Richie McCaw (Getty)
Sydney - Australian rugby supporters Sunday salved their disappointment at the Wallabies losing the World Cup final by acknowledging the greatness of the All Blacks.
The Wallabies closed to within four points of the All Blacks in the second half, but could not withstand New Zealand's spirited finish as they won their third World Cup 34-17 at Twickenham.
Aussie supporters gathered in bars and around their television sets at home in the early hours hoping that the Wallabies could upset the odds and become the first team themselves to claim three World Cup trophies.
But in spite the despair of getting so close, high-profile sporting stars, political figures and fans spoke of their respect and admiration for a team rated by some as the best on the planet.
Golf superstar Greg Norman tweeted: "Too good @AllBlacks congrats on #WCR2015 final. @Wallabies hold your heads high. #australia is proud of each and everyone of you."
Australian Jason Day, the world's top-ranked golfer, added: "Congratulations to the All Blacks. But hold heads up @Wallabies you did yourselves and your country proud. #RWCFinal".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on social media: "Congratulations @AllBlacks v worthy world champions. A great campaign to the final & thrilling fight back by @wallabies #StrongerAsOne."
Australians had come out in force to support their national team ahead of the London final and even Sydney's iconic Opera House was lit up in the team's green and gold colours on the night of the match.
"Absolutely, proud of the Wallabies," fan Simon Ansell said after watching the final in a Sydney bar.
"New Zealand is an ultra-class team, I'm proud of what the Wallabies did, we'll be back in four years' time."