Follow live updates of the All Blacks' World Cup homecoming at Auckland Airport.

Premium gold

The All Blacks may have failed in their efforts to claim a third successive Rugby World Cup on the field, but they continue to win accolades off it.

Following the Springboks' sensational win over England in last night's World Cup final, the All Blacks' message of congratulations has set Twitter alight.

"Our fiercest rival on the field, but always a friend off it. Congratulations to @Springboks on winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Enjoy every moment," the All Blacks' official account tweeted.


It's since been liked more than 28,000 times.

Fans of both the Springboks and the All Blacks applauded the gesture, calling it "pure class" and in "great spirit".

The All Blacks were dumped out of the World Cup running by a superb England team in the semifinal, before winning the bronze medal against Wales on Friday night.

Days before the semifinal clash, outgoing All Blacks coach Steve Hansen insisted that the All Blacks' biggest rival remained South Africa and not the English.

Hansen also fired a parting shot at the Northern Hemisphere nations and the reported reluctance to support a global calendar.

"Firstly, the northern hemisphere has always had the say about what happens. Six Nations has been doing that for years,'' he said.

"That's one of the issues with our game. We need to become a global game and make decisions that are right for the game, rather than what's right for one region.

"That's the challenge for our game, to put our own personal desires to the side and actually do what's right with the game.''


Earlier in the tournament, the All Blacks were lauded for bowing to Japanese fans after their matches as well as sharing a beer and advice with players from Namibia and Canada - many of whom are not professional rugby players.

By contrast, some of the England players were slammed overnight for refusing to wear their World Cup silver medals after their 32-12 final defeat.