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Rob Hodgetts

Déjà vu for KO'd Kiwis (269)

Christchur-... I mean Cardiff - Well, well. So lightning does strike twice. And sometimes on the same day.

Not many of us thought France could emulate England’s shock result against Australia and beat the mighty Kiwis. (I have to confess I wrote the first take of this intro about lunchtime and it looked very different.)

Even fewer thought Les Bleus could surge from behind and pull off, if not quite a 1999-esque comeback, then a very good second best.

On a remarkable night in the Millennium Stadium, France again showed that it’s not about what colour shirt you wear, or how many fans you have, or even how you’ve been the world’s best side for the last few years and therefore have a right to win the World Cup because you haven’t won one since 1987.

It’s about belief and passion and spirit. Yes, you need muscles and you need flyers, but all teams have those to some extent. It’s the extra, unquantifiable bit that makes all the difference.

"This New Zealand team is much better than in 1999 so it can’t happen again", they said. "France are out of their depth this time around", they said.

The massed ranks of black-shirted Kiwis came to conquer. They took over the bars of Cardiff before the game and cheered on England as if they were New Zealand B, sensing a sleigh ride through to the final once they had dusted up France.

The pockets of vastly outnumbered Frenchmen were shy at first, but, roused by England’s heroics in Marseille, they dared to dream.

The French team gave them hope, at least before kick-off, by observing the Haka from just under the nostrils of the All Blacks.

The traditional New Zealand Haka before the match against French

But with New Zealand 13-3 up at half-time, the tension seemed to slip off the visiting Kiwi shoulders and thoughts turned to another fun weekend in Paris.

It wasn’t the fairytale French renaissance, a la Twickenham in 1999 when they scored 26 points in 13 glorious minutes, but there’s more to Bernard Laporte’s side than swaggering insousiance and a cavalier attitude. The discipline was good, the defence valiant and, slowly but surely, they chipped away a foothold from which to make their push.

France were further inspired by chorus after chorus of the jaunty “Allez Les Bleus” which is at least more tuneful than “All Blacks, cha, cha, cha”.

But the more they fought back, the more it looked like the underdogs were being cruelly taunted - allowed into their master’s den only to have the door snapped shut on their tail halfway through.

With two minutes left and New Zealand pressing again, it was still hard to believe France would hang on.

But the look of France skipper Raphael Ibanez in the news conference afterwards said it all. He was half-grinning, his eyes glinting, like a naughty schoolboy after a successful scrumping mission into the forbidden orchard.

And the much-maligned Laporte might as well have had “I told you so” tattooed on his high forehead.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, by contrast, sported a thousand-yard stare, unable to explain clearly what had just happened, while Kiwi coach Graham Henry wore the frown of the orchard owner.

He used the “all credit to the French” line to bat away questions on his future, his controversial rotation policy and the lack of competitive games so far in this tournament.

“Whatever the fans out there are feeling, I can promise you, the guys in the shed are feeling 10,000 times worse,” chipped in assistant coach Steve Hansen.

Plenty of post-mortems will be conducted - in New Zealand, in Cardiff, on the way back to London - but one thing that seems clear is that this Kiwi side didn’t have enough collective experience of toughing out a victory, even when the chips are down.

Where, for example, was the late drop-goal platform? It might not be pretty, but you do what you have to for a win.

The French triumph in 1999 was arguably the most remarkable match in the sport’s history, while the night that followed, certainly in the pubs I ventured to around Twickenham, matched it, with Kiwis, Frenchmen and anyone else present all mixing in together to celebrate rugby.

This day comes close and has saved me from using the original intro, based on a rant about the clowns who sent France to their World Cup death in Wales. First or second in the group, the schedule should never have allowed it. But it doesn’t matter now.

It's a shame to see the back of the Kiwi fans - they're an amiable bunch - but the hosts will be back fighting on home soil next week and the World Cup has caught alight.

Rob Hodgetts is a BBC Sport journalist based in London.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:31 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Hernan wrote:

One of the best strategically-planned games I have ever seen. It finally demonstrates that rugby has grown into being brain-and-heart. Talent is important, but not enough. Can you have too much talent? Yes you can: look at the All Blacks. Can you have too much arrogance? Yes you can: look at the All Blacks. The result of the combination is trying to show the World how to play rugby. The result of the patronising stance is loosing in big games.

As a francophilic argie, I am hoping the Pumas to go on to the finals, when we should meet again with our loved foes Les Bleus.

PS: by the way, what's the excuse for not inviting the Pumas to the Tri Nations now?

  • 2.
  • At 12:50 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Gelder wrote:

Gotta say, that was the 4th World Cup Match I've seen played in the Millenium Stadium, and was definately the best. I was sat on the edge of my seat in the last few minutes, surrounded by both French and All Black supporters. I joined in with the chanting for 'Les Bleus' and enjoyed the banter with those around me. Ok, i was wearing my England shirt and had a few comments, but I'm an English man living in Cardiff, it's not often I can wear it without getting the odd jibe.
But the highlight, watching the dejected New Zealand fans, heads in hands, sat on the curb sides of Cardiff, crying into their half drunk pints, and really wanting to forget that Saturday ever existed!!

  • 3.
  • At 12:52 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Ifan wrote:

Well France beat New Zealand at Twickenham in our 1999 world cup so we finally got to see it happen in Cardiff! ;)

But that's it now, it shouldn't be allowed to happen again.

  • 4.
  • At 01:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I cant understand why the all blacks could not have wear their all-black kit?

It's their identity and I am sure it DOES effect team morale positively on the field.

Clash of colors...since when did blue shirts and white shorts clash with all black? I am mystified. Gamesmanship on the part of the French maybe(?)

Does anyone have any explanation?

  • 5.
  • At 01:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Patrick Sawers wrote:

Totally agree with you when you said,

"It’s about belief and passion and spirit. Yes, you need muscles and you need flyers, but all teams have those to some extent. It’s the extra, unquantifiable bit that makes all the difference."

This is when we see sport at its transcendent best. The whole is more than the sum of the parts. We all recognise greatness when we see it. And it's not just about Sport, there are key elements that make life life here!

Could this be why we are seeing rugby become more popular around the world. Its code of ethics, its sportsmanship and absolute demand for out and out team work where complaining to the referee gets you nowhere, really foster the unquantifiable.

  • 6.
  • At 01:33 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mick Steele wrote:

The All Blacks are, without doubt, a great team, but they have seldom been tested and it comes at a cost, obviously being ousted this early in the competition will be seen as a disaster.

I like them because of their history, fans and greatness of the players. I have no sympathy, absoultely none, for Graham Henry. I lost all respect for him after the 2001 Lions tour in Austarlia, where he took us from the jaws of victory, as close as half time in the second test, to a series defeat, by totally changing the tactics of the team. In a way, this is pay back to him for his smugness and his complacency. I'm sad to see the back of the AB's but not him, in fact good riddance. It looks like, if history repeats itself, like he'll be at the job centre again soon. Lets hope he stays away from the Northern Hemisphere!

  • 7.
  • At 01:34 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • chris phillips wrote:

I think the sight of Sebastian Chabal watching the haka right in front of the Kiwis, his veins about to burst as he inhaled and exhaled like a raging bull, was absolutely awesome!! It showed the french were up for it! seriously though that guy is a beast! (meant in the nicest way!)

  • 8.
  • At 01:35 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Jimmy wrote:

They choked. In the final twenty minutes there was absolutely no leadership from any of the New Zealand players, and they lacked big game focus and a killer edge.

There is a world of difference between the basketball of the tri nations and a world cup. Intensity, pressure and precision are essential - New Zealand had eleven chances in the last ten minutes where a drop goal would have won them the match. Oh well, theres always 2011.

  • 9.
  • At 01:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • RoryInMadrid wrote:

Wonderful, a great advertisement for an honest game in an era of theatricality in the other. Any chance you'll read this post, M'sieu Platini??

  • 10.
  • At 01:43 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • vom wrote:

Am I the only person who thinks NZ got what they deserved for Robinson's assault on Betsen? No media I've seen/read mentions it, but Robinson clearly struck Betsen with the palm of his heel as Betsen tried to rise.
Dirty and dangerous.

  • 11.
  • At 01:57 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • vom wrote:

Nothing I've read this morning mentions it, but Betsen was clearly and deliberately taken out by Robinson's strike with the heel of his hand. A cheap and nasty shot and I hope the citing commitee noticed it.

