Defeated Australia captain George Gregan praised his team after their dramatic 20-17 loss to England in the World Cup final.
The scrum-half also congratulated new world champions England, who sealed the extra-time win with a Jonny Wilkinson drop-goal in the dying seconds of the game.
"Congratulations must be extended to the English team, they delivered under pressure and they delivered when it counted," he said after the match.
"But I'm so proud of my guys. We gutsed it out, we fought back, we were down 14-5, we brought it back to extra-time."
Gregan went on to praise the World Cup record 82,597 crowd who turned up to watch the nail-biting climax at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney.
"To all the support here, both English and Australian, for us players it's the highlight of our careers and thank you for making it such a wonderful night."
Nine points behind at half-time, the Wallabies valiantly fought back through the boot of Elton Flatley to force extra time.
Asked what he said to his team after Flatley's last-minute penalty, Gregan replied: "'We've put ourselves in this position, we've got 10 minutes each way, let's execute and keep our heads and give ourselves an opportunity.
"We just came up a little short."
On Wilkinson's nerveless display, he added: "He's outstanding under pressure.
"He missed a few early in the match but he knocked the one over that counted and you've got to take your hat off to him for that."