1 Nov 2015

Carter and McCaw's fairytale finish

12:57 pm on 1 November 2015

OPINION: "Fairytale finish" is a cliche used too often in sports-writing, but it's hard to think of better words to describe how the Test careers of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw ended at Twickenham.

Dan Carter and Richie McCaw celebrate victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Dan Carter and Richie McCaw celebrate victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: AFP

Carter moved on from years of heartbreak at Rugby World Cups to deliver a performance as good as any of the 111 he has produced during his stellar Test career.

He controlled the game beautifully, was the All Blacks' top tackler and looked almost effortless as he kicked 19 points, including a drop-goal for the second week in a row.

His long-time Canterbury team-mate McCaw was also in fine form up against the highly-rated Wallabies back-rowers, making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown and ensuring the team kept their composure as the game tightened up in the second half.

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter playing for Canterbury in 2005

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter playing for Canterbury in 2005 Photo: PhotoSport

Both performances cemented their legacies in their final Test together and their coach Steve Hansen has no doubts about how they should be remembered.

"McCaw is the greatest All Black we've ever had, and Dan's a close second," he declared after the match.

"The only thing that separates them is one's a flanker and you shouldn't play 148 Tests as a flanker. That's unheard of. You put your body on the line every time you play there."

"We are fortunate to have players like that and now the opportunity will come for others to be as good as them."

The moment is especially sweet for Carter who will go on to play for Racing Metro in the French top 14 next year.

Dan Carter

Dan Carter Photo: AFP

He has endured a torrid few years since the last World Cup, with his struggles with injury causing many to wonder whether he would ever be the player he had been in the past.

Carter admits those thoughts entered his mind at times over the last few seasons.

"A couple of years ago I never thought I'd be standing here," he said.

"It's been an amazing career personally and I'm so proud, I couldn't have written it better, you want to finish on a high, I'm so proud of everything I've achieved.

"It's obviously time for me to move on and retire, but first and foremost I'll be celebrating and enjoying the next week or so with this special bunch of guys before moving on to the next chapter of my life."

In his typical fashion, McCaw was trying to play down his achievements after the match.

The 148-Test veteran is yet to confirm his plans for next year, but it's widely expected he will retire from all forms of the game.

He said he's just tried to serve the jersey over the last 14 years.

"When you become an All Black you realise that there are a lot of good men that have gone before," McCaw said.

"You feel that responsibility straightaway - that there's no one person bigger than the team. One thing that I've always been big on is that it's not about being the hero every week; (it's about) just doing your job."

Watch video highlights of the RWC 2015 final here:

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