Rugby World Cup
Dan Carter proves experience key, with Matt Giteau big loss for Australia
Mark Cueto
November 1, 2015
Hansen: Fitting send off for 'greatest' McCaw

What a great World Cup final that was. I must admit I was cheering the Aussies on during that second-half comeback, if only to see a closer game, but New Zealand never really looked in danger of losing it.

All credit to the Aussies for the way they played, but New Zealand were by far the better team across the park. It's a fitting finale for the guys like Ma'a Nonu, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith and so on, who have been together and been the best in the world for so long.

People will probably look at the Matt Giteau injury as a game-changer, and who knows what difference it could have made. I'm not sure it would have been a big enough one, though. He might have helped the Aussies get a few more points, or another try, but a 17-point gap is pretty emphatic.

Matt Giteau tries to get up following an injury
Matt Giteau tries to get up following an injury© Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Australia will probably look at their first half as a key area, because they just struggled to get going, but in truth, New Zealand were just too good. The All Blacks came out absolutely firing, and they took their points whenever they had a chance. There are key periods to score points in a game -- just before half-time, and just after half-time -- and New Zealand did both.

Hansen: Fitting send off for 'greatest' McCaw

While New Zealand were better across the park, credit has to go to Dan Carter. He marshaled the team and just knew what to do in every situation. The drop goal was such a vital moment, and he just knew his pack had been battering away and a three pointer might be a better boost than another five minutes of hard graft. Having a No.10 who is that good at reading the game, and that experienced in big games -- even if it was his first final! -- is vital. That's possibly where Giteau was a big loss -- for his experience.

A key area was always going to be the battle on the ground. Michael Hooper and David Pocock have been so good for Australia, and we've heard all about them throughout the tournament. Maybe they've had more coverage because they were in England's pool and so on, and New Zealand haven't gotten out of second gear at times, but when it came down to it, McCaw and Jerome Kaino just dominated on the floor. There were a few Aussie turnovers, but the ferocity with which New Zealand hit and stole ball was too hard to live with. Aaron Smith was playing with turnover ball all day long.

The turnovers; Dan Carter; the experience; scoring at vital times; and not losing key players to injury. At the end of the day, New Zealand just got everything right, and everything went their way. It was a fitting finale for the greatest team in the world.

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