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All Black's legend Sir Brian Lochore senses a repeat of 1987

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Alastair Eykyn | 14:33 UK time, Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Twenty-four years ago the man who shepherded New Zealand’s rugby team to World Cup triumph was Brian Lochore.

Now Sir Brian, he still cuts an imposing but friendly figure at 71. He is a bear of a man, his huge paws enveloping my own in a handshake.

His eyes have retreated a little with age but they are illuminated by a ready smile.

Sir Brian is a legend in New Zealand. As both a number eight and lock forward, he won 25 international caps for his country between 1964 and 1971. He was captain of the All Blacks for 18 of those Tests.

Lochore

All Black's legend Sir Brian Lochore (left) is in deep conversation with New Zealand coach Graham Henry during a training session ahead of  the final against France. PHOTO: Getty

After his playing career ended, he coached his hometown club of Masterton before moving onto Wairarapa-Bush and, ultimately, the New Zealand national side.

The All Blacks were not the favourites to claim the inaugural World Cup in 1987. The build-up had been turbulent to say the least. They cancelled a tour of South Africa in 1985 owing to opposition to the apartheid regime.

An unofficial rebel group known as “The Cavaliers” travelled there in 1986 with 28 of the original touring squad of 30.

The game was still amateur at the time but, against that, it was suggested each of them had been paid handsomely.

Despite success in seven of their eight provincial matches, the tour was regarded as a failure, with the All Blacks winning just one of the four Test matches against the Springboks.

When they returned, The Cavaliers were suspended from playing for New Zealand for two months.  In their place the inexperienced “Baby Blacks” were selected.

The youngsters beat France at home and were then blended uncomfortably with the returning Cavaliers.

In their final Test matches before the World Cup, the All Blacks toured France. They won the first Test in Toulouse 19-7, then fell victim to Les Bleus 16-3, in what has become known as “The Battle of Nantes”.

Former number eight Buck Shelford has referred to it as the dirtiest game of rugby he ever encountered. He is well-placed to judge – his scrotum was ripped, he lost four teeth and was knocked out.

But Sir Brian remembers New Zealand’s disrupted preparation for the first Rugby World Cup as a catalyst for their success.

He said: “In a lot of ways, those were the best things that happened to us. The public were divided.
“Half of them were supporting the All Blacks, the other half hated rugby and hated the All Blacks because they had toured South Africa.

To give you an idea of the feeling out there, the guys would not walk down the street wearing a jersey with the silver fern on because they never knew when they would get abused or accosted.

“By the end of the World Cup, they were very happy to put that jersey on and walk down any street in New Zealand. That’s how the whole country changed in that period.”

The All Blacks adopted an open policy to garner support. Sir Brian added: “We had to go out and earn the respect of the New Zealand people.

We did that by the way we played in the early part of the tournament. We signed autographs, we talked to everyone. It was the way we conducted ourselves that changed things.”

Sir Brian also made the players live in family homes across the region where he resided. “The reason I did that, was to get the players out so they could ‘smell the flowers’,” he explained.

“They did things they would never normally do, helping out on the farms and that kind of thing. It was supposed to be a bit of a rest for them but the by-product was that everybody thought it was great to have these All Blacks staying with ordinary New Zealanders.

“Most of their hosts lived a long way from the main towns and their children were at boarding schools. They all got them back home from school and they tell great stories of having the All Blacks in their houses. They can still remember every hour of it. Many of the All Blacks can as well.”

The team that went on to win the World Cup featured a host of youthful players just beginning to make their name. To list them now is to reel off a collection of the greats of All Black rugby – John Kirwan, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox and John Gallagher to name but a few.

Sir Brian particularly remembers the selection of the open-side flanker Michael Jones. He said:  “I took a bit of a punt on Michael Jones, which worked out fairly well.

“I hadn’t actually seen a lot of him but John Hart had been coaching him for Auckland and he convinced us that Michael was as good as anyone out there. He was right.

“He was a real athlete – very young and very shy – but he had the goods. The game plan we decided upon suited him. We needed a link-man. We wanted to play a fast, expansive game. Because we wanted to go wide, the breakdown was vital – and Michael’s speed was key.”

Jones became a spectacular success on the international stage, not only helping New Zealand lift the Webb Ellis Cup but revolutionising the way a number seven should play.

His strength and power in the tight exchanges were immense but his ball-handling skills and speed in support broke new ground.

New Zealand beat Italy in the opening game, which will forever be remembered for John Kirwan’s miraculous weaving run to the try-line. Fiji and Argentina were dealt with subsequently in the pool stage.

