New Zealand captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter  with the Webb Ellis Cup after the All Blacks’ victory over  Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Not like this. That’s what Dan Carter thought when writhing in agony on home soil four years ago. It can’t end at a training session on the eve of the(...)

So close: Australia’s head coach Michael Cheika  walks past the the Webb Ellis Cup after Saturday’s final. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australia come out of this World Cup a stronger force than they went in. New Zealand are automatically weakened by the loss of Richie McCaw, Dan Carte(...)

Australia’s Captain Stephen Moore and Head Coach Michael Cheika after the Rugby World Cup Final Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

At the end they were the smiling giants. All around Twickenham, into Richmond and on to London the Kiwis laughed late into the night but everyone else(...)

  New Zealand duo Daniel Carter and Richie McCaw chat during the Rugby World Cup final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

In the end it was all about McCaw and Carter. Never again will we see their likes. Certainly not at the same time. Before Carter grabbed hold of this (...)

Steve Hansen has been mentoring Canterbury players, and by extension many an All Black, even before Richie McCaw joined the Crusaders. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

After the father came the son. Des Hansen, who passed away the week of the 2012 Bledisloe Cup decider in Brisbane, was one of Christchurch and the Mar(...)

New Zealand’s fly half Dan Carter takes part in a kicker’s training session at London’s Twickenham Stadium on the eve of the Rugby World Cup 2015 final between Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Martin Bureau/Getty Images

Anyone with even a passing interest in rugby has a Dan Carter moment. There are hundreds of examples of his thrilling brilliance, dozens of near perfe(...)

Centre Matt Giteau is a popular member of the Australia squad. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

As the tournament progressed The Giteau Rule made England’s four-year plan to be successful at their own tournament look badly flawed. If Australia ma(...)

New Zealand centre Ma’a Nonu (left) and wing Julian Savea take part in a training session at the Pennyhill Park Hotel in London on Thursday ahead of their World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty Images.

Ma’a Nonu has always been a phenomenon but maintaining that explosiveness, or being bothered to live up to his talent, took a little longer. The eye (...)

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has named an unchanged side for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against Australia. Photograph: AFP

Richie McCaw, despite some valiant efforts by Kiwi journalists, refused to confirm his retirement from rugby after Saturday’s World Cup final at Twick(...)

When the word is mentioned, Keven Mealamu and Sam Whitelock inhale deeply, glance down at their feet for a second, then lock eyes with the one guarant(...)