NOW the Rugby World Cup final is over, we can start to review the good, the bad and the ugly.
The ugly was we just never seem to be able to dominate and win without moaning about something. There is no love for the French, whether it be their testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific or carrying out an act of war by bombing the Rainbow Warrior.
This said, the way in which our press vilified the French players before the game, calling them dirty and picking out specific historic moments when French players eye-gouged, grabbed scrotums and other misdeeds wasn't good.
The intensity of the final lived up to an outstanding contest between two teams who were playing for everything great about their countries.
Keith Quinn started the attack on the French within hours of the final whistle. If you were to slowly work through the match replay, you would have seen All Blacks as good professional footballers having to win a game on their own soil, where losing was not an option.
Applying tactics such as the short forearm to the head, an elbow here and there, and a judicious short punch. There were no less than four All Black knees to the heads and bodies of French players. The French had one player taken out of the game, Morgan Parra, their first-five. His face was battered, his cheekbones heavily bruised and his eardrum damaged.
Did the French team use the same tactics as the All Blacks? Of course they did.
I get sick and tired of one-eyed, small-minded commentators who believe the All Blacks are the most romantic and courageous group of individuals, who would never push the rules – and the envelope – to win. I regret we did not savour victory with mana.
The bad was the constant goading and booing of Quade Cooper, the Australian first-five.
The good was that New Zealand crowds at rugby matches, outside the sevens, finally dressed up and participated as Kiwi crowds never have before. Problems on day one of the tournament aside, New Zealand's ability and competency in hosting a magnificent event can never be questioned .
We can be proud of the way we achieved this. The arrest rate and charge rate, given the consumption of alcohol and the number of people at different events, was negligible. The Samoan and Tongan communities really woke us up and got us proud of our black flag with its silver fern, as they were proud of their colours. In all respects the good won out over the bad and ugly.
- © Fairfax NZ News