The English media is lauding the All Blacks as arguably the finest team in international sports history after New Zealand became the first three-time winners of the Rugby World Cup and the first team to successfully defend the title.
The northern scribes heaped praise on match-winning first five Dan Carter but were equally complimentary of the likes of Richie McCaw as they weighed where the two legends - and the All Blacks themselves - stand in the parthenon of rugby and sporting greatness.
Here's a round-up of some of the plaudits after
Owen Slot in the Times of London:
What a way to go. What a way to sign off your last-ever match after 12 years of an All Black career. You spend 12 years of your life searching for World Cup final glory, and then you play the lead role, the Man of the Match cameo in fulfilling your dream.
Carter was immaculate here today. Four out of five kicks at goal, a crucial dropped goal, just when the Wallabies were really testing All Black resistance, a master's hand throughout. As Steve Hansen, the head coach, said afterwards: "He showed all the skills today." Indeed he did. Late in the game, when the Wallabies were ten points down, playing their last hand and running hard at the All Blacks defence, Carter even chimed in with a massive tackle on Israel Folau.
The man's timing is impeccable. What a day to deliver a performance like this. However, though this game had the signature of Carter on it, it was a masterclass from all four of the retiring greats of this All Blacks team.
McCaw was a tower of strength, a ubiquitous presence, a permanent thorn for the Wallabies and part of the reason why David Pocock and Michael Hooper were not even more influential.
This World Cup final victory was the end of four great international careers; four careers that have amassed a total of over 400 caps. A good decade for each of them. The mark of all four is that on the biggest occasion that rugby can offer, they were able to rise to it.
Deliver your best when it really counts. On the last day of your international career. In a World Cup final. That is some way to close the book.
Sam Peters in the London Daily Mail:
This was the game that New Zealand forever banished their tag as chokers.
With 11 minutes to play, the Wallabies were surging back at them and threatening to deliver the greatest comeback in World Cup history.
Fourteen unanswered points while All Black full back Ben Smith licked his wounds in the sin bin had threatened to overturn what had looked certain to be the most comfortable of World Cup final wins.
The Wallabies sensed blood, New Zealand blood. The memories of All Black horror shows past began to drift to mind. France at Twickenham in 1999, Australia in Sydney in 2003, France in Cardiff in 2007. Not another wasted opportunity, surely.
From 21-3 in front and coasting, suddenly the Wallabies had closed the gap to just four points. The momentum was with them and New Zealand knew it.
All Black sides of the past may have folded. Not this one. Perhaps the greatest one?
They have Carter to thank for settling nerves, but truly this was a heroic collective effort. The Australian press had goaded New Zealand in the build up to this game, eager to remind them of their history of falling at the biggest hurdle. They'd never won a World Cup outside of New Zealand was the common refrain.
But this New Zealand side is different. Stronger, harder. When they needed steel most, they dug deep and delivered a third World Cup victory.
The best team on the planet? Without a doubt. The best sports team on earth? Probably. A fly-half whose skills are out of this world? Dan Carter.
Chokers? No longer.
Paul Hayward in the London Daily Telegraph:
Rugby's greatest team were anointed at the end of the best World Cup. And the chief hero among many was Dan Carter, probably the finest player to have played this sometimes perplexing, often glorious game. Where else in life can you find symmetry like that?
A beautiful calm descended on Twickenham as New Zealand pulled away from Australia once and then again after a brief Wallaby flurry threatened to spoil the retirement parties of a swarm of All Black legends. But Carter was not going to head off to club rugby in France with Aussie demons in his head. He wanted to arrive in Paris in style. A dropped goal and a penalty re-opened the deficit in this Antipodean derby before Beauden Barrett finished it off with a breakaway try.
Carter, 33, has now posted 99 victories in 112 All Black fixtures and this was a hell of a way to go.
Stick the label on without fear of challenge. By definition this All Black side are the best to have played the game. That is no subjective bar-room shout. By becoming the first to retain the rugby World Cup - and the first to win it three times - they have buried the myth that their dominance is confined to tournaments on their own misty islands.
These All Blacks have established a landmark in team sports. Many times since the inaugural tournament in 1987 they have threatened to own the sport they play, as Brazil once did in football. Strange, then, that they have spent so many of the intervening years defending themselves against accusations of arrogance and choking. Now, in New Zealand and here in England, the haka-led, dark-liveried brilliance of the All Black way has ascended to a peak no rival can match - in either hemisphere.