  • 12.
  • At 02:09 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Slip wrote:

There is no doubt whatsoever that the All Blacks had the best squad of well prepared players with an impressive winning streak running back for some time.So,what happened?
Very simple answer.Confidence is one thing but arrogance is another thing altogether.
It was best displayed in one incident with the All Blacks 13 nil up and looking comfortable on their own 25 yard line, when Carter tries a chip to his wing almost gifting a try to the French.It was done from the point of view that it did not really matter as we can rank it up any time we like.
Well they got what arrogance deserves.Humiliation.

  • 13.
  • At 02:10 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • BigR wrote:

Andrew - are you serious? The colour of their kit stopped them from winning? And yes, black shirts could well clash with dark blue. And as France had the choice, it was up to them - no gamesmanship in this - just making their choice. Just a straightforward dusting up by the French of the supremely "God given" All Blacks that we're all meant to bow down to. Well, guess what, they ain't so great and were shown wanting (as always) when it came to the crunch. If I recall, officially the worst All Black performance at the world cup!

  • 14.
  • At 02:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Le Bleu wrote:

Personally, as a French supporter I feel the All Blacks were robbed by poor referee decisions. The winning try was clearly offside and it has tarnished for me what should be a sweet moment. The French should not hold their heads high, yet savour what was a lucky win.

  • 15.
  • At 02:52 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

Actually, Betsen was felled by a knee-blow to the side of the head by a french player, and not by any cheap shots by an All Black.

Besides that, it was a good tactical game and NZ played the price of playing against less talented teams in the earlier stages. When they came up against a more matched opponent, they just did not have the killer instinct to take advantage of the chances they had. I hope the same is not true of SA (I'm South African).

  • 16.
  • At 02:53 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • petaJ wrote:

vom: no, I think you are wrong and Betsen wasn't deliberately taken out. I was watching the match in France on French TV. If that were true, I think the commentators might have had something to say about it!

  • 17.
  • At 02:57 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Simon J wrote:

Regarding the shirts: the normal french strip is blue shirts and blue (not white) shorts.

As an all blue strip is too similar to all black, there was a coin toss for the right to wear first choice colours, which the French won.

Then somebody decided the NZ second strip was also too similar and asked the French to play in white!

The French (quite rightly in my opinion) refused, but as a compromise played in white shorts.

Really somebody running the tournament should have told NZ before the tournament that their proposed second strip was too similar to their first and made them change it. Watching NZ-Scotland game was hard.

  • 18.
  • At 03:21 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • kjFrazer wrote:

Monsieur Le Bleu, (No. 13) maybe the pass was forward from Michelak for the try but in the past NZ have had their fair share of favourable ref decisions. I find your derogatory comments towards your team a touch pretentious. France deserved their victory regardless. The foul on Betsen warranted a red card and thus a 14 man AB's for most of the game. The French defence against a 36-phase ruck was simply brilliant. The fact that they turned it over at the end was a true measure of their skill. I'll be shouting for England next week but I would not be disappointed at all if France lifted the trophy.

  • 19.
  • At 03:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • dan wrote:

I was at the game. the french broke the kiwi's spirit. the atmosphere was frankly amazing. those french fans are crazy.

  • 20.
  • At 03:33 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

The AB's usually play in black vs France. This is the first time they have not.

The French jersey and shorts I remember from 1987 (Cup final) the 1994 tour and the 1999 game involved a lighter navy blue jersey and white shorts.

Yes the AB's alternative strip "the grey teeshirt" should not have been accepted. Our traditional alternate strip was a white shirt and black shorts (better would be black and white hoops).

  • 21.
  • At 03:37 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • FroggyToulouse wrote:

"As a francophilic argie, I am hoping the Pumas to go on to the finals, when we should meet again with our loved foes Les Bleus."

:-)
Ok. We accept the challenge, amigo mio. Con mucho gusto !

Saludos de s-o de Francia

  • 22.
  • At 03:38 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

I'm sorry, Andrew are you serious... The colour of the all blacks shirt is the reason for the loss!!.

As an Englishman, i did find it strange cheering for the French.. hopefuly not again.. Bring it on Le Bleu

  • 23.
  • At 03:48 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • larry wrote:

Did anyone see the "FORWARD PASS" on the game winning try France scored?So blatently obvious to any rugby fan- i cannot believe none of the officials saw that.

  • 24.
  • At 03:59 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • FroggyToulouse wrote:

"As a francophilic argie, I am hoping the Pumas to go on to the finals, when we should meet again with our loved foes Les Bleus."

:-)
Ok. We accept the challenge, amigo mio. Con mucho gusto !

Saludos de s-o de Francia

  • 25.
  • At 04:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

As for what people see and what others do not. Or people want to believe or don't want to believe. It was either a foul by Robinson on Betsen which people saw, or it was something else. Which leads one to ask, why do some see that in what happened if it did not, or why do they say they believe it happened if they did not actually see it themselves.

  • 26.
  • At 04:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • I.M.Fedupwivit wrote:

Betsen certainly taken out with a cheap shot. How many penalties will Mccaw need to concede in a game before the ref shows him a card. Carter the worlds best 10??? NO. McCallister should surely have started at 10 as Carter didnt look fit. Shame really the world cup needs a strong Southern Hemisphere. Oh and Wales.

  • 27.
  • At 04:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Fantastic game... First half I was sure that the ABs were just going to walk away with it. They never pressed their advantage which I think it did show arrogance. They should have killed the game. They did not. The french were immense in the second half. They did not foul throughout their dogged defense. They ran at the ABs... right in their faces. Tempered aggression and a fantastic display. Yes the try involved one (maybe two!?) forward passes but I was dancing and screaming like a madman. Fantastic. It makes the tri-nations treatment of the pumas all the more absurd.

  • 28.
  • At 04:57 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Melvin wrote:

I agree that Betsen was knocked out accidently by his own player and that the winning try should not have been allowed for a forward pass. Also, the actual difference was the fact the All Blacks did not score their conversion after their last try - When the conversion was taken a French player clearly ran to close down the conversion attempt / put the kicker off before the kicker began to run. Should this have been re-taken? A second reason why France should not have won.

But overall, excessive team rotation previously in the tournament, bad refereeing (interesting that - an Englishman refereeing a game that decides which team plays his own country) and the usual choking paid for New Zealand.

Surely the All Blacks can no longer be considered favourites for a tournament again?!

  • 29.
  • At 05:00 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

The colour of the shirt matters not if you are the favourite for the rugby world cup - and is a pretty tame excuse for losing against a determined French side. Well done Les Bleus!!

  • 30.
  • At 05:04 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

New Zealand never replaced umanga, and never managed to settle on a starting 15 ever since the lions series!

Also can anyone tell me why when New Zealand were camped in France's 22 towards the end no one stepped back and dropped a goal!?

  • 31.
  • At 05:10 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • SEM DAVIES wrote:

Rob Hodgetts must have been at a different game. We saw loads more French supporters in Cardiff than Kiwis - whether those who travelled from France or non French people like me who supported them on the night.

  • 32.
  • At 05:11 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Couldn't happen to nicer guys!
And they come prepared with every excuse from forward passes, to bad ref calls, to wrong AB jerseys. How about this: We didn't get over the line when it mattered, the other team was........good?

Au revoir. One plane for the players, one for the excuses. At least they upheld their RWC tradition.

Allez les Bleus!
Swing Low, baby!

  • 33.
  • At 05:13 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

The colour of the shirt matters not if you are the favourite for the rugby world cup - and is a pretty tame excuse for losing against a determined French side. Well done Les Bleus!!

  • 34.
  • At 05:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Here's my master plan for the AB's to lift the trophy in 2011:

1) win every game for the next 4 years.

2) do a haka in front of each of the other teams as they get of the plane.

3) perform an exhibition match against Japan, running in 13 superbly entertaining tries.

4) award yourselves the trophy on aesthetic grounds.

5) leave the other teams to fight it out for second place.

The advantage of my plan is it avoids all the untidiness of a conventional worldcup: injuries, dodgy refereeing decisions and sudden inexplicable losses of form. (See England's 2003 campaign for examples).

