David Rush, South Coast Herald
New Zealand beat Australia in a pulsating final at Twickenham – the score 34-17.
Australia’s only first-half points came from a penalty kicked by Bernard Foley. The half time score was 16-3.
Shortly after the break Ma’a Nonu scorched through to score again. Carter missed the kick but at 21-3, the Wallabies looked like a horse with a broken leg … needing to be put out of its misery.
Yet somehow Australia clawed back into the game as only an Australian team can.
Their cause was helped by Ben Smith who got a yellow card and sent to the Sin Bin for 10 minutes. In this time the Wallabies scored twice to narrow the score to just four points.
With the 82 000 spectators belting out Swing Low Sweet Chariot the game was most certainly on!
It was at this point in the game that Dan Carter showed his class. Well, eventually.
When he missed touch with a penalty clearance it seemed like New Zealand’s choking ghosts had entered the stadium.
However, Carter settled nerves with a superb drop goal and then a long range penalty.
It meant Australia had to throw caution to the wind and mistakes were made from which New Zealand scored through Beauden Barrett to increase the scoreline.
Carter was man of the match.
Australia’s coach Michael Cheika said the better team had won, that New Zealand had just been too good. The seemingly unflappable All Black coach Steve Hansen gave praise to a ‘special’ team.
Overall it was a fantastic spectacle with five tries scored in the game.
The All Blacks have now won the trophy three times, in 1987, 2012 and 2015.
South Africa could perhaps take some comfort knowing they had New Zealand under real pressure last week. The flip side of that is that they’ll feel they could have beaten Australia.
Until Japan then in 2019. In the meantime rugby fans can enjoy a break, allow blood pressures to return to normal, and then look forward to Super Rugby in the new year – and of course the Rugby Championship.