There are many ways to judge a World Cup, but the quality of the champions is still the best criterion. You can fill all the grounds you want, but without a winning team who can show people what the sport is capable of you can advance no further than marketing.
A tournament that lost the hosts 28 days before the final found champions who had come the furthest distance of all to deliver the best possible message. McCaw won 131 of his 148 games in an All Black shirt and is the one who held it all together for these consecutive world titles.
Carter supplied the orchestration and panache. The cruelty of his injury four years ago was finally laid to rest. For the team he leaves behind, a large rebuild awaits. For Carter, three money-making seasons lay ahead. Even Paris will envy his coolness and style.
Oliver Holt in the London Daily Mail:
Sport is about the gods of the game and at Twickenham the World Cup Final was defined by the greats of an All Blacks team as they prepared to depart the stage they have graced for so long. It was about Richie McCaw and Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith who are all expected to retire. But most of all, it was about the greatest of them all. Most of all, it was about Dan Carter.
What a final and what a way for the best player in the world to call it quits. Just when New Zealand thought they had won it, Australia's incredible defiance meant that they had to go out and win it all over again. And when they needed him, when they needed his magic, when they needed his character, Carter stepped up.
The victory meant New Zealand became the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup and the first nation to win the trophy three times. It was also the first time they had won the tournament on foreign soil. They symbolise the joy and the spirit of rugby and now, at last, they can say their success matches the enchantment they spread.
For Carter, it represented the closing of a circle. He had never won a World Cup before. He had never even played in the final. Injury ruled him out early in the tournament four years ago when New Zealand won the trophy on home territory. This was his last chance to win the big one.
He has decorated the game with particular elegance and dedication. He has established a knack of rising to the big occasion and on the biggest stage of all, he did it again. He scored 19 points in his team's 34-17 triumph. Maybe that is why Prince Harry wrapped him in a hug on the dais before the trophy presentation.
This World Cup was a fantastic feast of sport.
But it was New Zealand that captured the imagination most of all. They came into the tournament being billed as the greatest team there has ever been. We can argue about that all we want but they proved without doubt they are the greatest team of the moment.
They raced through this competition with panache and skill. They provided one of the stand-out moments when their try-scoring machine Julian Savea channelled the spirit of Jonah Lomu and bounced off three French tackles to score in the last eight.
And when they needed to, against their great rivals South Africa in the semis, they hung tough. They maintained a two-point lead for the last 11 minutes of the match but they managed to do it without ever being threatened. It was a masterpiece of game management.
Steve James in the London Daily Telegraph:
It was the result most would have predicted before the tournament, but it is never that simple, and so it proved in this pulsating final, probably the best of all the eight finals so far, as a wonderfully brave Australia somehow crawled back into the game having been 21-3 down early in the second half.
The reason New Zealand prevailed? Because at fly-half they had a chap called Dan Carter, who reserved one of his finest performances for his first final and his last Test.
He was simply magnificent. When all around him were wobbling after Australia had scored two tries while Ben Smith was in the sin bin, and the score was 21-17, Carter dropped a ridiculously difficult goal to ease the nerves. He then kicked a penalty from halfway to put New Zealand out of sight. He kicked 19 points, but also made 12 tackles, more than any other New Zealander.
Paul Rees in the Guardian:
New Zealand became the first team to retain the World Cup and win it three times with a performance of pace, power and skill that was too much for Australia who, despite rallying in the second-half when they had a man advantage for 10 minutes, were outclassed. Dan Carter finished with 19 points and the man of the match award in his final appearance for the All Blacks, finally and fittingly winning the tournament that for so long had hurt him.
Like the rest of the All Blacks, he was peerless.
Eddie Butler in the Guardian:
It was merely the moment for Dan Carter to bring his All Black career to a fitting end. A great player finished in the grand manner, kicking a drop goal, covering back, demanding to be given the ball, stroking it while others raged over it.
Australia had done their best to stir this game to life, but it was Carter who had the final say.
It was his final and he made it safe for cherished friends he now leaves behind.
Alex Lowe in the Times of London:
On the biggest day of his career, Carter delivered a man of the match performance. He scored 19 points, made 11 tackles and pulled the strings expertly as the All Blacks won a record third title.
It was the ultimate way for Carter's international career to end; the ultimate way for Nonu, Conrad Smith and Keven Mealamu to sign off their stellar All Blacks careers. Richie McCaw is yet to confirm his future plans but no-one can match his achievement: the only captain to lift the Webb Ellis trophy twice.