The All Blacks hammered Scotland in the quarter-finals 30-3, pummelled Wales 49-6 in the semis, then had little difficulty in seeing off France 29-9 in the final.

Twenty-four years on, the World Cup of 2011 has produced the same semi-finalists – and the same two countries on opposite sides in Sunday’s final.

So does Sir Brian Lochore predict a similar result? “I think the All Blacks are in a good position,” is all the great man will say. “Anything can happen.”

Listen to more stories and interviews from the Rugby World Cup on BBC Radio 5 live Sport this Thursday. Matt Dawson presents the show, which runs from 2100 to 2230 BST.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Can't believe I'm gonna say this but...

    Allez les bleus!

  • Comment number 2.

    Fascinating article. Someone few have heard of saying "anything can happen" with the rest of the article listing scores from 1987 that anyone can google. Lazy schoolboy journalism. No insight, no opinion and nothing to leave the reader wanting more.
    Presumably the writer was sitting in a bar when someone else pointed out Sir Brian and said "he was good once. Great chance for cheap article".

    BBC what are you doing!

  • Comment number 3.

    Good article Alastair,

    Lets just hope history can repaet itself, can't have the worse finalists ever pull of another shocking win- would be typical french though!

  • Comment number 4.

    Agree with #2 but also agree with Lochore. As much as I'd like the French to win for ironic reasons, they dont deserve it and will get pasted. Clueless team.

  • Comment number 5.

    Finally some puts into print the history of "The curse" on NZ rugby.
    The bookies are certain that it's been lifted.....I'm not so sure.

  • Comment number 6.

    We know France wont win, but if they do, they will get a big Thank you from the whole of England I'm sure.

    If only we could be there to see the arrogant losers get their just deserts (if they do lose). Come on Les Bleus

  • Comment number 7.

    France are most certainly not there to make up the numbres that's for sure. They have not been at their best by any stretch of the imagination, but if they turn up then this should be a cracker.
    The tactics from Henry and Co in removing the Pocock threat at the breakdown was masterly as was the ability of their back three to deal with the Australian kicking game.

  • Comment number 8.

    If there's any good that came out of the Cavaliers tour it was the blooding of a whole new bunch of players in the Baby Blacks. The ABs were due for a cleanout. That vaunted pack led by Andy Dalton was aging fast. Best thing that happened was it ushered in not only a whole new generation but also a commitment to 15 man rugby. Simply put, pre-1986, AB rugby was effective but boring. Post-1986, it committed itself to 15 man rugby.

  • Comment number 9.

    I should add although AB rugby was boring, NZ provincial rugby was anything but. Canterbury was still strong, Wellington were the NPC champions and Auckland were about to dominate everything. The NZRU had agreed to invest more into 7's rugby to increase skill and technique levels. Also important, the demographics were changing. The first big wave of Pacific Island players were entering senior ranks. You look back at teams like Auckland and Canterbury - their support play was amazing, the skill level good for the period but nothing like it is today. Where the modern era all began really.

  • Comment number 10.

    @stevieeng34
    Mate, if you knew anything about rugby you'd know exactly who Brian Lochore was, whether you were English or Martian.

    @mattythewholover
    Thanks for your good grace in suggesting NZ are 'arrogant losers'. Did you watch NZ v Australia? Possibly the best All Black demolition of their trans Tasman rivals ever. If we do in fact win it will be because we're the best team in the world. if we lose, we'll take it on the chin. Like you've had to with your dismal quarter-final exit.

    Thanks for the article Alistair. Big Brian is a legend and deserves this mark of respect

  • Comment number 11.

    Not only will history repeat itself from 1987, but this competition has been designed to make the All Blacks winners. They have had longer rests than any other nation, and will thrash France on Sunday, as they did earlier in the tournament. The best team will win, but in truth nobody else was going to have a chance of winning

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi QPArrgh: I agree. Lochore is a legend. He united NZ rugby at a time when it was threatening to all go wrong. I would go out on a limb and say if he wasn't coach in 1987 NZ would have struggled to win the WC. A man with huge mana.

  • Comment number 13.

    France are the worse TEAM to make a World cup final so far,and they'll do well to be within 20 points of NZ by the end of the game....not that I'm bitter at Wales not being there or anything. Saying that,for the sake of the sport I hope it's a cracker,but I can't see it happening. NZ will try to dismantle the French forwards,and this time Les Bleus won't have a dodgy sending off to save them. NZ to get ahead early and France to implode,with Lievermont likely to storm out of the stadium in disgust,long before the final whistle. PS. Australia to beat Wales 42-38 in the game of the tournament.

  • Comment number 14.

