New Zealand ended a 24-year wait as they were crowned world champions with a nail-biting victory over France on October 23, 2011.

Richie McCaw lifted the Webb Ellis Cup after an 8-7 triumph, with France piling on the pressure following Thierry Dusautoir’s second-half try.

Les Bleus had set the tone by marching over the halfway line as New Zealand performed their traditional pre-match haka.

New Zealand celebrate Tony Woodcock's first-half try
New Zealand celebrate Tony Woodcock’s first-half try (David Davies/PA)

Stephen Donald’s penalty early in the second half made it 8-0 following Tony Woodcock’s first-half try but France captain Dusautoir crossed in the 47th minute and Francois Trinh-Duc converted.

France applied concerted pressure in the final stages but the All Blacks held on and breathed a huge sigh of relief as they celebrated World Cup glory for the first time since 1987.

McCaw said: “It wasn’t very pretty, but it came down to how much desire, how much courage the boys had. A lot of guys have put a lot of effort in for a long time, and they weren’t going to let the opportunity go.

New Zealand’s Brad Thorn celebrates at the final whistle
New Zealand’s Brad Thorn celebrates at the final whistle (David Davies/PA)

“We probably didn’t play our best, but we played good enough. I take my hat off to every single player who took to the field.”

Coach Graham Henry, who stepped down after the tournament, said: “We have been through a lot together. A lot of the guys played in the last World Cup and fell at the quarter-final and, to win this, there are no words for it, quite frankly.”

His France counterpart Marc Lievremont, for whom it was also a last match in charge, said: “It is tremendously sad, but I am tremendously proud of the players. We said the All Blacks were the best team in the world. Today, the French team was great.”