New Zealand overcomes Australia 34-17 at Twickenham to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup
All Blacks become the first nation to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times
Wallabies lost kane Douglas and Matt Giteau in the opening half hour to injury
Kiwi wing Nehe Milner-Skudder scored only try of the first half with the boot of Daniel Carter making up the scoring to give the All Blacks a 16-3 lead at the break
Ma’a Nonu’s try two minutes after the restart gives New Zealand an 18-point advantage
Fullback Ben Smith became the first player in RWC history to be sin-binned in a final
Tries from David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani brought the Aussies back within punching distance
Drop-goal and penalty from Carter before a try from Beauden Barrett late on secures second successive RWC triumph for New Zealand
Not many Rugby World Cup finals are won comfortably, but the eighth instalment of the competition was different as New Zealand in the end overwhelmed Australia to lift their second successive Webb Ellis Cup in front of a sell-out crowd at Twickenham on Saturday.
The legendary All Black quartet of Captain Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith concluded their international careers in the appropriate fashion as New Zealand became the first nation ever to win the Rugby World Cup on three occasions.
For many New Zealanders Carter and McCaw are superheroes and today they lived up to that reputation with their relentless, yet intelligent tough grind all over the pitch. The 34-year-old skipper also cemented his name even more into history as he became the first Captain to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on two occasions.
More than 80,000 packed into the South-West London Stadium to witness a heavily physical first half with the Wallabies losing key players Kane Douglas and Matt Giteau to injury in the opening half an hour. Nehe Milner-Skudder’s try plus a conversion and three penalties from Carter made up the All Blacks first half scoring while Bernard Foley’s single three-pointer had the Aussies on the board, 16-3.
The odds were now against Australia as no team had ever come from behind at half-time to win a World Cup final. Things then went from bad to worse for the Wallabies when Nonu thundered over for a 55-metre try just two minutes after the restart.
However, the game turned when All Black fullback Ben Smith made some unwanted RWC history as he became the first player ever to be sin-binned in a final following a dangerous tip tackle on Drew Mitchell. Australia took full advantage of having the extra man with world player of the year nominee David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani both crossing the whitewash. Foley kicked both conversions to bring the Aussies back within punching distance, 21-17.
Carter though stepped up with a spectacular drop-goal from 35m out before kicking another penalty to extend the All Blacks lead back to a comfortable 10 points. Replacement Beauden Barrett then crossed the whitewash late on to add gloss to the scoreline, with man of the match Carter kicking the resulting conversion to complete the scoring, 34-17.
After a ruthless opening few minutes, the All Blacks opened the scoring through Carter after Wallaby David Pocock stuck his hands in the ruck to concede the first penalty of the match. The Kiwi number 10 kicked the resulting penalty from out wide on the left sweetly between the sticks.
Foley though overcame his nerves to bring Australia level with sweetly struck three-pointer of his own from 24 metres out after 13 minutes. The penalty was awarded after Owen Franks’ bind at the scrum was no good, 3-3.
New Zealand regained the lead after 26 minutes when Carter kicked his second penalty of the contest from 28 metres out, just to the left of the posts. Conceding the three points was a double blow for the Aussies as they lost centre Matt Giteau to a conclusion, with Kurtley Beale coming on in his place.
Carter then extended New Zealand’s lead to six points, this time curling the ball between the posts from 40m out wide on the right.
Then, on the brink of half-time, New Zealand finally for all their possession and territory opened the try scoring. Following some beautiful free-flowing rugby from the New Zealand, they got the ball into the hands of McCaw, whose pinpoint pass found Milner Skudder out wide, and the winger showed great composure to dive over for the score in the right-hand corner.
Carter’s magnificent touchline conversion gave the Kiwi’s a 13-point lead at half-time, which is the biggest advantage ever to be held at a RWC final, 16-3.
And things went from bad to worse for the Aussies two minutes after the restart as New Zealand took a massive stride towards retaining their title through a fine individual score from Nonu. The powerful centre on his final appearances for the All Blacks received a superb offload from Sonny Bill Williams before thundering in from 55m out for the try. Carter missed the conversion but New Zealand were now in a very dominant position, 21-3.
Ben Smith then made some unwanted RWC history after 50 minutes as he became the first player to be sin-binned in a final after his dangerous tip-tackle on Drew Mitchell.
And Australia took immediate advantage of the All Blacks being a man down when Pocock opened the Wallabies try-scoring. The Aussies kicked the resulting penalty from Smith’s sin-binning to the corner and New Zealand were powerless then to stop a relentless rolling maul with Pocock at the back forcing the ball down. Foley made no mistake in adding the extras from wide on the left to give the men in gold a glimmer of hope, 21-10.
The gap was then cut to four points as Kurindrani raced over to the right of the posts. Beale chipped the ball perfectly over the top with Mitchell gathering before slipping in Kuridrani for the score to the right of the posts. Foley made no mistake with adding the extras, 21-17.
Carter though stepped up with a spectacular drop-goal from 35m out, with the snapshot effort out of nothing extending the All Blacks lead to seven points.
Replacement Beauden Barrett then won a foot race to touch down New Zealand’s third try, thus securing the All Blacks first Rugby World Cup final triumph on foreign soil. And Carter stepped up to complete his 19-point haul and the scoring with another sweetly struck conversion, 34-17.
MAN OF THE MATCH
New Zealand: Daniel Carter
Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Dean Mumm, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Kurtley Beale.
New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Sonny Bill Williams.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16:00 local
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Wayne Barnes (England)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)