    Another thing about that '87 side was it contained players who created the template for their respective positions in future AB teams. So John Gallagher's fullback position evolves to Glen Osborne to Christian Cullen to Mils Muliana to Israel Dagg. Each generation gets better and better.

  • Comment number 15.

    I would have added Matthew Ridge between Gallagher and Osborne only he switched to league pretty fast.

  • Comment number 16.

    13.
    Have to agree with you to a certain extent that France have not set the tournament on fire, but they have got the results and deserve to be there.
    I've got a sneaky feeling that the French are going to bring there best performance of the tournament to Eden Park, Sunday, but will fall short to this very good AB side.

  • Comment number 17.

    Interested in the comment that NZ weren't favourites to win the '87 RWC, not going to argue but who were?(and South Africa weren't there)..
    I've always liked Graham Henry,he's got a pretty dry wit which we saw pretty often when he coached Wales.It wasn't always in evidence when things weren't going well but then we'd all be the same there.If Nz win (and I'll be amazed if they don't)then I'll be happy for the guy.
    Most World Cups are seen as the worst ever from memory(goes for football as well) but most of them are pretty similar in retrospect..

  • Comment number 18.

    Think its harsh to say that NZ engineered the draw to favour themselves, thats totally disrespectful. I bet they didnt engineer it to face the Aussies in the semi's who they have never beaten in a RWC match, not to mention to face them without their talisman Carter and a 75% fit Mccaw. Hats off to NZ for coming this far under more pressure than all the other teams put together, the only fear I have for them now if that they face a French team with absolutely nothing to lose and there is nothing more dangerous.

  • Comment number 19.

    Derycr: Aust and Fra were the favourites in '87. The previous year NZ had lost attest series to Aust 2-1 in NZ, the first since 1949. And Fra beat NZ in their last in 1986. The loss wasn't so bad points-wise. Rather, it was how Fra won. Completely smashed the AB pack. There were so many divisions in NZ rugby caused by the 1981 springbok tour and then the 1986 Cavaliers tour, morale was at an all-time low. Few people expected NZ to win.

  • Comment number 20.

    #6 on what do you base the arrogance of the All Blacks? Whenever have you heard them mouthing off about their superiority in the game, their presumed divine right to win, how they are better than everyone else? All I have ever heard from this current bunch is about a desire to win the cup, put the defeat in 2007 behind them and what a privilege it is to wear the black shirt. They seem pretty humble, especially Richie McCaw when in interviews.
    What have England done in recent years to shout about. They clearly haven't progressed over they last 4 years, despite having such a massive player pool to choose from, including overseas players who can not make it into their own countries. They look good against Italy at Twickenham, but that's all. Forwards with no guile, and backs with not much more. Yet they flaunt around at a world cup as if they are schoolboys on tour. The captain of the team (at the time) getting smashed and filmed with a woman who's not his wife, never mind the Queen's grand-daughter, playing terribly. Players getting fined for illegal gum shields (once is an accident, twice is just dumb). Harassing a hotel worker and having to formally apologise. Jumping from a ferry. Now these acts seem arrogant. They might have been laughed with if they had actually done something worthwhile in this world cup but no, they just presumed the French would fold like they have done in the past.
    Do you see NZ players doing this sort of thing at world cups or when on an end of season tour. Didn't think so.
    The only arrogance I see is England fans criticising other teams because they are more successful, and play a more attractive brand of rugby.

  • Comment number 21.

    It's not necessarily that the All Blacks are arrogant, they are a good team and although they do waltz into world cups believing that they will win it, it is more the All Black fans who are arrogant.
    They never ever have any doubt that the ABs will win and there is always an excuse if they don't. They take great pleasure in laughing at the other team they beat, but can't handle it when it is reversed.
    If this bunch of ABs win the cup on Sunday then they will deserve it, but I don't know what will be worse - living here as they go on about winning for the next four years or living here in a country of mourning if they lose.
    And #20 you represent exactly what everyone else who believes the ABs are arrogant. Players from other countries playing for England - same goes for the Island born players for the ABs. And in recent years England have won a world cup and got to the final in the other one...a lot better than a semi and a quarter. Yep they were poor this time, but don't claim that the ABs are more successful when they were knocked out at the same stage last time. Also, the England team might not have behaved well, but at least they werent drinking in bars just 3 days before a game (Jane & Dagg), rather they were celebrating a win afterwards.

  • Comment number 22.

    @21 good points!

    If France win, they deserve to win. As if they win then they will have scored more points, and that is all that matters. It would be strange as they have lost 2 games already, but they have done what was needed of them too win, no more. You have to give them some credit for that.
    If they do win will it suggest that the IRB world rankings and the WC structure is wrong? Maybe. But how else could it be?

