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New Zealand make history with third RWC victory

International Sports

All Blacks Dan Carter All Blacks Dan Carter Thousands of rugby fans including Princes William and Harry and singer Kylie Minogue descended on Twickenham this afternoon to watch New Zealand win the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks became the first team to win back to back World Cups and the first side to win the competition three times as they triumphed over Australia at Twickenham.

World Cup organisers are celebrating the culmination of the most successful tournament in its 28-year history: 97 percent of tickets have been sold - 2.4 million - and hundreds of thousands of foreign fans have flown in for matches.

Australia mounted a brave comeback having trailed 21-3 early in the second half. But the reigning champions pulled away deep in the second half sparking jubilant scenes as the final whistle blew.

Prince Harry handed the trophy to Richie McCaw as the players lined up on the podium. As the All Blacks captain lifted the trophy, fireworks were set off behind them and the player popped open the champagne. The winning side also welcomed the trophy back by doing the traditional Haka in front of it.

McCaw said: 'We played some damn good rugby there, we lost our momentum in the second half there but kept our composure.'

When asked about his future, after reports he may retire after the World Cup, the New Zealand skipper said: 'I still don't want it to end. I'm still part of this team, I'm going to enjoy today, how can you have enough of this?

'I don't think you ever have enough of it. If you get moments like this why would you ever call it a day.'

'When you grow up, you want to be an All Black. Every time I have done it, I always take a moment to realise how lucky you are to pull on the black jersey. You have to add to what has gone before you. That is the attitude I have.

'Every time I play now I take a time during the week to think about it - after that feeling of excitement when you first get in you want to add to it, leave something of you behind.'

Australia had looked a beaten side as the second half began but they responded with a try of their own with David Pocock piling over minutes after All Blacks winger Ben Smith was sent to the sin bin.

Milner-Skudder's try had helped New Zealand wrestle control of the final by the end of the first half. Kieran Read's sublime offload and Conrad Smith's savvy inside pass carved a memorable score at the death of the half, Dan Carter converting.

The Wallabies battled manfully to stay in the hunt, but aside from several scrapping turnovers the Wallabies were kept at bay by the All Blacks.

But the reigning champions, who are looking to win the title on foreign soil for the first time, dominated the first half against their antipodean neighbours with characteristically powerful and flamboyant rugby.

Within minutes of the re-start, New Zealand had firmly stamped their authority on the game with Ma'a Nonu scoring an outstanding individual try, bulldozing his way through the Australian defence.

Beside a third title, New Zealand were seeking to become the first team to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Cup. Australia were eyeing their first World Cup triumph of the 21st century after being stunned by England on home soil in 2003. Inside centre Matt Giteau was the only player in the team, or reserves, who featured 12 years ago.

The two occasions the Wallabies lifted the World Cup were in Britain: At Twickenham in 1991 and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff eight years later.

Princes William and Harry were watching the final at Twickenham in west London. But it is was younger brother Harry - fresh from an official visit to Washington where he saw President Barack Obama - who presented the trophy.

The 31-year-old Harry is honorary president of the tournament organising committee.

Joining the princes in the royal box is International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, ahead of rugby sevens making its debut at the games in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Sebastian Coe, who ran the London Olympics in 2012 before becoming president of track and field's governing body in August, is also in the luxury seats alongside New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, and former Australian premier John Howard.

English movie director Guy Ritchie, New Zealand-born Aussie country star Keith Urban and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan also secured the prime seats in the stadium.

Also pictured in the stands were Australian singer Kylie Minogue and the News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch who arrived with the model Jerry Hall.

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