New Zealand became the first team to retain the World Cup three times

New Zealand became the first team to retain the World Cup third time after they held off a fierce Australian comeback to win a thrilling final at Twickenham.

Wonderful tries by Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ma’a Nonu gave the All Blacks a 21-3 lead before David Pocock and Tevita Kuridrani cut the gap to four points.

But Dan Carter landed a nerveless long-distance drop-goal and penalty.

And when Beauden Barrett scored from Ben Smith’s clearing kick, New Zealand were the first three-time champions.

At 21-17 following Tevita Kuridrani’s try, this game looked to be slipping slightly despite the almost unprecedented support from the 80,125 in attendance and the fact that almost everything was going in the All Blacks’ favour in the first half.

In the end it was comfortable only due to Dan Carter’s incredible last 10 minutes in an All Blacks jersey in which he dropped a goal to push the score to 24-17, and then kicked a penalty from halfway to give his side some proper breathing space.

At the final whistle, the All Blacks leapt for joy, skipper Richie McCaw deservedly mobbed by his teammates. What a test for the 34-year-old – his 148th – to bow out on.

Asked if this was the proudest moment of his career, McCaw was absolutely adamant.

“We played damn good rugby there,” McCaw beamed.

“We lost a bit of momentum in the second half but we kept our composure and came home strong. That’s been the hallmark of this team for the last four years.”

Back home Kiwi fans back home were left squirming when a spirited Wallabies comeback narrowed the score to four points, but on the field the All Blacks captain said he always knew which way it was going, NZ Herald reports.