WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand media toasted the All Blacks’ victory over Australia in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, hailing the achievements of a “phenomenal” team many are calling the best of all time.
Directed by the “magic” of flyhalf Dan Carter, the All Blacks fended off a gallant Australia 34-17 at Twickenham, a gripping final deservedly rated the tournament’s best ever.
“An outrageously good performance from an outrageously good team — that was the right way for this All Black team to win this World Cup,” New Zealand Herald’s rugby writer Gregor Paul wrote on Sunday.
“They played without a shred of inhibition, no sense of the enormity of the occasion and most important of all, they played a brand of rugby that was a class above.”
The final started at an inhospitable hour for fans in New Zealand but pubs stayed open to allow them to watch the game and celebrate the result.
After becoming world champions for a record time and the first team to retain the Cup, columnist Liam Napier said it would take time for the scale of New Zealand’s achievement to sink in.
“As emotions fade, hangovers subside and time allows for reflection, the true scale of the All Blacks’ achievement will soon become apparent,” he wrote on Stuff.co.nz.
“Their overseas hoodoo at this tournament? Gone. Suggestions they are the best team of all time? Probably confirmed with their third Webb Ellis Cup, adding to the 1987 and 2011 triumphs on home soil.
“Comparing eras is always difficult but how can you argue with a record that stands at three losses in 53 matches?
“Phenomenal doesn’t do this team justice.”
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who shared a beer with All Blacks captain Richie McCaw after the semi-final win over South Africa, also offered praise.
“I am sure all of New Zealand will join me in congratulating them,” said Key, who was at the final.
“New Zealand and Australia have a special relationship so it was great to see our two sides square off for the first time in a Rugby World Cup final.”
Carter was named man-of-the-match for his 19-point effort, a fitting swansong for one of the game’s finest flyhalves who was sidelined by injury when his team mates edged France to win the 2011 final on home soil.
“At 21-17 up and the Wallabies closing in, Carter stepped up in his 112th and final test before he moves to Paris. This was his time to shine,” New Zealand Herald’s Patrick McKendry wrote.
“After the agony of four years ago, this performance was the stuff of fairytales and no one who had the privilege of being there is likely to forget it.”
Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford