NEW ZEALAND 34-17 AUSTRALIA OCTOBER 31, 2015 // TWICKENHAM STADIUM, LONDON
No team had ever successfully defended their world title and given that six champions had tried and failed, there was a feeling it would never be done. It was just too hard to either keep a team together for four years until the next tournament or successfully regenerate with enough new faces to give the team a new edge.
But the All Blacks did it: they managed to hold onto half of their squad that won in 2011. Against the odds perhaps, Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock, who were all close to or in their early thirties at the previous World Cup, made it to England still as genuine world class players.
Bolstering this old guard and energising the side were new players such as Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Ben Smith and Nehe MilnerSkudder.
Amid suggestions they could only win World Cups on home soil and that they would once again choke or that they were tool old, the All Blacks produced the perfect campaign to win the tournament as easily the best side there.
It completed a six-year period where they only lost six tests. And it gave the 2012-2015 team, who only lost three tests in that period, a legitimate claim to be considered the most dominant in the world.