    Hopefully it will be a very close encounter, and to be honest, I dont care who wins!

  • Comment number 23.

    Put it this way....if you'd asked the All Blacks to name the one country they didn't want to play in the Final....it would have been France.

    Remember 1999? Every Kiwi does....in their nightmares!

  • Comment number 24.

    A fine idea for an article Alastair.....but would have really loved more detail about the 'transformation' into possibly the greatest ever world cup team. It all seemed to happen so quickly at the time- I remember the French games, then BANG...the ABs are all of a sudden totally on fire and invincible. I reckon this is interesting in the context of today's rugby, where so many people in the game talk about gradual development over a certain time period.
    As an aside from Alastair's starter article, it angers me slightly that blogs like this are invaded by cheap talk about arrogance...so unrelated to Alastair's intial stuff....and a pile of basic, tribal nonsense in my opinion. This blog is about rugby's rich heritage...is it not possible to celebrate that in a simple way and learn more about it in a positive light? Seeing the ABs as a relative neutral (I'm a Scot), I only see a team and country totally focused on making up for past shortcomings and adding to the fine '87 story. So many seem acutely aware of what the French can do if minds aren't in the right place.
    Another true testiment to just how good the '87 squad was that it wasn't fleeting glory- that team was extraordinary for quite some time afterwards...I believe they next lost a game in 1990, nearly 3 years after the world cup....it's amazing what a win can generate!

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Rob, you know, I didn't feel gutted about the '07 result. All the rotations and weak pool competition etc. I thought NZ was completely underdone and would definitely be out in the semi.

    I was totally gutted about '95. Not so much '99 because for 30 mins Fra were breathtaking. If there's ever a game you want to lose it had to be that.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    @24: 'Another true testiment to just how good the '87 squad was that it wasn't fleeting glory- that team was extraordinary for quite some time afterwards...I believe they next lost a game in 1990, nearly 3 years after the world cup....it's amazing what a win can generate!'

    You are right that a win can do an amzing thing for a "team". But usually 3 years later it is a differnt team really! And as a result they arent as good after the WC. I cant comment on what the make up of the NZ team was in '90 but it is a great effort to go 3 years without a loss!
    Loss of key players who retire after a big win at a pivotal point (WCs/Grans Slams) can basically change a team totally!

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 26 Race for life! haha, I cant believe that comment has be removed.......pretty sure all you did was state facts about the NZ team, all relevent to why they might be considered arrogant. Wish I ahd copied it now as it made interesting reading!
    On the flip side I am sure there are lots of examples as to why they are not arrogant....swing and roundabouts!

  • Comment number 29.

    Daverichallen: that team got better and better. Buck took over the captaincy after the 87 WC. Through him the team culture started to change. New players were introduced: Bruce Deans (Robbie's brother), Terry Wright, Ian Jones, Vaiinga Tuigamala, Graeme Bachop, Craig Inness. One of the reasons why they failed to perform in '91 was because the NZRU appointed co-coaches of the squad. Alex Wylie and John Hart have completely different philosophies on the game. The focus ended up all fudged. No excuses though, the Wallabies were by far the better side in '91.

  • Comment number 30.

    How many teams do that after winning the WC? (Cant comment pre '03) but England didnt, SA didnt win the 2008 Tri-nations........So I find it funny teams are called World Champions after winning, epsecially 3 years after, when they arent the same team as such, and usually dont continue to play as well after!
    (But they are of course rightly called world champions, i am not denying them that!)

  • Comment number 31.

    Just don't get this arrogant tone from the AB squad and I never have done. For sure they have certain media pundits and fans who could be seen arrogant or over confident, but never the players or coaches.

  • Comment number 32.

    I never thought I would hope for an AB win but any other result in the final will be a disappointment to those who love rugby skills and ruthless execution on the field. Don't worry about us Welsh; we can live with the injustice of glorious defeat till next time.

  • Comment number 33.

    porridge you should have read post 26.....was basically a long list of why you might call ABs arrogant. Some were fair points......I think you cant tar them all with the same brush, as you cant call all England players ill-disciplined etc.

    I dont understand all this belief in injustice and the glory of being beaten.......

  • Comment number 34.

    @MattyTheWhoLover That is one of the most purile ignorant things I have ever heard. A big thank you from England a?, man you must really have a grudge against the All-Blacks and New Zealand in general. You almost sound South African with such comments against the kiwi's, bitter are we mate about something?. France are lucky to be in the Final, Wales were severely robbed bigtime, so you are supporting the wrong side there mate, but not sure if you actually know anything about rugby? . I hope NZ crush France, hook, line and sinker, because ultimately NZ is the best team in the world, has been for the past decade +, deserve a world cup, whether you like it or not.

