Dan Carter savours daunting goal of making World Cup history
Dan Carter has admitted that New Zealand's stated mission to make Rugby World Cup history was "a pretty daunting goal".
But the All Blacks will head home as undisputed kings of the sport, crowned world champions for a second successive time and achieving what no other country has accomplished.
And Carter can now begin a three-year adventure with French club Racing 92, having signed off a 112-cap Test career as unquestionably the finest fly-half of rugby union's 20-year professional era.
"I would have loved to have been in that New Zealand side playing in the (World Cup) final four years ago, but unfortunately I couldn't because of injury," he said.
"I've had to work extremely hard over the last four years ago to get this. There were times over that four years when I was doubting if I would be here or not, so it's a dream come true.
"It was a pretty daunting goal trying to win back-to-back World Cups and do something that no other side has done before.
"To be able to sit here and say that we've done that is just amazing. I am so proud to be part of such a special group of guys.
"The typical trend is that you don't back up well after winning a World Cup. The fact that we did that and stayed as the number one side over the past four years has been pleasing. This is just the icing on the cake.
"I am looking forward to celebrating something pretty unique over the next week or so. Then I need to catch up with family before moving over to France and starting a new chapter in my life."
Carter's 19-point haul proved instrumental in New Zealand sinking arch-rivals Australia 34-17, in what was the third-biggest World Cup final victory margin.
"It has been an amazing career for me, personally," he added. "I couldn't have written it better, to be honest, and to finish on such a high.
"It's obviously time for me to move on and retire from international rugby, so I will be doing that, but first and foremost I will be celebrating and enjoying the next week with a special bunch of guys.
"You've got to enjoy moments like these. It is why we play the game.
"There are a few guys departing, and this team will never be together again, so we need to enjoy the next couple of days before flying home, then it will be time to celebrate with our families and friends."
New Zealand's ferocious commitment and desire was underlined when Kieran Read suffered a first half ankle injury that meant him having lengthy treatment, but he played on and was a key performer during the second period.
Read said: "I wasn't really willing to come off. I've got enough time to look after it now.
"We came here with a real mission - a team that was capable of performances and going out there and winning it."
Read, meanwhile, also paid tribute to All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, and says there will be no resting on laurels.
"He (Hansen) is the boss of this team, he's the leader," Read added.
"He sets a great platform of where we want this team to go in terms of culture. He's great for us. He knows what buttons to push, and he certainly gets us in the right state of mind.
"There are talented players in New Zealand. We will have a good team next year, and we can't rest on what we have done. You have got to continue to get better."
Perhaps the real highlight of Saturday night, though, was New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams p resenting his World Cup winner's medal to a fan tackled by security guards when trying to celebrate with the All Blacks after they had beaten Australia.
All Blacks supporter Charlie Lines tried to race on to the pitch to celebrate with his heroes, only to be accosted by stewards.
Williams was then pictured meeting the youngster and draping his winner's medal around the youngster's neck.
"A young fella snuck on the field somehow, but when he was coming up to give me a hug he got smoked by a security guard, a full-on tackle," Williams said.
"The other fella was a big man. It was lucky he didn't break his ribs or something.
"He (supporter) was so excited to get on the field with the All Blacks, so I thought I'd make it a night to remember for him.
"Rather than the medal be hanging up at home or something like that, it will be hanging round that young fella's neck and he can tell that story for a long time to come."