ALL BLACKS 8 FRANCE 7
After a 24-year Rugby World Cup wait the All Blacks proved their collective expertise, anointed their coaching staff and delivered their gratitude to their sporting fans.
The victory last night at Eden Park against France removed the stress which had hung over the nation since the All Blacks' semifinal victory against the Wallabies.
When captain Richie McCaw raised the Webb Ellis Cup, the capacity crowd of 61,000 - and a nation of 4 million supporters - bellowed their adoration.
The beast had been slain, the torment which had followed the All Blacks for the past five tournaments had been erased.
France had given them a greater scare than anyone imagined. It was a gut-churning second half as France sought their first World Cup title and the All Blacks battled for redemption.