The dynasty will go on. Standards will not drop. Success will continue. That is New Zealand's firm belief, despite an imminent overhaul of coaching staff and players.

The epic events at Twickenham provided comprehensive proof that the modern-day All Blacks are the greatest team in the sport's history. Rugby may not see their like again.

Indeed, they deserve recognition in the pantheon of all sports and all eras.

In the aftermath of their deserved triumph at the home of English rugby, the first side to retain the World Cup were being spoken about in the same breath as Brazil's champion footballers of 1970 and the West Indies cricket kings who owned the Eighties and early Nineties. Placing them in such exalted company is entirely justified.


Here are the facts. In terms of win percentage, no country come close to Steve Hansen's men. Since winning the 2011 tournament, they have triumphed in 49 Tests of the 54 they have played, drawing two and losing three.

They have been the undisputed No 1 team in the global rankings throughout that period.

Putting aside their collective class, they possess two icons who bestride the sport.

Hansen has acclaimed his captain, Richie McCaw, as the best player the world has seen.

That is fair comment about the flanker who has twice lifted the Webb Ellis Cup and stayed at the pinnacle of his profession over a record-breaking career.

A day after the deeds of the afternoon, and the night, before, Steve Hansen's voice was a little croaky but his mind clear. Asked if he wanted to extend his contract as All Blacks head coach from 2017 to go through to the next World Cup in Japan in 2019, he said: "I'd probably say it was more likely I won't be there after 2017".

Close behind is Dan Carter; leading scorer in Tests, best No 10 ever, poster-boy and the playmaker who finally broke his World Cup jinx in comic-book fashion.

After a week of playing down the raft of retirements from their ranks, the All Blacks gave them a worthy send-off. In fact, they gave themselves the ultimate farewell gift.

Carter illuminated the grand occasion with 19 points - capped by the left-footer striking a right-footed conversion as his last act in Test rugby. Ma'a Nonu scored a slaloming try from long range, McCaw was everywhere and Conrad Smith dazzled before being replaced at half-time. Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock are the other veterans standing down.


They have swept aside all-comers, but now a period of transition looms. New Zealand must replace the irreplaceable. Yet, despite the scale of that task, Hansen is confident about that process.

'At some point we've got to ask: Where do we go next?' he said. 'Once we do that, it's back to the drawing board. We know we're losing five guys with over 100 Test caps. We're in pretty good shape to replace most of them.'

All Black Sonny Bill Williams has given his Rugby World Cup winner medal to a young boy who was "smoked" in a tackle from a security guard. His fellow All Blacks couldn't be more generous in their praise for SBW.

The Kiwi talent factory continues to churn out players capable of excelling in the international game. Despite that, it would be understandable if the phenomenal win-rate achieved in recent years now dips. Yet, Hansen won't contemplate such a scenario.

'I guess if we allow ourselves the luxury of saying it's OK to take a step back then that's what's going to happen,' he said. 'But if we're strong enough in our beliefs we'll say,
"No, just because those guys are leaving doesn't give us the right to step back, we've got to continue at that level if not improve".

'That'll be the attitude I'll be driving. If we don't, everyone will just whoosh past. We don't want that.'

The message to the chasing pack is clear: don't expect an easy ride from new-look New Zealand.

- Daily Mail