NZ rugby - 'Harvard and Oxbridge rolled into one'

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Lynn McConnell     06 Nov 2015     Getty Images

Former England five-eighths Stuart Barnes said in his column that the whole world had been taught a rugby lesson by the manner of the All Blacks' World Cup win last weekend.

Now, as the leading team in World Cup history, with more Cups than any other and having won consecutive competitions, the All Blacks had done enough to make doubters reassess their opinions, he said.

"Defence does not have to beat attack in the natural order of rugby things as most coaches lacking the imagination to effect an offensive strategy claim.

"Time spent on skills trumps time spent in the gym," Barnes said.

He was listing his top 10 moments from the World Cup and at No.1 was All Blacks first five-eighths Dan Carter's dropped goal against Australia.

"The world's greatest fly-half of my lifetime has dreamed of this moment all his life. In the spiritual home of the drop kick, the most attacking of fly-halves showed that he is bowing out of the Test arena as the most complete of 10s.

"The drop goal against South Africa was good; the 69th-minute effort in the final was great," he said.

The sight of flanker and captain Richie McCaw lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy aloft at the end of the tournament was his No.10 on the list.

Sonny Bill Williams' gesture in gifting his Cup winner's medal to the boy who ran onto the field had provided the happiest face of the tournament and was rated No.5 but at the same time Barnes made the point that the steward who tackled the boy needed to be remembered. If 20 or 30 fans had invaded the field New Zealand's lap of honour would have been spoiled, Barnes said.

"This was not a case of the good boy and the bad steward. Life is rarely black and white," he said.

Japan's win over South Africa was rated No.2 by Barnes and No.3 was Adam Ashley-Cooper's tackle to deny Wales a key try was rated No.3.