  • 35.
  • At 05:19 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

The All Blacks are fast becoming more of a marketing brand than a rugby nation. The regular choking is pathetic for the self confessed greatest rugby nation on earth. Also interesting to see that after two years of witterings about "the ABs have two first choice teams" they still couldn't find a centre partnership that worked! Who carries the can for that?

Maybe if they spent less time working on their haka (step forward Ali Williams and Byron Kelleher), they'd have more energy to focus on building a winning mentality.

The days of the northern hemisphere having to bow down to the southern hemisphere were ended by England in 2003 and, Woodward's appallingly mismanaged Lions tour aside, have continued now. Let's hope the Argies join the Six Nations - leave the Tri Nations to stew in their own self love!!

Come on Scotland!!

  • 36.
  • At 05:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

If a team and a nation complains that they lost because of the colour of their strip they should be ASHAMED of themselves.

So should all teams bow down to the 'All Blacks' demands to wear their first strip if the strips clash. In terms of fairness and competition they shouldn't even be allowed to perform the Haka.
I think many a Kiwi will be embarassed of the way some of their fellow countrymen have reacted to losing.

In essence, France were the better side just like NZ were beaten by better sides in '91, '95, '99 and '03.

  • 37.
  • At 05:38 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Dave Mortlock wrote:

Do the BBC pay Zinzan Brooke for his rugby columns? I hope not. His analysis is so thin you could floss your teeth with it. And that's ignoring the rather tiresome anti English bias. Somebody tear up his contract. David

  • 38.
  • At 06:00 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • The neutral wrote:

Why has nobody mentioned that the second French try had an obvious forward pass in it (to Michalak)? The reply showed clearly that he was at least level when ball left hand and several meters in front when he caught it. Brave French fightback but in the end the All Blacks were robbed by a poor refereeing decision...

  • 39.
  • At 06:00 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"(interesting that - an Englishman refereeing a game that decides which team plays his own country)"

Wayne Barnes has been pretty evenhanded, unlike Chris White in the opening game and the usual ineptitude of Kaplan. I'm not English, either.

I would also like to point out that the fourth official who had to determine whether or not to award Georgia a try which would have taken them into the lead against the Irish in the last minute of the game - and, if so, almost guarantee that France and Argentina would go through before either had had to play Ireland - was Argentinean. He was professional enough to make the call as he saw it.

Casting asperations on the professionalism of referees when it comes to national interests really only comes into it when your team loses, though. It also has the effect of making the questioner look like a sore loser. Such is sport.

  • 40.
  • At 06:00 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

The All Blacks should have gone for the drop goal ! Why they kept bashing and bashing away for the last 20 is a mystery ! 3 Points and we would have won ! But then we attempt a 50 metre drop ....WAY TOO LATE ! The French try is a disgrace to the refereeing standards ! I am appalled by their gross negligence !

We are now set for a very BORING remaining WORLD CUP !

  • 41.
  • At 06:02 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

The All Blacks should have gone for the drop goal ! Why they kept bashing and bashing away for the last 20 is a mystery ! 3 Points and we would have won ! But then we attempt a 50 metre drop ....WAY TOO LATE ! The French try is a disgrace to the refereeing standards ! I am appalled by their gross negligence !

We are now set for a very BORING remaining WORLD CUP !

  • 42.
  • At 06:07 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

Wow, as a Kiwi I didn't realise how much people thought the All Blacks were a bunch of arrogant players - especially the attitude that they want to 'teach the world Rugby'. I think maybe people over here don't realise how we see the game.

It's like Football in Brazil, it's not about winning, it's about winning with style. And the reason we've been the innovaters of attacking rugby is because we love to play expansively and with passion, and have fun. That's why 20,000 out of NZ's 4 million made the trip over - how's that compare to the Barmy Army or French fans?

But the French out passioned the AB's, and that is always great to see. A harsh reminder of that final ingrediant we forgot. They wanted to win and we just wanted to not lose, because that means facing all of New Zealand - not just rugby fans - the whole country. They've been chooking on that preassure since 1999. Think this sounds overdramatic? checkout stuff.co.nz - and read the New Zealand media response, 'Our Darkest Hour Ever!', 'Our Gods fall to earth', 'All Blacks plead for Mercy'.

So go easy on any kiwis you see. Rugby fan or not, we are in mourning.

  • 43.
  • At 06:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Blue guy wrote:

Lary, did anyone see the "FORWARD PASS" before the NZ try...Like Lee said, Well done Les Bleus!!! England vs France will be a great match! So good, the northern hemisphere is not dead!

  • 44.
  • At 06:14 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Jones wrote:

Yes, there was contact with Betsen as he rose after being felled initially.

One forward (or flat)pass does not a loss make. NZ have always been the master of the flat (or forward!) pass, so now may not be the correct time to point fingers.

Graham Henry does not seem to care either because "at 61 he is comfortable" (BBC quote), surely this is the worst manner in which to accept that his stewardship of what should have been a cup winning squad was shown ultimately to be all mouth and no trousers" (much like the Aus challenge to England yesterday.)

Fantastic tournament may it last forever!

  • 45.
  • At 06:19 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Awesome match - it was fantastic seeing two upsets in one day! The French really took the game to the Kiwis, refusing to be outmuscled by a team that's not only massively talented but also hugely physical.

I was convinced that NZ would grab the trophy this year (possibly in a final against Argentina), but I secretly wanted the French to stick it to them! By the end of the game I was even more on edge than during England's match.

France went for it from the off, and forced NZ to try to find top gear. On the day, the Kiwis couldn't find it - and with a below-par Dan Carter (who obviously hadn't properly recovered from injury) having to go off, they lost the kicking machine and cool head that might have given them that drop goal option.

I would like to defend the Kiwis against the claims of arrogance on their part - to my mind, they've always been confident. I don't think they went into this game complacent - it was the Aussies who were guilty of that in the run-up to their match against England. You could tell just by the occasional cut to the Kiwi bench that it wasn't arrogance that fired the team... the intensity on their faces as France began get more points on the board said everything, but it just didn't happen for them.

The French are going to be a tough ask for us next weekend. I was delighted with the way England fronted up the the Aussies - especially with that speed to the breakdown that has been shockingly absent in the past three years. But I can't get too hopeful off the back of just one decent performance, and we still lack that cutting edge from some of the backs (if only we had two Jason Robinsons!).

Ooh, and whoever said 'We need a strong Southern hemisphere' - funny how things change, eh? Wasn't everyone worrying about the strength of the Northern hemisphere sides just a week ago?

  • 46.
  • At 06:20 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Blue wrote:

The ABs should have been 14 after 5 minutes. When watching the game live, the corner of my eye caught Betsen lying on the floor and being wacked by AB #4. My immediate reaction was "what the hell?" but then play continued for a few seconds. None of the replays shown afterwards (at least on TV5 Monde) showed the incident as they stopped to the tackle sequence. Except the very last replay where you see the AB fist close to Betsen's head. But you need to look for a few seconds past the tackling phase to see that. Defenite red card so please ABs fan stop crying about a bl--dy forward pass.

  • 47.
  • At 06:23 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Andy Young wrote:

In response to Melvin(Comment 28), you are allowed to charge a conversion kick down, but not a penalty kick! maybe you're getting confused between the two?

The main reason New Zealand lost was that the referee allowed France to ruck the ball in accordance with the laws of the game. For years now Richie McCaw has been on the wrong side of an opposition ruck, and has been free to wreak havoc with the protection of over-protective and over-indulgent referees who refuse to believe McCaw is capable of foul play! Yesterday when lying on the wrong side McCaw was effiently rucked out of the way and after 3 or 4 occassions when sets of studs were deployed to dissuade him, he was then to be found on the right side of the ruck, and guess what???? all of a sudden the turnover ball that NZ use to devastatting effect was no where to be seen. Put simply when NZ's plan A didn't supply any ball, they didn't have a plan B and were reduced to employing the pick and drive which tne kiwi press, in particular, have been castigating england for over the past 4 years, and let us pause for a second to enjoy the delicious irony of that statement!!!!!

  • 48.
  • At 06:28 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Jeffers wrote:

When push came to shove. When the pressure was on for the All Blacks in the dying minutes, they showed how they were not able to deal with the high intensity situation. Foot by foot they advanced, until commiting a simple knock-on and other such simple mistakes. This plus the fact that we caught the huge lock, Chris Jack, playing fullback on the opposite side of the pitch. Thus demonstrating that when push came to shove, the All Blacks were not all the team they were cracked-up to be.