  • Comment number 35.

    30 Daverichallen, Aust had a good run after '91. They played the ABs in a wickedly awesome Bledisloe series (only bettered IMO by the 2000 Bledisloes) and won it well. Lost a few games between 91-94 but overall, had the edge on allcomers

    After 95 to 97 NZ rolled virtually everyone. Won a series for the first time in SA. Hit 50+ points v SA in '97. Best rugby-playing outfit we've ever had IMO.

  • Comment number 36.

    Noah I am not doubting that at all, my rugby knowledge is sadly mainly post 03....always good to see world champions playing to the title though!

    Sambozauk......Wales DONT deserve to be in the final because they were fairly beaten. If anyone robbed them it was Sam Warburton (though that was clearly not his intention).

  • Comment number 37.

    I think all the winners have stamped the game they won the WC with on world rugby, after they won it. It's just some game styles have been more successful over time than others.

  • Comment number 38.

    So if France win what will that add to the styles of rugby? Keep your openant guessing so much they will have no idea how to play against you?

  • Comment number 39.

    Well i was going to suggest the old 'up the jumper' tactic but i dont think that's in Fra's repertoire yet! (plus the shirts aren't very snuggly anymore so no room to shove a ball :-)

  • Comment number 40.

    I think France's style of rugby would be to hope for some ill-discipline from your opponents and benefit as much as possible!

    I don't really mind who wins the final, just hoping that France give the AB's a real good game and that it is close.

    Lets just hope that France put up a performance that proves they deserved to be there. Oh wait, they already did that by scoring more points than wales in the semi, and more than England in the Quarters.

    ;-)

  • Comment number 41.

    Can't read 26 as it has been removed. Certainly would be intersted to see as to where you think this current AB squad could be seen as arrogant.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 41

    I don't think people are saying that the NZ TEAM are being arrogant, but there have been lots of arrogant comments from the Fans and people on these BBC posts....

  • Comment number 43.

    Som of 26's comments were things like the uproar from England away kit, NZ's insitance to do the Haka on away matches irrelevant of the home teams requests, annoyance that they had to check into ENgland as foreigners (?), the thought that they were the big crowd attracters.......and more that I struggle to recall.

    The points were interesting, but by no way could they be said to be true of all the current squad. Many of the points probably involved none of the current squad. interesting argument all the same!

  • Comment number 44.

    Liverpaul85, fans being arrogant or whatever seems to be a common theme among all nations..

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 44

    This is true, there are probably some elements of all nations that are deemed to be arrogant by other nations.

    Maybe its just more publicised in the media about the ABs?

  • Comment number 46.

    After the first two games there seemed to be alot of arrogant scottish fans, they shut up a long tme ago though!

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 46

    Thats a very arrogant comment to make! ;-)

    But also very true, they seem to have piped down a lot since England knocked them out...

  • Comment number 48.

    Just helps show UKKiwi's point is valid!

  • Comment number 49.

    There were so many inaccuracies in POST 26 it was hard to know where to start with rebutting them. Sad bitter and ill-informed.

  • Comment number 50.

    Liverpaul85, more publicised in your media for sure.. they're always after a stick to beat us with, even when we're in our off-season.

    NZ media has had a treat from the English team this WC.
    Other than that, they barely get a mention ;)

  • Comment number 51.

    For all those saying " France won't win" :
    You must have then bet your wage on AB victory ! Good luck !
    Allez les bleus !

  • Comment number 52.

    @49 Chris Lloyd: it would ahve been good if the post had been kept up so people could have properly refuted them. As I have already said some interesting points, i doubt they are all true, and undoubtedly a bitter tone to it......

    @UKKiwi101: I wish the media wouldnt report on such rubbish, incosiquensal rubbish! Im sure a lot more interesting and important things have happened over that side of the world in the past month than has actually been reported!

  • Comment number 53.

    Daverichallen, to be fair, most of it was reported in the funnies!

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 52

    i agree with your reply to UKKiwi01. A lot of the stuff n the media about the England team has been rubbish.

    It would be nice if the media only reported the truth but this, as they say, would get in the way of a good story!

    There has been a lot of decent (and relevant) news reported on this side of the owrld recently regarding the rugby WC. Just check out a few of tom's blogs. Also Ben dirs has done a couple of really good reads!

    @ 50

    No real sympathy with you here, i'm sure our media give out far more grief to our teams than to the AB's. Even when we win they still only ever look a the negatives. Either that or they get carried away and say we are the best team on earth....

    And it's funny you say that the english never really get a mention. Pretty sure the only time the kiwi's are mentioned now is when Jonah Lomu does something.....

