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(...)

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen: “Leadership  . . . is a learning skill. Self-belief is a massive thing.” Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

By the end, it was all black alright. Seemingly half of New Zealand had travelled over, and as Twickenham was engulfed in rain and a black sky more li(...)

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 (...)

South Africa’s lock Lood de Jager  is tackled Dan Carter, Owen Franks  and New Zealand captain Richie McCaw  during the  Rugby World Cup semi-final a Twickenham. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

It had been an absorbing, brutally physical encounter in sharp contrast to the often bitter and violent rivalry of decades gone by. Yet as befits the (...)

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(...)

Fourie Du Preez and Schalk Burger embrace after South Africa’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final win over Wales. Photograph: Getty

South Africa 23 Wales 19 Wales fell agonisingly short, a defeat they might haunt them for some time. Not because they didn’t give their all, th(...)

  South Africa beat South Africa at St James’ Park stadium in Newcastle to remain on track for a place in the last eight. Photograph: EPA

South Africa 34 Scotland 16 South Africa held their nerve to outmuscle Scotland 34-16 in a heart-stopping Pool B match on Saturday and keep the(...)

 Samoa’s Viliamu Afatia is tackled by South Africa’s Lodewyk De Jager and Frans Malherbe during the Rugby World Cup  Pool B match at  Villa Park in Birmingham. Photograph:  David Jonjes/EPA

Laager – definition: an encampment formed by a circle of wagons; an entrenched position or viewpoint that is defended against opponents. “I see you ar(...)

South Africa’s JP Pietersen scores the second of his three tries in the Pool B win over Samoa at Villa Park. Photograph:  Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic

South Africa 46 Samoa 6 JP Pietersen scored a hat-trick of tries as South Africa bounced back from their shock loss to Japan with a 46-6 six-try, bonu(...)

 South Africa’s Duane Vermeulen: “If we don’t win we are out. We have to give our all. I’m ready to do that.” Photo:  Steve Haag/Gallo Images

A history of violence. Recent cuddlings of these gargantuan men is drenched in bloody yet wincingly enjoyable rugby. There have been 50-pointer(...)