  • 49.
  • At 06:32 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Ray Phillips wrote:

I am surprised by the SH guys claiming there were forward passes. Their interpretation of a forward pass allows the ball to travel forward providing the ball carrier passed the ball in a sidewards or backwards direction i e the body shape of the player determines whether or not it was a forward pass. The officilas thought the body shape was ok.

  • 50.
  • At 06:44 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Glyn Davies wrote:

However, the All Blacks did not play to their full potential although they did display some brilliant rugby at times. Well dome France, they played really well in the 2nd half with a cast iron defence and some good running, but even they must admit that they were helped tremendously by a really poor referee who seemed to be very one-sided (in favour of France) in his decisions.
England must be very relieved as they would have been totally destroyed by New Zealand, but are capable of beating France.

The time has come for us to look at the "League" rule of 5 attempts at a driving and "ball-holding" kind of play.I can picture the time when a heavy powerful well-trained eight will take possesion anywhere on the field and carry the ball,even the length of the field,to score!!!
How would W`m Webb Ellis ,in Menton,re-act to that? No wonder he chose la patrie des Bleus for his resting place!

  • 52.
  • At 07:05 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Audioq wrote:

Betsen was caught in the head by his own players knee as he got up having been floored by an All Black (a double hit!) ouch!

NZ were clearly the better team and anyone who understands rugby will understand that - 176 tackles for French to 39 for NZ? 100% line out wins for NZ plus about 1/3 of the French ball, a disintegrating French scrum, NZ retaining possession at will.

Thankfully, however, the better team does not always win. Good luck to the French I hope they go all the way.

I just hope we don't have more upsets and an England v Argentina final - 12 passes for the entire match (6 of which are knocked on) and 850 kicks with England winning 12-9. Three Johnny pings and a droppie! What an advertisment for Rugby that would be.

  • 53.
  • At 07:07 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • hinzsa wrote:

Hey Guys, I think we need a new Post were we could comment about our old remarks on the ‘supremacy’ of the Southern hemisphere, how things changed since then…

  • 54.
  • At 07:14 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • dillydally wrote:

Sorry, but was this result fixed to rejuvenate European rugby in the face of the dominant trio from the Southern Hemisphere?

  • 55.
  • At 07:22 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • matt wrote:

Ah well....the old adage rings true. You can't beat the southern hemisphere teams, you can only score more points than them!

  • 56.
  • At 07:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • rob wrote:

finally two northern hemisphere sides, in france and england have learnt to attack the breakdown in the same manner as the SH teams, pile in with no intension of staying on your feet.george smith was completely nullified by mad dog lewis moody.
australian whingers and NZ whiners can now go home.

  • 57.
  • At 07:34 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • dillydally wrote:

Sorry, but was this result fixed to rejuvenate European rugby in the face of the dominant trio from the Southern Hemisphere?

  • 58.
  • At 07:38 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Andy L wrote:

The winning try came from a forward pass, that makes it even better. NZ have been getting away with forward passes for years.
Anyway back to the match; not a surprise, when it came to guts and heart, the Small Blacks were wanting, AGAIN!! As good as they are, they just don't understand how to win ugly. They had numerous opportunities for drop goals, didn't take them. Ah well, there's always 4 years time.
As for the kits, the IRB are going to have to get their act in order. Follow the example of the Football World Cup; 1 team in a dark kit, the other in a white/light kit, not all countries will have colour TV. France always used to play in blue shirts, white shorts and red socks, what happened? And NZ away kiy should be All White, not grey and black. Please,IRB no more colour clashes.

  • 59.
  • At 07:39 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Glyn Davies wrote:

I feel that it is good for rugby that the All Blacks lost last night. It was a good gmae to watch, however, the All Blacks did not play to their full potential although they did display some brilliant rugby at times. Well done France, who played really well in the 2nd half with a cast iron defence and some good running, but even they must admit that they were helped tremendously by a really poor referee who seemed to be very one-sided (in favour of France) in his decisions.
England must be very relieved as they would have been totally destroyed by New Zealand, but are capable of beating France.

  • 60.
  • At 07:41 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Razor-Ronnie wrote:

Absolutley delighted to see the arrogant New Zealanders and Australians dumped out of the world cup beofre the semis. Hopefully they can share the same plane back down under and reduce their costs's. Southern hemisphere, you were pathetic.

  • 61.
  • At 07:45 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Rugby is the loser when poor decision making by the referee determines the outcome.

  • 62.
  • At 07:48 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • X wrote:

That's it folks! Done it again! I am French and love rugby. I just couldn't go to sleep last night. The game was awesome, I was moving around like a maniac in the house during the game, scaring my wife in the process. The feeling is great. Post-match analysis come and talk about a forward pass (just about but hey, look at the Kiwis nasty tactics throughout), the French who would have won only because Kiwis missed their conversion...Lots of ifs, just the one result. The mediatic fever, the French challenge to the Hakka, the strategy applied on both sides, the skills display: I say France wan, it could habe been the over way. How come the players are fairplay but the bloggers are acidic in defeat? Enjoy the game, that's why we spend several hundred pounds on tickets or postpone visits to hospitalised gransparents.

  • 63.
  • At 08:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • paul wrote:

As a New Zealander, I am numb. Surely one should not blame the (english) ref but McAlisters sending off was a joke, and that turned the game. The french got away with hands in the ruck, offsides, and THAT pass, yet was all over the All Blacks, in particular McCaw. Seeing the British media fail to ackwoledge the refs shocking game, even consider McAlisters penalty as 'blatant' shows the incompetence of your media, as well as your refs. His performance ranks up there with Darrell Hair in the Pakistan test, and the ref in the England Portugal game in the football world cup. Refs should be accountable, hopefully we don't see any more Wayne Barnes, especially involving NZ. Didn't the ref in the Chelsea v Liverpool match admit after the game he got a penalty wrong? Would appreciate seeing the same honesty here, We were robbed. In 1999 we were beaten by a more passionate team, 2003 by a better team, but this time we didnt stand a chance. Surprised we kept it this close. But at the end of the day, its only a game.

I cannot understand why so many English fans are taking such a spiteful pleasure in the All Blacks unfortunate exit from the Cup. The All Blacks have dominated the sport for the majority of the last century, and have given the game the global popularity it deserves. After 2003 and Englands victory, many feared the game would die, because that style is so boring to watch. In the commercial age entertainment value is what will determine the success of the sport. In order to make the game more exciting refs need to focus more on offsides and hands in rucks, to assist the attacking side. South Africas rush defense would have to finally be scrutinised (sorry Habana) and the attacking side would then have more space. Penalties should be 2 and drop goals worth 1. In fact i hate to say it, but Union could learn a few things from League.

Go the French!!!

  • 64.
  • At 09:33 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • william baillie wrote:

got say the all blacks were DONE big time the french got away with alot but THAT forward pass was a disgrace it was so clear for all to see clearly teams can only beat them when they get an unfair decision against them i will say that the french stuck in there and good luck to them i hope they beat the english

  • 65.
  • At 09:54 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Stephan wrote:

Quite whining about the ref. Refs make judement decissions and that's life. Every school boy is told to play to the ref. You see what he allows and you try what you can. The Southern Hemisphere have ruled in that ares for a long time and committed just as many infringements that were not picked up. But when you win you worry less about the ref.

You make your own luck. If you rely on the ref you will lose. And guess what?

  • 66.
  • At 09:59 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Au revior to the arrogant All Blacks. The tears come out only at the end, and only at their loss. At anyone else's loss I don't think there would be an ounce of empathy. So perhaps the better team lost, but they had their opportunities and either could not, or would not, take them. They must have been saving the last minute drop goal for the semi-final.

Full credit to France. They went out and played terrific defence. And enough with the ball to take care of business. The best 10 on the pitch was good old Freddie (I never said that before becasue he beat my teams before).

Allez les Bleus.
Swing Low, baby.

Best RWC yet.

  • 67.
  • At 10:00 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • John wrote:

Forget about that haka nonsense,opposing teams fall over laughing after watching those antics,just play the game!