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 maybe the funnies is where it belongs for being non news. My problem is the BBC and every other news paper I have read over hear seem to think it warrants repition on every mention of this world cup! So wrong.

    @54......what ever happened to Ben Dires...........

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 55, i'm pretty sure Ben Dirs still write for the BBC. judging by some of the articles on here, they definitely do.

    @ 53

    Have to agree with daverichallen. The funnies is the only place for some of the drivel that gets written in the british media. Especially on this site

  • Comment number 57.

    I am sure he still works for the BBC but i wonder if he was taken off the RWC due to the reaction from his blogs. He made some good points but the general read was always so negative (He did some off performance blogs that were a good read!). It would be nice for us to delight in victory for once. Heck some contries can delight in defeat!

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 57

    His blogs at the very start of the WC were excellent, agree that the off performance one's were probably his best work. not sure as to the reasons of him suddenly not writing the reports on the England games. Maybe he was too negative.

    Would be lovely to delight in victory, like you say, some teams (wales) can delight in defeat! I wish England could do the same. Maybe our expectations are raised too high by the british media?!

  • Comment number 59.

    I dont think it helps having people writing on it who are far from experts!

  • Comment number 60.

    meadey37 - France played last Saturday NZ Sunday how do you work that out ? NZ were also in the half of the knock outs with the RSA and Australia. If France should win this then what a team to look up to. Alain Rolland will be given the freedom of Paris should France win

  • Comment number 61.

    @ 60

    i think he may have a slight chip on his shoulder about something. not sure what. Its obvious that NZ have been the best team in this WC. Its clear to see that, at times, they have played the best rugby with the best players.

    Good luck to both sides, hope it is a fantastic game and that it comes down to individual skill and not a refereeing error to give anyone reason to moan!

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 Before the world cup people thought Australia would be in the other half of the draw, and as for Sunday/Saturday......I think that was a reference to the pool games, one day wont make much difference!

    Also Alain Rolland got the call right..............

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 60

    forgot to comment on your little dig at alain rolland. He was right to make that call and i don't think it was to aid france in anyway. Only that it was the right decision by the laws of the game.

  • Comment number 64.

    I find these blogs quite sad how they descend into "red-top tabloid" type slanging matches ............. it really is boring!

    As a fans (of whichever country) if you have belief that your country is good enough to win, why does "belief" get portrayed as arrogance?
    Surely arrogance is slagging other teams off when yours are no longer in the tournament?
    If the AB fans are arrogant then that is the one and only thing they've learned from English rugby!

    Totally agree with #20, you hit the nail on the head!!

    #21..... as for teams bragging about winning............ can you please stop digging back all the way to 1966 everytime there's a football world cup............. NOW THAT IS BORING!

  • Comment number 65.

    Alan Rolland did nothing wrong and it really is time to get over it. It was tip tackle and red card. Unlucky as it was not intentional, but those are the laws.
    France won the match fair and square and now compete for the final and fair play to them.

  • Comment number 66.

    thefallenreds stated.....

    If the AB fans are arrogant then that is the one and only thing they've learned from English rugby!

    Strange to make a comment such as that which you know will cause feedback yet dislike "tablod style slagging matches"

  • Comment number 67.

    I make no complaint against Allain Rolland ..... he's a good ref with a French father ..... but he should not have refereed any match involving France to safeguard him against some of drivel uttered above.

  • Comment number 68.

    MattyTheWhoLover @ #6. Kindly do not have the audacity to speak for the "whole of England". I for one sincerely hope the All Blacks win handsomely. Nothing against the individual members of the French team, just France. I would want even Australia to win were they in the final.

  • Comment number 69.

    31 Porridge

    I agree with you I do find it staggering that some posters find the All blacks arrogant ( i will not name drop:)) but I have met a fair few in my years and not one I have met is close to being arrogant...forceful, confident yes but never arrogant......Now the FANS don't get me started :)

  • Comment number 70.

    I know I know I should not say this on a Rugby blog but....As an Englishman can I ask does anyone anywhere know of an Englishman you talks about ,goes on about the football in 1966?????

  • Comment number 71.

    67.
    Yes and you could argue that a Welshman should never have reffed the SA v Samoa match or an Irishman officiate in the same group as Ireland and the Englishman taking charge of a match in the English group. Personally all this getting into the officials is going over the top... players like coaches make mistakes and we as fans have to live with it.



    . Think that fans who think that these officials are compromised because of the nationality really need to wind their necks in.
    Alan Rolland seen a player tip another player above the horizontal and not return him to the ground safely... that is a red card.

  • Comment number 72.

