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(...)

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(...)

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, (...)

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(...)

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(...)

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(...)

Australia head coach  Michael Cheika congratulates David Pocock after the Rugby World Cup semi-final victory over Argentina at Twickenham. Photograph:   Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Not exactly La Bombonera but for this night Twickenham’s groove was nothing like a rugby stadium. The 80,025 crowd was riddled with passionate Argent(...)

 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(...)