  • 68.
  • At 10:03 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Luca wrote:

Hello everyone from Italy.
I think Audioq (NR 52) got it right: New Zealand played the better rugby; France played the better game. With more determination and a bit of luck they won, so very good on them.
Good for rugby too? I am not so sure of this for three reasons:
1) Already, shrewd but modest XV De France grabbed the last 6N from beautiful but idealistic Ireland, if it gets the RWC in same way it will not be a great advert to Our Loved Game;
2) Not recognising this, french fans can be very bad winners not to mention their eponymous reputation as bad loosers. What a pity that here Mr X (NR 60) needed to remind us this sad lack of sportmanship;
3) The excited French media and politicians are marketing rugby to its last bits with, for example, giant posters and tv stress for Chabal, a very ordinary flanker with a funny haircut.
Where does all this leaves us?
Let me tell you, I see the Italian soccer attitude coming and that is ugly.
The All Blacks have spent decades building their egregious reputation, with very fine play and attitude. Let us hope that the french will try to do the same for their coveted first RWC at home.

  • 69.
  • At 10:07 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Danno wrote:

Arrogance lost the All Blacks the game today.....come on cross field kicks and chip overs in their own 22...!!!!!!!

  • 70.
  • At 10:11 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Birdie_Numnums wrote:

I think people confuse confidence with arrogance. NZ have never appeared arrogant to me, their fans maybe but the ABs have always seemed quiet achievers. The Aussies (of which I am one) are regularly arrogant and at the moment with little to back it up.

I enjoyed both games. There was no cheating and I thought the Refs did a pretty decent job and let the games flow. The best teams on the day won, no doubt driven by the desire to beat the favourites. I am glad the era of one team dominating globally is ending, it is boring. I've stopped going to the cricket here because test matches wrapped up inside three days is not sporting entertainment.

Well done to both England and France but a bet on the Argentine to win the WC could be worth a go.

Cheers

Birdie

  • 71.
  • At 10:13 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Canterburybaz wrote:

As an Irishman living in Canterbury,Nz. I can offer an interesting view on yesterdays quarter final. Yes, the nation is in shock. It is very much a case of deja vu. The head of Henry is already prepared and questions on forward passes, hands in the ruck,unfair sin binning are the main topics of conversation across the land this morning.
The ref did not have a good game but for all that happend in the game the All Blacks still had plenty of time to come back when France took the lead with over 10 minutes left in the game. The movement which resulted in over 25 phases of play did not result in a score and while the French defended well( if marginally offside at times) the fact is the All Blacks never tried to set up for a drop goal in that period.Most northern hemisphere sides would have taken the 3 points. The French turned over the ball and when the All blacks regained possession they were at the half way line, the attemped drop goal was just too far out for McAlister.
In my opinion, this shows very poor decision making at a very critical stage. Were the All Blacks arrogant enough to think that they were going to score a try when a drop goal would have been enough?
I do think that the All Blacks have played some of the best rugby in the world over the last four years. The squad boasts some of the best players the game has seen but they lack a leader in the mould of John Eales and (though it pains me to say it as an Irishman) Martin Johnson. McCaw is one of the worlds best players on his day but I feel the burden of captaincy does not rest well on his shoulders. In those last ten minutes the All blacks needed someone with a very cool head to call the shots. Well you know what they are saying here, bring back Todd Blackadder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 72.
  • At 10:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • mony vibescu wrote:


Well, maybe the French pass was forward, but the line referee denied France two obvious offsides.

Besides the NZ forgot that France won a trench war in the past...and lost against Blitkrieg ; so it was a mistake just to occupy French side waiting for a penalty to happen as the french were extremely cautious during the second half. Laporte strategy and changes was much more brilliant than his opponent's : Chabal entry galvanizing the public and the team, and clever Michalak having had time to observe AB play and coming in obviously with an idea about a hole in the defense, which he exploited very shortly after his entry.

The French were also more opportunistc, perturbing the AB conversion : the 2 points proved precious at the end. Alltogether not the best team in the world but the one deserving to win.

  • 73.
  • At 10:16 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mo wrote:

No one's said anything abt the forward pass that won it 4 the french.or the pass in the sa fiji game that almost resulted in try but was stopped by a great tackle by jp.the refereeing sucks

  • 74.
  • At 10:20 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • eugene wrote:

Disappointed to see so much inane comment about the shirts - if you are into fashion go visit another blog and not waste readers time here please.

ABs are the greatest rugby nation on earth - Ok they lost last night - even the greatest teams in the world lose occasionally - criticism of Graham Henry is unjustified - just look at his amazing winning record in charge of the ABs - all us northern hemisphere fans are now slagging the southern hemisphere teams off even though they are miles ahead of us in this game - the freak results yesterday do not change that fact - this RWC has shown us that the 6 Ns sides have been caught up by the minnows, past by the argies and are trailing badly behind the trinations. The fact that two 6 nations teams have made it through to the semis will stall a much needed revamp of northern hemisphere rugby- finally I was disappointed to see two of the most exciting rugby playing nations in the world play that type of rugby where was the champagne? - Like the wales fiji game

  • 75.
  • At 10:24 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Patrick Sawers wrote:

Totally agree with you when you said,

"It’s about belief and passion and spirit. Yes, you need muscles and you need flyers, but all teams have those to some extent. It’s the extra, unquantifiable bit that makes all the difference."

This is when we see sport at its transcendent best. The whole is more than the sum of the parts. We all recognise greatness when we see it. And it's not just about Sport, there are key elements that make life life here!

Could this be why we are seeing rugby become more popular around the world. Its code of ethics, its sportsmanship and absolute demand for out and out team work where complaining to the referee gets you nowhere, really foster the unquantifiable.

  • 76.
  • At 10:30 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Clarke wrote:

A french pass forward?? Did anyone see the Tri-nations, Did anyone see the England v Austrailia match...
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are the best at getting away with forward passes and Im finally glad that it has gone the northern hemisphere way for once. Congratulations to France and I look forward to the England game against you!.

  • 77.
  • At 10:31 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • mony vibescu wrote:


Well, maybe the French pass was forward, but the line referee denied France two obvious offsides.

Besides the NZ forgot that France won a trench war in the past...and lost against Blitkrieg ; so it was a mistake just to occupy French side waiting for a penalty to happen as the french were extremely cautious during the second half. Laporte strategy and changes was much more brilliant than his opponent's : Chabal entry galvanizing the public and the team, and clever Michalak having had time to observe AB play and coming in obviously with an idea about a hole in the defense, which he exploited very shortly after his entry.

The French were also more opportunistc, perturbing the AB conversion : the 2 points proved precious at the end. Alltogether not the best team in the world but the one deserving to win.

I for one would have bet money on this kind of result. When a technically strong team that desparately needs to wins meets a near perfect team that has been lulled into beliveing they are unbeatable anything could happen. And it did. And, I believe, it is good for rugby.
What is not good for Rugby is the haka. First because it is juvenile (worthy of a bunch of fraternity boys) and boring (once would have been enough, making a habit out of a joke kind of wears out the punch line doesn't it?) Second because if and when you loose it makes you look twice as stupid.
They may now go ahead and blame it on the English referee. Cry on. May be the Kiwis have been hanging at the same "taberne" with the Argie football fans...This aint Football.


  • 79.
  • At 10:34 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • mony vibescu wrote:


Well, maybe the French pass was forward, but the line referee denied France two obvious offsides.

Besides the NZ forgot that France won a trench war in the past...and lost against Blitkrieg ; so it was a mistake just to occupy French side waiting for a penalty to happen as the french were extremely cautious during the second half. Laporte strategy and changes was much more brilliant than his opponent's : Chabal entry galvanizing the public and the team, and clever Michalak having had time to observe AB play and coming in obviously with an idea about a hole in the defense, which he exploited very shortly after his entry.

The French were also more opportunistc, perturbing the AB conversion : the 2 points proved precious at the end. Alltogether not the best team in the world but the one deserving to win.

  • 80.
  • At 10:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • MikePH wrote:

To paul of Comment 61: You argue that the ABs have "given the game the popularity it deserves". What a load of cobblers! The game has grown over the last 20 years without New Zealand winning the World Cup. All they have contributed is a preciousness about the colour of their shirts and a strange morris dance at the start of each match. Since England won in 2003, far from "dying", it has received a massive boost in interest worldwide. "In the commercial age" (as you say), it is to Europe that most players are gravitating. Where are most of the senior ABs and Aussies going to earn their pensions after this tournament? How many foreign players are heading to the centre of the rugby universe (NZ) "in this commercial age"? Rugby might be the only thing Kiwis are good at but they have to realize that NZ is not the only thing that matters in rugby.

