NEW ZEALAND 34
An outrageously good performance from an outrageously good team - that was the right way for this All Black team to win this World Cup.
Never has a team deserved a World Cup more than this one. They have been the world's best team for every day since the last World Cup.
They have been the best team at this tournament from the knockout stages and they were easily the best team in what was a magical final.
Australia did their bit - finally coming to life in the second half and giving everyone in New Zealand some seriously worrying moments. But the harder they pushed, the more All Blacks resisted and in the end, it wasn't so close.
The gap between the two was about right. The All Blacks dominated territory and possession and destroyed Australia's lineout. They had one scrum where they also obliterated the Wallabies and the physical exchanges were, over the piece, very much another area of the game which the All Blacks won.
And what was also obvious was their mindset and ambition. They came out to win this game. They didn't stand back. They wanted to own Australia and own the game early.
They played without a shred of inhibition, no sense of the enormity of the occasion and most important of all, they played a brand of rugby that was a class above. That's how it's been since the second half of the final pool game - the All Blacks playing one type of rugby and 19 other teams wondering how on earth they are doing it.
There is no secret to it. It's all about endless hard work on every aspect of their game. They are fitter, stronger, faster. That's the bedrock - but what sets them apart is two things.
Their phenomenal skill level. To a man, these All Blacks can play with the ball. They can pass and catch under pressure. They can scramble their way out of trouble and conjure something out of nothing on the speed and accuracy of their handling.
Sometimes today they created space just by straight running, perfect timing and perfect execution. They have a few tricks as well that make them almost impossible to shut down.
Across the park they have offloaders and there were a few times when they go going, they just kept going. Their second try also came from an offload - from the master at it.
Sonny Bill Williams capped a seriously good tournament with a brilliant pass that only he could have made. That big arm of his arose out of the contact area and fed it to Ma'a Nonu who had a ridiculous amount to do, but once he was off and in the clear he was never going to be stopped.
It wasn't just what they did with the ball either. Without it, they were just as good. They set up this black line across the field and while Australia breached it twice - when the All Blacks were down to 14 men - they were never going to make that breakthrough in the last 10 minutes.
The aggression and excellence of the All Blacks defence was as good as their work with the ball, and there's not much doubt now, this All Black side is the most dominant in history.
The first to defend a World Cup; just three defeats in the last four years and with courage and skill that is precedent-setting, who could mount any kind of counter viewpoint against Richie McCaw's team being the greatest the game has ever seen?
What can't they do? And it's their vast range of options that sets them apart. There hasn't ever been a team with so much choice about how to play the game.
This All Black team can't be neatly pigeon-holed as one thing. They are rugby's version of the Dutch football team of the 1970s - capable of playing however they want.
That's what makes them baffling to opponents; that's what makes them capable of finding a way to break any team they play. They can run. They can pass. They can kick and they have been willing at this World Cup, and indeed in the final, to do all three to get the job done.
They call it their triple threat yet Australia must have felt that was selling it short.
They make it look so easy yet it has taken thousands of hours to create players so capable.
The totality and authority of their performance this morning was testament to their brilliance. There was controlled anger about their work.
It was missing a bit of polish at times but it was more than enough to crown them world champions and become the first team to win to back-to-back titles.
- Gregor Paul at Twickenham