LONDON (Reuters) - The glum look on the faces of the Australians said it all; their best was just not good enough. As hard they tried, they were powerless to stop New Zealand from winning Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham.
To beat the All Blacks, teams not only need to play out of their skins but also need fortune to favour them and lady luck was not always with the Australians with it mattered.
Some crucial calls went against the Wallabies, but no-one was making any excuses after a 34-17 defeat.
“We fought back bravely, but they’re the world champions and they deserve to be,” said Australian coach Michael Cheika.
“New Zealand won fair and square and they’ve been the form team since the last World Cup. We wanted to challenge them tonight, and I think we did, but we just came up short.”
Australia captain Stephen Moore also conceded his team had been beaten by a superior side.
“It’s all about New Zealand tonight -- they thoroughly deserved to win. They have been the best team in the tournament and they played really well tonight,” Moore said.
“There are no excuses from us, I‘m proud of the effort we put in and the way we fought our way back into the match. Sometimes you just come up against a better team and that was the case tonight.”
The Wallabies went into the match as the underdogs, having beaten New Zealand just once in the past four years, but with some confidence of an upset after an inspiring run to reach the final.
Trailing 21-3 with less than half an hour to go, the they looked out of the contest before they responded with two quick tries from David Pocock and Tuvita Kuridrani.
With 16 minutes to go, they had cut the margin to four points and the momentum was on their side, but they were unable to score again as the All Blacks regained their composure and their control, with Dan Carter slotting a drop goal and a long-range penalty before a last-minute try to blow the margin out to 17 points.
“The number didn’t matter at the end,” said Cheika, whose team became the first to score two tries in a World Cup final and lose.,
”It was obviously very painful to lose a big match but it was a great campaign. We wanted to continue that and when you look up a see you haven’t don’t that, that’s when it’s painful.
”We changed the momentum of the game...we got right back in the hunt in the second half.
“We had a good campaign. The heart and courage that I believe has been built in this team and will last us going forward.”
Reporting by Julian Linden