  • 81.
  • At 10:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • I.M.Fedupwivit wrote:

Hahahaha lovely to hear all you SH people bleating on about a forward pass. Have you ever seen super12/14 its often a bit like american football with the ball so obviously passed forward time and time again. I am sure your All Black brand will survive but for now watch and learn !

  • 82.
  • At 10:48 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • bryan the priate wrote:

no 61... please explain what was wrong with the yellow card?

he blocked a player coming through, blatantly.... this is penalty at the very least... and a yellow card here... why beacuse it was totally obvious and crude....

why do you think we revel in your misery... beacuse you guys are so damn cocky.... you choked here....

you give out about wilkinson or whoever dropping a goal... why oh why didn't ye do that yesterday... beacuse you're one dimensional... you had a platform for what seemed like hours, and you just hammered away at the line... that was stupidity and arrogance...


anyways... defense beats attack on this occasion, the best defense in world rugby beat ye... there was no answer for it... all your ball handling skills counted for nowt... carter is definately overrated... that was his game... he fluffed it... screw the lions tour... more and more that was down to an inept performance from the lions... you were flattered.

this is a fantastic RWC... the highest ranking teams have been made look like fools... the lowly teams don't have chance to go up the rankings cause they get no chance to play the 1st - 8th place teams... which is rubbish, and when they do, they can't access their players

SA today were appalling... fiji played rugby the way it should be played.. 800,000 country puts it up to a 47 mil country... shocking


  • 83.
  • At 10:48 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Jack Michaelson wrote:

SOOKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 84.
  • At 10:49 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Sprinkbokfan wrote:

It was definately a forward pass from the French. But if there is ONE team that has gotten away with tries from forward pass it is the All Blacks.

@Hernan..I've got two reasons the Puma's should not take part in the tri-nations..First one..tri means three..so that won't work. Second one: Argentina might beat the boks. Can't have any of that ;-)

  • 85.
  • At 10:51 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • pickeri2000 wrote:

Interesting to see many people pointing out a forward pass in France's winning try.
However I've regularly seen forward passes allowed in Super 14 seemingly in the interests of running rugby.
You can't have it all ways NZ.

  • 86.
  • At 10:51 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Nicola wrote:

Ah...What could Andrew Mehrtens have done for the AB's in those last ghastly mintues?

  • 87.
  • At 10:54 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Arthur Lewis wrote:

Michael (comment 58), there were a lot of poor decisions made on the pitch on saturday, most of them by the team in silver and black.

take a look at the match stats: 71% possession to New Zealand, 63% territory. France made 178 tackles to New Zealand's 36. (official RWC website match stats)

There should only have been one winner. If a team dominates to such an extent, the opposition would expect to lose by a cricket score.

For all that possession and the NZ back's reputation, there were only two line breaks. France managed one.

Time for the AB's to look closer to home for their excuses

  • 88.
  • At 10:58 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

It seems a real shame that 17 of France's 20 points came from just two crap referee decisions.

First 3 for a penalty and then a converted try when NZ was down to 14 men - all because Luke McAllister had someone run into the back of him when McAllister or the French player concerned had no chance of getting to the ball first anyway. And then another 7 points towards the end from a blatant forward pass.

Take away those two crap ref moments, and it only leaves the penalty France got towards the end of the 1st half.

I understand that somewhere in Italy a toilet block is named after a South American football referee who had a howler during their game with South Korea in 2002 World Cup.... maybe the english referee may find himself similarly honoured with an ablutions block somewhere in New Zealand in the near future.

  • 89.
  • At 10:58 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • pickeri2000 wrote:

Interesting to see many people pointing out a forward pass in France's winning try.
However I've regularly seen forward passes allowed in Super 14 seemingly in the interests of running rugby.
You can't have it all ways NZ.

  • 90.
  • At 11:01 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

It seems a real shame that 17 of France's 20 points came from just two crap referee decisions.

First 3 for a penalty and then a converted try when NZ was down to 14 men - all because Luke McAllister had someone run into the back of him when McAllister or the French player concerned had no chance of getting to the ball first anyway. And then another 7 points towards the end from a blatant forward pass.

Take away those two crap ref moments, and it only leaves the penalty France got towards the end of the 1st half.

I understand that somewhere in Italy a toilet block is named after a South American football referee who had a howler during their game with South Korea in 2002 World Cup.... maybe the english referee may find himself similarly honoured with an ablutions block somewhere in New Zealand in the near future.

  • 91.
  • At 11:11 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • mark wrote:

blah blah blah. Blame the ref!!!
The truth is, you should have finished the game off but didn't and allowed the French to get back into it.
I enjoy watching the all blacks play, especially as an englishman, but you cant blame the ref because of your teams inability to win a match when it really matters. The truth is that in the KO stages, pretty rugby doesn't always win and Graham Henry has leant this the hard way. NZ are the best team and for the world cup's sake should be in the last 4 but no team has the devine right to be there. Well done France. You showed desire, flair and some real heart. You earn't the right to be in the semi final. There's always 2012 aye!

  • 92.
  • At 11:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Steve Law wrote:

I think it about time that the antiodean rugby coutries stopped crowing about their rugby prowess. How often have they said that England are the most arrogant country playing. They promote themselves so highly - even the New Zealand press men, according to John Inverdale, were bragging that England's victory over Australia would guarantee New Zealand a ticket to the final. I hope that both teams were able to read the reports of their respective matches in the in-flight complimentary newspapers on their way home to the southern hemisphere. They have another four years to reflect on their right to brag. I hope that the British press will be a bit more supportive now.

  • 93.
  • At 11:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Good game france but I hope the ref know that he has to come to NZ at some time.

  • 94.
  • At 11:16 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Awesome defensive game by France and an amazing press response by Europe (and yes that includes the UK). Isn't it amazing that a country so devoted to rugby as NZ is able to turn around, toast the French for a great game and great tournament and carry on. No mention of any questionable refereeing calls, no yelling at the ref or taking dives. No howling press and no whining calls of "we was robbed". Perhaps there are a number of rugby-playing nations (and their press) who should take note of that and hold their breath, and tongues, in the next two weeks of great rugby.

1) learn to stop believeing your own hype. Respect the opposition more and you won't throw games away
2) Take your chances. Don't go running off blind alleys, because your the mighty ABs
3) Don't fall on excuses. Forward pass, granted. How many times have NZ got away with that? Don't blame the kit, the ref, the stadium, the coach. Deliver on the pitch
4) Understand that showing humility in defeat makes you nobler and you gain the respect of the rugby world. Whining about it won't start.
5) Employ Gareth jenkins or Abdy Robinson. Oops, sorry I can't hold it back anymore, else I'll choke... :)

  • 96.
  • At 11:31 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • englishmanc wrote:

Wayne Barnes - lawyer and referee.

Hope he was better at being a lawyer because his referee skills suck, all blacks got robbed last night.

I fail to see why everyone, (at least everyone south of the equator), keeps knocking northern hemisphere rugby as boring. Power, good scrums, will power and sheer guts have always been a major part of the game. Just because they prefer to play there own type of game in their own little mini-league does not make the northern game invalid. And I haven't met anyone, (at least anyone who is unbiased), who found England's or France's victories boring. Those who do should confine themselves to watching Sevens. It's a bit like comparing 20/20 cricket with a real nitty, gritty test match. The only question now is whether Argentina should allow the losers from the tri-nations to play with them!!

  • 98.
  • At 12:24 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Julia wrote:

What a tall poppy syndrome wall! The All Blacks lost ONE GAME.

Southern hemisphere rugby is not dead at all! To repeat, the Wallabies and All Blacks lost ONE game each despite winning practically every other game they've played for the past three years. And aren't Argentina and South Africa also a part of the Southern hemisphere? funny that.

Everyone here saying the All Blacks are arrogant have obviously never had a conversation with ANY of them. There's a difference between the players and the image the media creates.

So leave the All Blacks alone, they're going to get enough from NZ as it is.

As a New Zealander I am gutted, but isn't this good for the game? Good on Argentina I say and GO SOUTH AFRICA!!!