    It's been a disappointing WC overall. Looks like NZ will win, but this is far from a great NZ team, and they've also been deprived of their best player.

    England, SA, Aus and even France (although they cold still end up winning) all seem to be going through transitions and don't have a side which is comparable to their teams of a few years back.

  • Comment number 73.

    @70

    yes, his name is Clive Tyldesley. You'll find him mentioning 1966 within about 30 seconds of kick-off of most England games.

  • Comment number 74.

    A good article (ignore the few mealy-mouthed comments here claiming otherwise).

    Some of the comments here about NZ are also rather mealy-mouthed. NZ has a relatively small population but has produced a team that is, by most measures, much better than the rest; whether or not they win the final (most would expect them to win I guess), people should be gracious enough to acknowledge this IMO.
    (Not a Kiwi BTW).

  • Comment number 75.

    Good luck ABs. A team who actually entertain with the brand of rugby they play. Arrogant???? Nah, just plain good at what they do year in year out. England were the most arrogant side ever after 2003, deservedly, they were good so could afford to be at the time, but now it`s time to take it on the chin, be grown up now chaps.

  • Comment number 76.

    Brian Lochore's masterstroke was to take the All Blacks out on the road, as mentioned in the above article. Before then, it is safe to say the All Blacks were not held in high regard, particularly after the ill-advised Cavaliers tour.

    Incidentally, one seven-year-old boy to fall under the spell of the All Blacks when they stayed in his Wairarapa village was England's own Riki Flutey.

  • Comment number 77.

    68 TeapartyBrit

    Got to respectfully disagree. I would love France to win the RWC, partly because I actually quite like our neighbours (despite their interminable sulking and posturing since 1815) and would like to see a NH winner. Otherwise, it would be shame if New Zealand were to win as it would finally undermine one of those great mysteries in life.

    A bit like someone realising that Elvis had been living next door for years...or actually confirming the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.

    Another small piece of romance would have left the world!

    May the best team, on the day, win!

  • Comment number 78.

    Some people on this discussion seem to not be able to distinguish between arrogance, opinion and patriotism....

    Saying your team is going to win is not arrogance, it is a patriotic opinion and goes on in every town, pub, football ground on a Friday night / Saturday afternoon in England and many other countries.....

    Arrogance is being aggressively assertive or presumptious which in the vast number of cases is not what is happening.

    So to all those people who ardently support their team, follow them to the other sides of the world, cheer for them etc etc, do not listen to the few on here who translate that in to arrogance.....

    And back to the article that all are meant to be commenting on.... Brian Lachore changed the face of world rugby with what he bought to the New Zealand side of 1987. The game you see played now owes a lot to his coaching.... or is that being arrogant?

  • Comment number 79.

    smackeyes@ 66............ Yep I took the bait and so did you!!

    NZ to win at a stroll.......... they play complete rugby, they have backs that can ruck and maul like forwards and forwards who run like backs...........

    The rest of us in the rugby world should be trying to emulate them because that is the only way we'll ever beat them on a regular basis!

    NZ rugby owes a lot to the team of '87.............. who can ever forget Kirwan's try against Italy........ magical........... as Kirwan broke the mould for wingers!

  • Comment number 80.

    50 UKkiwi01

    Hmmm...not in my experience. Having spent interminable amounts of time reading the NZ Herald, in the absence of anything else to do whilst working in Wellington, I would disagree! In fact, I would say that it is something taken to the point of obsession!

    Everyday, somewhere around page 6 would be an article...the title of which could be summarised as "Official Survey Reveals Poms are C**p!"...before launching into a description of some feature of life/sport/business in the UK revealing a pitiful state of inexorable decline! I was also in town when the Herald was calling for a life ban for Simon Shaw for his "infamous" knee drop (so fierce that his intended victim claimed not to have felt it afterwards). All of this inside a year of Josh Lewsey requiring 27 stitches in an open scalp wound, having been stamped on in a fit of petulance by an AB forward because he was losing!

    This is probably why I have limited amounts of respect for "objectivity" in the NZ media! For anyone who doubts this I suggest tuning into the Murray Deaker Show, part of the interminable RU coverage on TV, and its batty racist phone-in!

  • Comment number 81.

    78 Kiwi62

    Absolutely! A rare voice of reason!

  • Comment number 82.

    @ Kiwi62

    So when Australians display confidence and optimism kiwis call it arrogance but when kiwis do it it's not????

    You know as well as I do that is a load of claptrap.

  • Comment number 83.

    @80 Anglophone,

    I agree - the NZ media seem to be really bad in regards to their reporting (along similar lines to the UK papers when your teams are going well) and I think that is why a lot of people see the NZ supporters as being arrogant.

