All Blacks are Rugby World Cup champs

MARC HINTON AND KEVIN NORQUAY
Last updated 23:54 23/10/2011
Opinion poll

Who was your special All Blacks hero in the Rugby World Cup final?

Israel Dagg

Richard Kahui

Stephen Donald

Kieran Read

Richie McCaw

Owen Franks

Tony Woodcock

Vote Result

Related Links

RWC Final - New Zealand v France Fans react to All Black win RWC 2011: Richie McCaw interview RWC 2011 - All Blacks vs France World Cup final highlights Player ratings - Rugby World Cup final Final step for ostracised Marc Lievremont New Zealand gripped by World Cup fever RWC - France team gallery True grit wins the day for relieved All Blacks RWC - New Zealand team gallery Live blog commentary - World Cup final Last 24 years of All Blacks v France RWC final online: Fans take to internet Captain McCawsome calm, ready for final Stat attack - World Cup final by the numbers

Relevant offers

Rugby World Cup

Vito’s return the only good news for Lions Waikato’s semifinal chances squandered The difference a year makes for Taranaki Taranaki's Kurt Baker set to miss Auckland clash Savory: Stags defence needs some major work Hearing aid works the oracle for Mitchell Thames Valley, King Country fighting for spots Magpies cruise in Ranfurly defence mode Buller, South Canterbury lead charge Tasman easily keep Wellington's winless run alive

After a year of tragedy; lives lost in Christchurch's devastating earthquakes and in the mine at Pike River, the All Blacks have given New Zealanders cause to celebrate.

If followed a nail-biting 80 minute game in which the French challenged the All Blacks at every opportunity, New Zealand's 8-7 victory was hard fought.  

"Marvellous," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said shortly after the win.

"The people have been outstanding in support of this team, in support of this Rugby World Cup. I'm so proud to be a New Zealander standing here."

Henry admitted it had been "terrible" up in the coaches' box as they endured a tension-filled second half in which the French threw everything during another one of those famous World Cup upsets they specialise in.

"You just reflect over the last seven weeks and what the people have done throughout the country. It's quite outstanding," added Henry. "Richie and the boys just hanging in there throughout 80 minutes to win this thing, it's just superb."

Henry also had some special praise for fourth-choice No 10 Stephen Donald who played 46 minutes and kept his cool magnificently.

"Didn't he do well - superb.

"This is something we've dreamed of for a while. We can rest in peace now.

"I am [happy]... I've just got so much respect for what the boys have done over eight years. It's been outstanding."

All Black captain Ritchie McCaw said the country should be proud of this group of men. "I'm absolutely shagged...we had to dig as deep as we have ever dug before...[but] we got there in the end."

French captain Thierry Dusautoir said he was very proud of his boys. "It's a pity. We are disappointed. I am really disappointed."

More than 60,000 at Eden Park celebrated as New Zealand regained the Holy Grail of rugby, last claimed 8892 days ago.

It was a night for celebration as all the pain, all the angst, all the national soul searching of the intervening years poured out into a black-clad celebration as the All Blacks swept aside France, as they had in 1987.

It was a night for revenge, for the settling of scores with a side that had bundled New Zealand out of the Cup in 1999, then again in the 2007 quarterfinals, one of the darkest days in the history of the treasured black jersey.

All Blacks Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock and Zac Guildford were not born when New Zealand last won the Cup, and reserve Victor Vito was just three months old.

For McCaw, it was the ultimate prize at the end of a tournament in which he dragged his aching body through ruck after ruck, tackle after tackle, to finally lay to rest the misery of the quarterfinal loss in Cardiff four years ago.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content