LONDON — New Zealand became the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup when it held off a second-half comeback by Australia on Saturday to win the final, 34-17, capping an era of rare dominance for a country.
In probably the last international match of his record-breaking career, fly-half Dan Carter steered the All Blacks to a record third global title — and the first outside New Zealand, at Twickenham Stadium.
Carter kicked a momentum-turning dropped goal from 40 meters. Then he booted a penalty before delivering the knockout blow, a right-footed conversion in front of the posts.
In a 10-minute span, Carter made up for years of personal hurt on the sport’s highest stage, and cemented his place among rugby’s greats.
Carter kicked 19 points and was the All Blacks’ calming influence in their win. Throw in the man-of-the-match award, and it wasn’t a bad…