Among Dan Carter’s last achievements in an All Blacks jersey was transforming the drop goal in the eyes of New Zealand supporters.
Once derided as an act of desperation or a boring way of accumulating three points, the five-eighth great showed its importance in two pressure cooker moments at the Rugby World Cup.
His pot while the All Blacks were a man down and trailing in their tense semi-final win over South Africa was later regarded as pivotal by both teams.
The 33-year-old was at it again at Twickenham in the 70th minute of their 34-17 final defeat of Australia.
The Wallabies had all the momentum and trailed by just four points when Carter unleashed a sweet strike from 41m out.
He stood and verbally willed the ball on before it crept over the crossbar.
“I wasn’t sure it had the legs there, which was why I was yelling at it. I was saying: `Go, go’,” he said.
“It was just instinctive. When I got the ball, it was a bit messy. It was a relief to see it go over because it gave us a little bit of breathing space.”
Carter shrugged off two heavy and illegal tackles from Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu – one late and one high – to coolly control New Zealand’s tempo and kick 19 points.
It was an imperious, man-of-the-match performance in his 112th and final Test before leaving for French club Racing 92.
He found it hard to encapsulate his emotions after ending a career which has accumulated a world record 1598 points.
The only real blot had been failing to play in a World Cup final, despite having contested three previous tournaments.
Injuries, which rocked him at the 2007 and 2011 tournaments, continued to dog Carter and affected his form at times in recent seasons.
“It’s been a roller-coaster four years and I’ve had to work extremely hard to get to where I am today,” he said.
“It’s a pretty strong group of guys. We try to do things that no other team’s done before.
“Sometimes we look at the things that we want to achieve and think that it’s a bit too far out but it’s a special feeling to be part of this team.”