24 Oct 2011

McCaw says bravery got New Zealand over the line

12:46 am on 24 October 2011

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw applauded everyone in the team for the courageous effort in winning the Rugby World Cup against France.

McCaw received the trophy from a very proud Prime Minister John Key.

The captain paid tribute to missing star Daniel Carter after the match, as well as the entire squad.

"The guys dug as deep as they've ever dug before, I'm just so proud of everyone," he said.

"We couldn't have been under more pressure but we stuck tight and got there in the end."

Team coach Graham Henry said he was immensely proud to be a New Zealander and admitted he and his coaching team were extremely nervous as the clocked ticked down and the French kept pressing.

"There was a bit of turmoil up there in the coaching box, but Richie and the boys just kept hanging in there right through 80 minutes. This is something we've dreamed of for a while, we can rest in peace."

France had lost two games in pool play - against New Zealand and Tonga - but pulled it around with a surprise quarter-final win over England and then sneaked past 14-man Wales in the semi-finals.

Captain Thierry Dusautoir said his side had surprised many people.

"It's a real pity but I'm very proud of my boys - we lost two games in the pool but made the final. We read a lot of stuff this week [about how we would lose] but we proved a lot of people wrong today."