New Zealand captain Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis trophy after beating Australia during the Rugby Union 2015 World Cup final at Twickenham in London

Richie McCaw, who captained New Zealand to two Rugby World Cup triumphs and was one of the best players ever to grace the game, has brought an end to (...)

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(...)

Kieran Read and his captain Richie McCaw raise the William Webb Ellis trophy into the air at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Back-to-back World Cups with perhaps the greatest team of all time. How to follow that, especially on foot of five of the great All Blacks individu(...)

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(...)

New Zealand’s fullback Ben Smith  passes to his captain Richie McCaw during World Cup final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Did you spot all those tricolours in Twickenham? The ultimate triumph of hope over Argentina. In the end our people had to make do with being neutral (...)

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(...)

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 Richie McCaw is tackled by Australia’s David Pocock during the 2015 Rugby Championship. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

THE BREAKDOWN Richie McCaw Position: Flanker. Age: 34. Height: 1.87m/6’ 2”. Weight: 107kg/16st 12lbs. Caps: 147 (27 tries) Why he’s so importan(...)

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(...)

Argentina’s Guido Petti Pagadizábal tries to hold up   Australia’s   flankers David Pocock (left) and Michael Hooper  in last week’s Rugby World Cup  semi-final  at Twickenham. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Historically, when a man touched your ball at the base of a ruck he was met with outright violence. This was accepted by the errant openside. Evidence(...)