The New Zealand All-Blacks have beaten Australia in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final to become the first ever back-to-back winners of the tournament.
It was an intense match. The game was one of penalties until just before the half when New Zealand scored the first try to make it 16-3 as they headed into the dressing rooms.
Australia must have gotten a proper talking-to in the dressing room at the half because they really stepped up their game when they returned to the pitch. They also benefitted from a few stray penalties coming their way and a yellow card on New Zealand's Ben Smith for taking an Australian leg a bit too high in a tackle. That call, taken with great care by the incomparable Welsh referee Nigel Owens, made Smith the first man to get a yellow card in a World Cup final.
Despite Australia's best efforts in the second half, especially, New Zealand never trailed on the scoreboard. The match was effectively sealed with Beauden Barrett's incredible try for the All-Blacks; Smith found himself surrounded by yellow kits, so he kicked it down the pitch where Barrett outran every other player on the pitch to land a beautifully-centred try. Dan Carter kicked his last conversion as an All-Black to make the final score 34-17 and secure Man of the Match.
It was also rumoured that All-Blacks final captain Richie McCaw was also playing his last international match, but his winning words bring question to that idea: "If you get moments like today, why would you ever call it a day?" Regardless of whether or not he's hanging up his kit, he's certainly hailed as one of the best rugby players ever.
— BreatheSport (@BreatheSport) October 31, 2015
Congratulations to the All-Blacks for playing a fantastic tournament! We'll see you in Japan in 2019!