All Blacks retain Rugby World Cup with Wallabies final win
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 31, 2015
New Zealand 34-17 Australia
- Four penalties and two conversions from Carter
- Milner-Skudder scores late first-half opening try
- All Blacks lead 16-3 at interval
- Nonu nips in for another early in second-half
- Ben Smith sin-binned for up-ending Wallabies wing Mitchell
- Pocock and Kuridrani converted tries just not enough for Aussies
- Carter drop goal and Barrett late crossing seal New Zealand victory
Kiwis keep hands on Webb Ellis
Tries either side of half-time from Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma’a Nonu ensured a winning farewell for the Dan Carter generation, as New Zealand became the first side to retain the Rugby World Cup and lift the Webb Ellis trophy for a third time, beating Australia 34-17 at Twickenham.
A number of New Zealanders, including Conrad Smith, tryscorer Nonu, most-capped man Richie McCaw and kicker Carter, are now expected to retire from international rugby union alongside Wallabies centre Matt Giteau.
This watershed for the Southern Hemisphere heavyweights fittingly came on the other side of the world, north of the Equator at the sport’s spiritual home.
The All Blacks were given something to think about by full back Ben Smith’s sin-binning and subsequent crossings by the Aussies’ bruised breakdown prince David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani, to reduce their lead to four points.
New Zealand held on, however, with Beauden Barrett going over late to cement their status as the number one rugby union nation.
Carter’s World Cup crown capped by kicking
Wallabies fly half Bernard Foley’s outstanding all-round display that eliminated England apart, clever Kiwi counterpart Carter perhaps made the most telling contribution from that position at this Rugby World Cup.
His four final penalties, conversions of New Zealand’s first and last tries and drop goal with 10 minutes left added to his early efforts to make a tournament tally of 82 points, and also ensured Carter picked up the man of the match award.
It only seemed fitting that carter won and scored two of three chances to kick over the Aussie posts in the opening 40 minutes. Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu found a couple of fouls too tempting on the All Blacks icon, though referee Nigel Owens resisted the temptation to send him to the bin for such ill-discipline.
New Zealand crossings either side of interval pivotal
Poor binding in an early scrum proved the only occasion that the Kiwis conceded penalty points, while their two tries either side of the interval left Australia with too much to do.
Ben Smith joined namesake Conrad and McCaw in teeing up Milner-Skudder to go over for the opener with crisp passing, spotting that the reverse ball was on. Carter’s conversion confirmed a healthy 16-3 half-time lead.
Sonny Bill Williams’ introduction for the second period by All Black coach Steve Hansen raised a few eyebrows, but immediately paid off as he drew three Wallabies defenders and that freed up Nonu to sprint diagonally for the tryline.
Aussie comeback curtailed
Kiwi full back Ben Smith had to go off for 10 minutes with the TMO drawing Owens’ attention to a dangerous tackle on Drew Mitchell. Australia pressed their man advantage, with Pocock grounding the ball beyond the whitewash courtesy of a driving maul moments later.
Milner-Skudder’s misreading of a Kurtley Beale kick shortly after Ben Smith was allowed back on gifted Kuridrani a try. Two Bernard Foley conversions to accompany that earlier Wallabies penalty reduce their arrears to 21-17.
Carter’s drop goal 10 minutes from time steadied New Zealand nerves, before Ben Smith booted forward with Barrett chasing then chipping himself to land a third try. The All Blacks will attempt to extend their reign to a dozen years of dominance in 2019 when the Rugby World Cup comes to Japan.
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