Sonny Bill Williams offloads to Ma’a Nonu, who shredded the Australia defence to score New Zealand’s second try of the final. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

New Zealand 34 Australia 17 So sometimes sport leaves no room for argument and does do perfect finales after all. The best team of the last fou(...)

  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 (...)

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hold aloft the Webb Ellis Cup after New Zealand’s win over Australia in the World Cup Final at Twickenham. Photograph:      Stu Forster/Getty Images

New Zealand 34 Australia 17 Simply the best, and perhaps now the best of all time. In any event, it’s hard to argue a case for a better team in(...)

 Michael Cheika arrives for the World Cup semi-final against Argentina at Twickenham. Cheika has led Australia to a first World Cup final in 12 years. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Listening to Michael Cheika calmly take all refereeing decisions on the chin, it’s been hard to equate this remodelled man with the coach who once ber(...)

Scrumhalf Aaron Smith’s dynamic contributions have enabled New Zealand to play with the fast tempo that has become their hallmark. Photograph:   Phil Walter/Getty Images

Go through the history of the Rugby World Cup and aside from having a celebrated number 10, the eventual champions invariably have the world’s best(...)

New Zealand’s hooker Dane Coles has been compared to a young Keith Wood. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Ryan Crotty’s try in overtime to beat Ireland in November 2013 doesn’t get any easier to watch. But it’s instructive to recall the key play and try(...)

 David Pocock of Australia passes the ball during a training session at The Lensbury Hotel in London. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The state David Pocock and Israel Folau show up in may dictate this result. Their loss, along with Scott Sio’s busted-up elbow, would equate to Ire(...)

Scotland players react after their last gasp World Cup quarter-final defeat to Australia. Photograph: Getty

Australia 35 Scotland 34 Almost every game at this World Cup has provided some memorable thrills and spills but this was up there with the most grippi(...)

Bernard Foley attributes big part of his development as a player to his involvement in Sevens rugby. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Bernard Foley chuckles while recounting a story about unsolicited advice he received at a family do the day after he’d struggled with his placekicking(...)

The Australian scrum was dominant all night and a source of penalties and crucial momentum for the Wallabies. Photograph: Reuters

Of all the people who had a cruel hand in ejecting the hosts from their own party, a special mention should be made of Mario Ledesma, the former Argen(...)