  • 99.
  • At 12:30 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Kiwi_matt wrote:

C'mon kiwis, stop whinging about the ref, you're starting to sound like the English. The fact is we lost it on the day and it wasn't the ref's fault. Just take it like grown-ups and enjoy the remaining games.
That said, if Johnny Wilkinson kicks the winning points of this RWC I think it'll be one very low swinging chariot. Let's remember, Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it.

  • 100.
  • At 12:40 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • JimW wrote:

With regard to the refereeing, I thought Barnes did a reasonable job. Yes he missed forward pass but none of the other officals caught it either. And there really is a certain irony about a forward pass being involved when New Zealand have gotten away with scores from supposed "flat passes" for years now.

McAlister clearly deserved to be binned for a cynical take out of Jauzion and anybody who says different needs to look closely at the incident again. He doesn't just stand his ground as he claims. He actually moves quite deliberately to put his shoulder into Jauzion as he runs onto the kick. The thing is that it was totally unnecessary. Jauzion wouldn't have got to the ball as it was already covered. Obviously McAlister couldn't have known that when making his decision but that's beside the point. In fact if the referee had thought Jauzion was definitely going to score a try from the kick through he would have most likely awarded a penalty try as well as the sin-bin. Coming a minute of so after a deliberately collapse of a French maul that was moving very close to the line the referee's patience had run out with New Zealand. He clearly mentioned both incidents when he produced the card.

I know its hard when your team loses but Kiwi fans would do themselves a lot of favours if they were more gracious about the defeat. A little look at their own team's flaws first might help. Simply put New Zealand thought they were already in the semi-final when leading 13-0 after 30 minutes and lost their focus. Some of their moves even before the first half was over were crazy such as Carter's cross kick inside his own 22. Then once they were put under pressure they had no alternative plan. And then having gone ahead again after the French comeback they failed to close the game out. Finally their leadership on the pitch fell apart in the final minutes. How could they have not attepted a drop goal when close in is beyond me.

Even so it should have never come to that in the end. A little more composure during the game and New Zealand would have won handsomely. Kiwi fans should think about that first before casting blame around.

And one last thing (sorry for the long post). Can we please put the shirt debate to rest once and for all. France won the toss for shirt. They chose to wear their own dark blue and therefore New Zealand had to change. End of story. New Zealand have no god given right to wear the black jersey. Its this sort of arrogance that makes people dislike them. Perhaps by 2011 they will have learned a little humility and can win the trophy on home soil.

  • 101.
  • At 12:47 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • CW wrote:

'Crap' ref decisions happen, every team suffers from them at some point - c'est la vie. The forward pass should've been spotted by the touch judge, surely?

I feel that if NZ were as good as their build up (and the last 4 years) suggested they should have put the game away regardless of referee decisions?

Who cares how you win, as long as you do and by the rules? I don't think Kiwis are saying, "we got knocked out, never mind we played beautiful rugby". If the All Blacks weren't so high and mighty maybe they'd have gone for a 3 point drop goal and got the lead. It may not be pretty, but who is no longer in the WC?

Another observation of NZ rugby, there are very few highly charged atmospheres at games club or provincial. No bus loads of away fans following their teams (I admit NZ roads make that hard), no chants or songs, how many times did the Marseillese(sp, sorry) ring out? That kind of empassioned following has to be worth a few points at least?

  • 102.
  • At 12:54 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Gary S wrote:

The ref maybe simply missed the "forward pass" that resulted in France's otherwise superb try and as all youngsters are taught - you play to the whistle. It still gave the All Blacks over 10 minutes to get the 3 points they needed. Why they waited till pretty much the last minute for McAlister to try a drop-goal from the halfway line I'll never know.

Paul (61) you said "After 2003 and Englands victory, many feared the game would die, because that style is so boring to watch." - who are the "many"? I'm English and so may be biased but the 2003 RWC final was one of the least boring matches ever! A try a piece, Wilkinson and Flatley scoring penalties under huge pressure and then a 100th minute drop goal - how is that boring?! If anything, it did the complete opposite of your comment and brought a huge new following to the game which is why this world cup has had the biggest following ever.

  • 103.
  • At 01:00 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

The replay clearly shows Betsen was knocked out accidentily, when his head hit the knee of his fellow frenchman.

Whilst there may have been a forward pass, and perhaps an unwarranted yellow card, with 71% possession, and 64% territorial advantage to the All Blacks, they had ample opportunity...if they were good enough...to win the game. The fact is they were not good enough due to the superb french defence. France made 125 more tackles than the All Blacks and thoroughly deserve their victory.

New Zealand may claim to have the best players, and the greatest team on the planet...but the greatest team under pressure they are not. With so much possession they seemed bereft of ideas, a drop goal attempt from inside the 22m as opposed to the half way line would have been a good one!! Saturdays All Black team, with Johnny Wilkinson at Fly Half would not have lost that game.

There is a difference in being confident in your teams ability and being arrogant, I don't think you can call the All Black or Wallaby fans arrogant, yes they support their team, expect them to win, and back them in every situation...but isn't that what a fan does?

  • 104.
  • At 01:09 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Patrick LeFlour wrote:

Yeah, it's the referee's fault: he also forbade the Blacks to try drop goals when they were in the French 22's, and his assistants were leaning on the poles to tilt them so that the Blacks would miss the kicks?
Learn the rules of Rugby (the French did the hard way: rmemeber the 5-Nations tournaments of 20 years ago), and what is a forward pass and the momentum of a player: what counts is the position at the start.
And for the sin-bin, McAllister knew what Jauzion was able to do with the ball if he could catch it, given his speed, direction and strength. Hence the obstruction and a well deserved yellow card.
Winning or losing test matches does not count, nor friendly games like against England, the Cup does!!!

  • 105.
  • At 01:23 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

James....it's not "like football in Brazil" at all, mate. The Brazilians I've met are n't at all arrogant about football.On the contrary, they're interested in the game worldwide without needing to continually assert their own superiority. Maybe that's because Brazil has actually demonstrated how good they are when it matters.Incidentally, they seem to be pretty good losers to, from my experience.Not really much of a comparison,then...have a good flight home.

  • 106.
  • At 01:23 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • SusieD wrote:

Honestly, you'd think someone had died. The evening news yesterday devoted 30 minutes to the story and there's now to be an enquiry. Enquiry into what? They lost a rugby match. As a Pom living in NZ I keep reminding people that it's only a game and no-one actually died. Here in NZ they honestly believed that they just needed to turn up and the cup would be theirs. They've had 4 years preparation, a reconditioning programme, players taken out of club rugby etc etc so in their minds, turn up, play a few warm up matches (easiest group in the tournament) and stroll through the next rounds. Henry's head is already on the block, McCaw will survey as he's 'captain fantastic' but, with so many AB's set to move to Europe in the next couple of years and therefore disqualified for playing for the ABs it'll be interesting to see where they go from here. I'm the only happy person in the office today - England won!!!

  • 107.
  • At 01:29 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • OJ wrote:

Clearly, AB was victimised by poor refereeing by an nothern hemis bloke.TQ France for bringing back the boredoom to the game. If rugby is a donkey, French team is the hind.....Disgrace to the beauty of the game.

  • 108.
  • At 01:53 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • chris wrote:

both sets of players and coaches fronted the media and answered questions - why shouldnt the ref have to? He may have perfectly valid explanations for all the decisions he made but I'd certainly love to hear his interpretation of hands in the ruck, offside at the break-down and forward passes. I'd also like someone to praise him for the way he let the players ruck. finally! I suspect though, that he made 3 or 4 critical errors that had a huge impact on a close game. Wonder what his bosses thought of his performance? wont it be interesting to see if he gets a semi final or final. Well done France though - awesome tactical game plan and execution. regardless of the forward pass or dubious sin-bining, both tries were from great rugby

  • 109.
  • At 02:01 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

1. Re post #40: "We are now set for a very BORING remaining WORLD CUP !"

Indeed. Watching England beat the odds to overcome a much more fancied Australian side, South Africa given the fright of their lives by Fiji, and Argentina front up to beat yet another of the traditional "big 8" nations... that's boring as sin.

Whatever *shall* the inferior rest of the world do without the mighty All Blacks to show us how the game is to be played?

