games, Steve James picks the top XV players, replacements and coach that impressed him
The Best Tries of the World Cup? – ESPN reckons that would be USA against Samoa and one from Canada…shameless
10 Best moments, in video – pick of the pops from PlanetRugby including Craig Joubert’s sprint finish after awarding Australia a last-minute penalty.
Why England Lose – Why are we so far behind the southern hemisphere teams? Be it coaching or playing, Antipodeans are light years ahead of the rest. Chris Hewett assesses the reasons for the huge class divide.
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New Zealand 34 – 17 Australia
The review of England’s World Cup campaign will be able to reach one swift conclusion: they would not have won the final no matter who was in charge because New Zealand played at a level few teams in the history of the game have reached. Australia were the best of the rest but they were a distinct second to the All Blacks, despite a brief rally in the second half when they had a man advantage, as the holders became the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup and win it for a third time.
Four years ago, New Zealand limped their way to victory in the final against France in Auckland, and not just because Richie McCaw played on one foot. It had been 24 years since they had won the tournament and they were beset by nerves, looking to do enough and no more. Their first emotion on hearing the final whistle was relief rather than joy, but here, their first World Cup success on foreign soil, the reaction was one of rapture. A team at the peak of its powers played with assurance from the start and was not thrown by the few moments when Australia were more than a speed bump.
More at TheGuardian
Despite key retirements Kiwis can be even better when the tournament next comes around in 2019
South Africa 24 - 13 Argentina
South Africa comfortably won the World Cup’s bronze final, which played out as part rugby match, part hall of fame parade, with a series of farewells to substituted players taking their leave of the Test stage. Surprisingly, perhaps, one of those withdrawn early was Bryan Habana, when the great wing was still stuck short of a couple of personal scoring records, but Heyneke Meyer, whose own future as Springbok head coach is uncertain for different reasons, clearly valued the crowd giving Habana a heartfelt ovation over any new entry in the history books.
More at TheIndependent
Bryan Habana fell short of a number of records on, probably, his last World Cup game
With the Final just a day away, we look at the important information and statistics ahead of the showdown
- The All Blacks are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups after triumphing on home soil in 2011.
- If they succeed it will be the first time they have won the trophy outside of New Zealand.
- Both Australia and New Zealand are aiming to become the first country to lift the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time.
- Of New Zealand’s 18 opponents faced at the World Cup, they have a losing track record against only two of them, Australia and South Africa.
- The All Blacks have won one and lost two matches against Australia in previous Rugby World Cup matches.
- The last time these sides met at the World Cup, New Zealand won 20-6. That was during the 2011 semi-finals at Eden Park in Auckland.
More at PlanetRugby
Australia and New Zealand are both in their fourth final…looking for their third win.