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Australia’s spirited World Cup final battle against what many consider to be the best All Blacks side ever, was “just the start”.

So said the Wallabies popular coach Michael Chelka following the all-southern hemisphere climax to the competition at Twickenham yesterday.

The unfancied Australian side – tipped by naysayers to fail even to emerge from the Cup’s notorious ‘group of death’ – instead took the route that patriotic England fans had taken for granted as theirs by right.

Instead, a side said to be in disarray before the tournament came closer than anyone had a right to expect to nicking the trophy.

But it was the New Zealand All Blacks who made history by beating their neighbours 34-17 – in the end, in some style.

A typically tense opening ten minutes saw both sides stretching each other, avoiding costly errors or penalties in kickable positions.  New Zealand were first on the scoreboard through a penalty kicked by Dan Carter but Australia were level soon enough with a penalty kicked by Foley.

Chances were few and far between but the All Blacks were able to creep ahead with two more fairly tough penalties from Carter. 

With half time looming it look liked the sides would go in with just a six point difference. However, New Zealand had other ideas and Milner-Skuddder went over in the corner, fed by Richie McCaw.  Carter added the extras from the touchline and the All Blacks had a lead of 13 points.

The second half saw the All Blacks extend their lead when Nonu went over in the second minute of the half. That saw them move out to a 20 point lead and seemingly take the game. 

The Aussies had other ideas. Kiwi Ben Smith was sent to the sin bin and the Austrlalians scored through David Pocock.  Another try from Tevita Kuridrani saw the Wallabies get within four points of the All Blacks and now the game was in the balance.

The difference on the day was one man; Dan Carter.  And it was he that restored the momentum for the All Blacks with a spectacular drop goal.  A penalty followed and the point gap was now 10.

A break away try for Beauden Barritt saw the game end with the All Blacks in the ascendancy.

After missing the world Cup final in 2011, Carter ensured that his name would be ever written into World Cup history with a performance that shows why he is the second best All Black ever, according to coach Steve Hansen; second only to the great Richie McCaw whose 149 caps as flanker still bestows him with the title o the greatest ever.

But while Hansen was extolling individual virtues, Aussie coach Chelka was more concerned with whole team performance.

“We’re luck to get to play them again in the Rugby Championship, so we can keep trying to improve” he said.

“You’ve got to mark yourself against the best and they’ve been number one for a while.

“We want to do really good things for Australian rugby going forward, both by the way we play the game and the results as a consequence. The more we test ourselves, the better we’ll get.”

Praising his team’s match performance, Chelka added, “We could easily have gone home but the heart and the courage that has been built in this team ... was such that they didn’t want to do that and [they] stayed in the battle until the end.”

 


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RWC: Wallabies spirited fight ‘just the start’
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