Japan players celebrate their momentous victory over South Africa in the pool section – the Brave Blossoms missed out on a place in the quarter-finals but won the hearts of the rugby world. Photograph: Getty Images

Gerry Thornley Match of the tournament? Spoilt for choice. Japan provided the best finish, Australia v Argentina was the most breathless, but t(...)

Dan Carter (centre) has been named the World Rugby player of the year for 2015. New Zealand won the team award. Photograph:  Glyn Kirk/AFP

New Zealand outhalf Dan Carter has followed up his man-of-the-match performance in Saturday’s World Cup final by being crowned World Rugby player of t(...)

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’s team celebrates with the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

The 2015 Rugby World Cup won by New Zealand was hailed by organisers on Sunday as the biggest, best and most competitive yet. The All Blacks’ 34-17 fi(...)

  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(...)

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(...)

Australia coach Michael Cheika and assistant coach Mario Ledesma hold notes during a captain’s run training session at Twickenham on the eve of the 2015 World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

Australian tactics on how to get the better of New Zealand in tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup final have been accidentally revealed by Micahel Cheika at hi(...)

New Zealand’s outhalf Dan Carter prepares to kick the ball during a semi-final match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against South Africa. Photograph: Getty Images

Following an action-packed year for international rugby, which will culminate with Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, the shortlist for the Player of t(...)

Dan Carter is the complete player. His tactical kicking, his passing, his defending were all on the money against South Africa at Twickenham. Photograph: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

On the evidence of the past fortnight New Zealand would beat Australia by 20 points if Saturday’s game was anything other than a World Cup final. Ever(...)