All smiles for Cruden
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden insisted the thrill of winning a Rugby World Cup on home soil was more than enough to dull the pain of a potentially serious knee injury.
The 22-year-old hyper-extended his right knee in the 34th minute of Sunday's 8-7 final victory over France at Eden Park and was replaced by Stephen Donald in the crucial playmaking role.
"I don't think words can really describe it at this point but I'm just very honoured and humbled to be given this opportunity and be a part of what is now a winning World Cup team here on home soil," Cruden said.
Cruden was drafted into the All Blacks' squad three weeks ago after Dan Carter suffered a tournament-ending groin injury and was thrust into the starting role when back-up Colin Slade also sustained a serious groin injury.
He said of the damage to his right knee: "I'm not too sure about it at this point. The doc has looked at the footage and reckons it's a hyper-extension, but hopefully I'm a quick healer and I'll be back soon.
"I heard a bit of a snap and I sort of knew that probably wasn't a good thing, but I just asked the doc what she thought and she said 'have a bit of a walk around and see how you go'.
"It was the World Cup final so I didn't really want to come off but unfortunately the knee gave way and I had to come off.
"But I had all the faith in Stephen and all the boys knew he'd step up and do the job and I thought he was outstanding.
"I was pretty gutted to be sitting on the bench but I got right behind the team and I knew the boys were out there giving it everything. Obviously I wished I was able to be out there with them but it wasn't to be.
"The boys threw everything at it and left it all out on the field and it's outstanding to get the result."