French captain and man-of-the-match Thierry Dusautoir was disappointed but proud following his side’s 8-7 Rugby World Cup final defeat to New Zealand at Eden Park.

Dismissed by everyone but themselves, the rank outsiders played with enormous hearts but ultimately came up short by a single point, as the nervy All Blacks won their second World Cup 24 years after their first.

"Obviously we are very, very sad about the result," Dusautoir said.

"But we were lucky in previous matches, so... that is part of sport... that is part of the game."

The French are the only team to reach a rugby World Cup final having lost two matches in the pool stage - and they rode their luck in their semi-final win over Wales.

Although their good fortune finally ran out Dusautoir said the French had much to be proud of.

"Whatever the result, I am very, very proud of the lads for tonight and for all of the competition," he continued.

“We have been through some difficult moments We have been criticised.

“But today we were strong and we showed that rugby is not just skills... it is also mental. Although perhaps today we needed more skills.

"Tonight, everybody was nervous... them and us. There were 30 guys on the pitch and I think they were all scared.

"We rode our luck as best we could but we failed by one point."