THE All Blacks survived a second-half comeback from the Wallabies to become the first team to win three Rugby World Cups.

The New Zealanders also became the first team to defend the trophy after success four years ago on home soil to win the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first time on foreign territory with a 34-17 victory.

The winners scored three tries to two and led 16-3 at half-time but the Wallabies fought back to close to within four points after the break but in the end Richie McCaw's team was just too strong.

Ma'a Nonu in full flight
Ma'a Nonu in full flight GETTY IMAGES

The All Blacks dominated early and they were rewarded when Dan Carter put over a penalty in the eighth minute after David Pocock was penalised at the breakdown.

But despite not having much possession or territory, the Wallabies levelled the scores in the 14th minutes when Bernard Foley knocked over his first penalty attempt after the All Blacks were penalised for not binding at a scrum.

Not long after the Wallabies were dealt a big blow when Kane Douglas was forced off with what looked like a serious knee injury to be replaced by Dean Mumm.

The All Blacks continued to dominate and after Carter was caught high by Sekope Kepu, he knocked over the penalty to stretch the lead to 6-3.
 

The only thing that was missing from the first-half showing from the defending champions was a try but that came just before the break.

The All Blacks worked the ball to their right side after good work from Conrad Smith where skipper Richie McCaw found Nehe Milner-Skudder in the corner to score his sixth try of the World Cup.


Carter continued his perfect kicking display with a conversion from the sideline and the All Blacks went in at the break 16-3.

Sonny Bill Williams came on at half-time for the All Blacks and almost immediately had an impact.

His offload put the All Blacks on the front foot and Ma'a Nonu broke the line before crossing for his side's second try.

Carter missed the conversion but at this stage the All Blacks were well on top.
 


But not long after, with the Wallabies close to the line, Ben Smith lifted Drew Mitchell in a tackle and was sin-binned for 10 minutes.

It was an incident similar to four years ago when Wales captain Sam Warburton was red-carded for a similar offence.

Smith may have been lucky to escape with just a yellow but his side did not escape and David Pocock went over from close range from the resulting penalty.

Foley landed the conversion and the momentum was beginning to swing.

The Wallabies could not score with Smith off the field but not long after his return they did get on the scoreboard when Genia's chip ahead was gathered by Adam Ashley-Cooper.

 

He fed Tevita Kuridrani who stormed over and with Foley converting the gap was now just four points and it was game on.

The All Blacks needed a calming influence on the game and it was that man Carter who delivered with a drop goal from a fair way out to give the All Blacks some breathing space at 24-17.

Then with just over five minutes remaining, the ice-cool Carter slotted home another penalty from just inside the Wallabies half to extend the lead to 10 points.

The Wallabies kept pressing but when Mitchell dropped the ball close to the All Blacks line, Ben Smith picked up kicked long and sub Beauden Barrett picked up the loose ball to touch down under the posts for man-of-the-match Carter to convert.



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