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(...)

All Blacks prepare to perform the Haka before last week’s semi-final victory over South Africa at Twickenham. Photograph: Getty Images.

The top-two sides in the world. The two most complete sides in the tournament. The world’s best referee. The forecast is set fair, for Twickenham, (...)

New Zealand’s winger Nehe Milner-Skudder  evades South Africa’s flanker François Louw  during the  semi-final  of the 2015 Rugby World Cup  at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Met Everest For the ages. The greatest team of all time (...)

New Zealand’s Jerome Kaino scores his side’s first try during the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa at Twickenham. Photograph:  David Davies/PA

New Zealand 20 South Africa 18 “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves,” - Edmund Hillary For the ages. The greatest team of all time met an(...)

 Richie McCaw: will win his 147th cap for New Zealand against South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.  Photo:  Phil Walter/Getty Images

Following Richie McCaw about during a game can prove difficult because eventually he becomes the eye of the storm. McCaw in numbers is greater than ev(...)

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen speaks during a  media session at the Oatlands Park hotel in Weybridge. Photograph:  Phil Walter/Getty Images

Steve Hansen doesn’t play the media game, he envelopes it with hard-nosed Kiwi honesty. This was a masterclass. The New Zealand coach quickly state(...)

New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams meets the media in Swansea. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Search any old rugby man’s bookshelves and Wallace Reyburn’s The Unsmiling Giants will be found. It’s an account of the unbeaten All Blacks tour of(...)

Ma’a Nonu scored a try on his 100th New Zealand cap as the All Blacks eased past Tonga at St James’ Park. Photograph: Afp

New Zealand 47 Tonga 9 New Zealand duly booked their quarter-final place but the world champions are still to shake off the ring rust and look to have(...)

Aaron Smith celebrates with his New Zealand team mates after scoring his side’s opening try in their Rugby World Cup match against Argentina at Wembley. Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters

New Zealand 26 Argentina 16 For a moment it seemed as if New Zealand might be about to go the same way as South Africa on Saturday. Down to 13 (...)

Steven Luatua: “If I can be physical for the whole 80 minutes then I will walk away happy.”

Blindside flanker Steven Luatua has been given the opportunity to impose himself on the Ireland pack as the All Blacks seek to end their season unb(...)