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.
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.
“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.”