All Blacks captain Richie McCaw hailed the country's new heroes, after New Zealand ended 24 years of misery when they edged France 8-7 to win the World Cup for a second time in Auckland on Sunday.
The Kiwis, who also won the inaugural 1987 tournament, beating the French on home soil in that Final too, were made to work hard by a 'Les Bleus' team that poured scorn on the view of many pundits that they were the worst side to have ever made a World Cup Final.
Veteran prop Tony Woodcock scored the All Blacks' sole try, with replacement flyhalf Stephen Donald hitting a second-half penalty as first-choice kicker Piri Weepu let eight points go begging.
France hit back with a try from inspirational captain Thierry Dusautoir, converted by Francois Trinh-Duc, but it was not enough against a New Zealand side that offered up a tough-as-teak defence.
Victory was especially sweet for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry, who both held their respective roles when New Zealand suffered a crushing quarterfinal loss to France in Cardiff four years ago.
"It's hard to describe," said McCaw.
"I'm absolutely shagged [worn out].
"The courage, what the guys put in out there, we dug deeper than we ever have before, it's hard to let it really sink in.
"I'm just so proud of every single one of the guys. We couldn't have been under more pressure there at times but we stuck to our guns and got there in the end.
"You've got to be warriors to win this and keep getting up and keep getting up, believing in your mate beside you, trusting him to do his job and making sure you do yours.
"All 30 guys, plus the management, everyone did their part.
"The people round New Zealand have given this team so much this past six weeks, it's great to repay them.
"No-one can take this away from this group, they are tough men and I think the whole country should be proud of every single one of them."
An emotional Henry added: "Marvellous. The people have been have been outstanding in support of the team and the World Cup.
"I'm so proud to be a New Zealander standing here.
"There was a bit of turmoil up there in the coaching box, but Richie and the boys just hanging in there right through 80 minutes to win this thing is superb. This is something we've dreamed of for a while, we can rest in peace."
Speaking of their long wait for the title, McCaw added: "I think at some stage some team was going to do it and this group of 30 had the opportunity.
"There's going to be a lot of stories told as we get older but no-one here can take it away from this group. They're tough men and I think the whole country should be very proud of every single one of them."
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