    However I think a lot of people will find the NZ supporters (most but not all) are still veryt worried about this game as we were about last weekends game, especially as the French can and have rolled us at home in recent years.

    re BJ Lachore - the guy is an absolute Legend in NZ Rugby circles, esp in the Wai-Bush for taking the 1981 NPC team from 2nd Div to 1st Division winning the final in Invercargil after being dwon at half time (no easy feat back then!!).

  • Comment number 84.

    @Davico
    I didnt mention kiwis or aussies..... or any other nationality.

    I am pleased if anyone is confident in and optimistic about their own team in any sport... that is what a "supporter" does. If you are not confident in or optimistic about your own team them you are not a supporter.

    As I said it crosses the line to arrogance when it is done aggressively.....by anyone...kiwi, aussie, english, french, welsh, scottish... whomever.

    Rugby is lucky in that support is almost completely non-aggressive - not what you would think reading the comments here. Football is another thing....

  • Comment number 85.

    So why have the Oz supporters in NZ been treated the way they have been in NZ?

  • Comment number 86.

    Davico... think you are looking for an aguement that is just not there from kiwi62.
    As he says every country has their undesireables... think some latitude should be given to those Kiwi fans who have been shouting four more years... remember where the comment originally came from.
    For every over confident Kiwi that I hear there is a reasoned fan behind shouting the voice of reason. The various media groups are the issue because they like to fuel the fires.

  • Comment number 87.

    Bit of a shame the Kiwis could not get their own mantra though :)

  • Comment number 88.

    Not looking for an argument at all but the way the kiwi fans have carried on towards the aussie fans has been nothing short of embarrassing. Spitting on people???

    And yeah I know who said four more years. A player in the heat of battle and lets not forget who he said it to. BK was a niggly little so and so at the best of times and having personally met him he prob deserved everything he got. Most kiwis I know can't stand the bloke. It was said by GG and if the kiwis want to say it go say it to him though I doubt many would have the minerals.

    Agree that the media are the main issue but the kiwis fans have shown themselves to be hypocrites harping on about the aussies being bad winners and yet carrying on worse themselves.

  • Comment number 89.

    Davico

    some of the AB fans :)

  • Comment number 90.

    @78 kiwi62: Good the hear the voice of reason for once!

    I think for every arrogant fan, there are at least 10 non arrogant fans, sadly it is the arrogant voice that is heard and often listened too!

  • Comment number 91.

    88.
    Look I don't think its so bad... for me the English as a bigger nation bordered by smaller nations take a huge amount of stick, most of which is good natured ribbing and by and large take it on the chin... and in some cases give out better than they got.

  • Comment number 92.

    re: NZ v Aus sledging. It's difficult, I think, for someone in the NH to understand the culture of antipodeans. It's a competitiveness between big brother - little brother. We know we're both equals, but continually trying to prove we're better than each other.

  • Comment number 93.

    @91 being an English man I never take any of the stick seriously as most of it is unfounded.......and anything else can be dished out back just as well!

  • Comment number 94.

    When ne can we talk about the Wales Australia game???

  • Comment number 95.

    @churguys: Now?

  • Comment number 96.

    Powerhitter

    So one and counting well done ....turn the sound down

  • Comment number 97.

    Why are there still so many english on here,trying to wind up the NZ 's and the welsh,your World cup was over a long time ago,no one cares about what you've got to say,so go back to supporting your Aviva teams and let us enjoy what remains of this world cup without your poisonous input. Your like a bunch of five year olds who have been sent home early for being naughty,but are still trying to spoil things for everyone else,GROW UP!

  • Comment number 98.

    That should say..'like a bunch of five year olds who have been sent home early from the PARTY'.

  • Comment number 99.

    yipee

    I actually think this will be the game of the RWC in terms of attack rugby ( I hate the term running rugby). Both the Australians and the Welsh will want to show how enterprising their rugby is and lets face it without the pressure of being knocked out of 2011 RWC. If Beal is truly fit he will want to show just how much he was missed in the semis. Quade whats the betting he puts on a masterclass and with luck he may get a fair deal from the crown.

    Without being rude the front row/ pack will negate each other mainly because in my view Welsh have not got their best pack playing. Pocock could be the difference actually I should have looked at the teams again before I started this as I can't really remember who's in or not Doh:p

    Have to say I am right behind the Welsh, Ma born in Tiger Bay, so I can claim some Celt...can't wait for this one....

  • Comment number 100.

    OhsoNonchalant

    so you don't want our English money in your Kiwi tills then.....Most English people on here have been very supportive of NZ ...yours is the vile and stupid input

    Dear God where do you people come from ????

 

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