“Firstly, congratulations to South Africa on a historic fourth Rugby World Cup victory. The rivalry between our two sides is truly special.
All Blacks fans will be hurting to have come this close, in a game of such fine margins, and no one will feel that more than Ian, Sam, the players and management. The players showed incredible heart and resilience tonight and we couldn’t be more proud of them.
As a team they have given absolutely everything to be successful and I know I speak for everyone when I say they have our love and support.
As All Blacks they have represented New Zealand and the black jersey with pride, both on and off the field, and formed a deep and genuine connection with the French people and communities that have hosted them.
On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I also want to acknowledge all of the departing All Blacks players and management for their contribution to our game. We wish them, and their families, the best for their next adventures.
In particular, Foz, Bert and Shandy have been part of the All Blacks management team for a long and extraordinarily successful period of time. They have made an immeasurable contribution to this team and its legacy, our organisation and to New Zealand rugby.
Our focus now turns to supporting the team and getting them home to their families and loved ones over the coming days.
Finally, to All Blacks fans and our dedicated rugby community who make our game great, thank you for your passion and the vital role you play in inspiring this team.”