2. "In order to make the game more exciting refs need to focus more on offsides and hands in rucks, to assist the attacking side. South Africas rush defense would have to finally be scrutinised (sorry Habana) and the attacking side would then have more space. Penalties should be 2 and drop goals worth 1."

Let's change the entire game to a style which, surprise surprise, is a perfect fit for the way NZ play it. What a jolly good idea! Should we hand any team which traditionally performs a haka a 10-point start on the scoreboard (to match the psychological edge it gives them) while we're at it? (Oh, let's make it 15 if they're from New Zealand)

3. "I hope the ref know that he has to come to NZ at some time."

So referees shouldn't rule against NZ, regardless of right or wrong, for fear of what their fans could do? Marvellous, very mature attitude there, chump.


Listen to yourselves, NZ fans. And you wonder why there's such schadenfreude at your (otherwise wonderful) rugby nation's continued failings at World Cups.....

  • 110.
  • At 02:11 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

I am a kiwi & live in NZ - and we are not in mourning as the press will have the world believe. Shocked yes..but the majority of us were prepared for it. No matter how good the team.
Yes there were some tough calls by the ref, but so what, there are in many games. There were mistakes made that shouldn't have been made on both sides - but at the end of the day, its a game. NZ TOTALLY changed their tactics and playing style why we don't know?? The Froggies stood up to the podium & took the game on! Good on them. The blacks should have known it was a different team to what they played here in Christchurch 5 months ago....I was there in 1999 & again in 2003. You would think that NZ would learn but no...oh well.
This has been 1 of the best WC's yet - a tournament for the underdogs! Tonga, Georgia, Portugal, Argentina & Fiji. How awesome would it be if Argentina took it all the way?!!

  • 111.
  • At 02:16 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • andre wrote:

France deserved the win, they played their heart out, as Argentina did in the openning match of the RWC, fw pass, referee, bad calls are no excuse for a team that is suppose to dominate international rugby, the AB are going home because they failed to deliver, winners ( and champions ) have killer instincts, they win the tough matches, the AB lack that instinct...they are not as good as they think...well done France.

  • 112.
  • At 02:18 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"wont it be interesting to see if he gets a semi final or final."

England are in one of the semifinals, so I suspect the organisers are more likely to call on officials from countries not involved in them. Unfortunately this means Steve Walsh might get a game!

  • 113.
  • At 02:36 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • mav3r1cknz wrote:

read on only if you are a disgruntled Kiwi

Apart from feeling gutted and disgusted off the humiliating defeat of us NZers (not All Blacks as the French put it) , a few questions or thoughts just kept bombarding my head straight after this humiliating loss.

I am sure these kind of questions puzzled us all …but I will feel restless until I find answers to at least these…

Did the coach ensure that All Blacks were prepared to accept the fact that a few decisions would go against them? Was there any risk analysis performed by the coach? Did the coach take enough measures to counter the unexpected or the worst case scenarios?

– If so, the team miserably failed to adapt/change the tactics as they definitely didn't step it up a notch?

- If not, isn't it a good enough reason to blame the coach for the humiliating defeat.

Did the pressure of being the favourites did it?- If so, is the "team" prepared to handle this as one unit? And most importantly, isn't this what choking is all about????. Who's to be blamed for this? And how do the real champions handle this?

  • 114.
  • At 02:58 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

You can't always predict the outcome of a game, but there are a few things you can predict...

1. No matter who wins, the losers will blame the referee. Referees are human, they make mistakes...it's swings and roundabouts.

2. A victory by any NH team over a SH team is seen as a justification of NH rugby. How about not looking at an occasional game, but at trends. I suspect that the trend would reveal that the majority of games are won by SH teams.

3. Any time England wins a game they are once again world beaters, world champions...despite three years of woeful performances. That being said they deserved to win yesterday.

4. If England or France win the WC we will see the true meaning of arrogance and those of us who are neither English or French, might very well wish that the AB's had won the cup.

Vamos los Pumas!!!!

  • 115.
  • At 03:01 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"I don't think you can call the All Black or Wallaby fans arrogant, yes they support their team, expect them to win, and back them in every situation...but isn't that what a fan does?"

A fanatic (in the fundamentalist sense), yes. A genuine sports fan? That's a different breed of animal, one that will keep quite for the other team's anthem / kicks, applaud just as warmly when they score as when their own side do, and take it on the chin when their team loses, while acknowledging the victors' laurels.

As an Irishman, I used to think English fans were unsufferable... then I went online and ran into Australians and New Zealanders. Obviously it's not be a genuine reflection of the population, but unfortunately the most unpleasant ones are also the most vociferous - after a while, it wears you down, y'know?

  • 116.
  • At 03:14 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • gareth wrote:

Where have all the posts gone saying that the NH is in crisis?

What people failed to notice is that in the last 4 years teams have been taking each other's scalps quite regularly. Nobody is dominating like we saw 10 years ago and my hope is they never will again.

The pundits and press seemed to have turned a blind eye to what was obvious to me in their praise of the SH. Australia were bloody awful in the first half against Japan, they ignored the fact that they were gifted a try by a poor Welsh team, who also missed 3 easy kicks. SA were a lucky bounce away from losing to Tonga, NZ were error prone and uninspired against Scotland B. Yet every blog and match report was telling us these teams were unbeatable. As someone who watched the games as well as reading the match reports these results were no great surprise to me.

  • 117.
  • At 03:38 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • BRYAN wrote:

Well done France they desevred the win as the AB weren't smart enough.
If rugby is to move forward the standard of reffing has got to improve. If McAlistar was sent to the bin why wasn't the 2 frenchman also sent to the bin when they did the same thing, also the offside at the breakdown you can not stand at the side you must be behind the feet which wasn't noticed by the TG when he is only 2 metres away, same goes for hands in the ruck. How can one team not be penilized in a half, are they only watching 1 team. I think this ref had been listerning to S Jones for to long.
At the end of the day we lost when we had the winning of the game infront of us.
Sad to think that the game I love has turned into a contest where the ref is 33% of the out come.

  • 118.
  • At 03:40 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nippa wrote:

I think it all comes down to playing for the shirt. At the end of the day New Zealand turned up at this world cup with over one third of their players born outside of New Zealand. Whilst that talent may win you plaudits most of the year, when the pressure is on and you are playing for your contry's survival it has to mean more than just rugby. Michael Jones (perhaps New Zealand's greatest ever) makes it clear in all he says and does that his first love is Samoa- and that really says it all. Is it any different for the other islanders now playing for New Zealand? It is hard to imagine a prouder nation than France. When they play the players are avenging the blood of their children lost in the revolution (if you do not believe me learn the check out the words of Le Marselaisse). The All Blacks are certainly the most talented team in the world but they were nervous - I would be if I was carrying someone elses history. England fronted up on Saturday because they were said to be hated. That is an insult not just to the squad but the families and villages from where they come from. If the AB's are "hated" then an Islander will rightlky consider it an affront to the squad but does it cast a stain on his culture, his family, his very way of life? Until NZ realise that World Cups are not just about talent but that they are also about belief and fighting for your country these "upsets" will happen to them again.

  • 119.
  • At 03:43 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • M_Aradona wrote:

French forward pass? Seems that many thought it would take a miracle for any team to beat the All Blacks at this tournament. Now they're out in the quarterfinals. It was the Hand of God!

  • 120.
  • At 03:53 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • a kiwi wrote:

32
Darn right mate
A forward pass is a forward pass and the ref missing it cost us the game
Just as much was the wrongful dismissal of Luke M to the sin bin in which time the French scored 10 points..
When a ref has that kind of influence on a game its not fiction it fact.. The best team lost because of a great French defensive effort and poor refereeing..the latter should not have occurred..
Did I hear this was the refs first big game?? if it was it should not have been
All we can do now is wait 4 years and cheer for whoever
I hope the French or the Argies win it

  • 121.
  • At 04:43 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Tevis Vandergriff wrote:

Well, due to my daughter's early arrival, I had to give up my tickets to the famous (or infamous) NZ v FRA match. At the end of the day, blame only lies with Henry. His selection was a head scratcher, at best. In the run up, Mauger was the backline's calming presence when Carter misfired and Howlett lent a hand as well when inserted; neither saw the game day roster. Truly believe Henry and staff looked past this one for the semis and it bit them in the arse...BIG TIME!

  • 122.
  • At 05:30 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Roshan Fernando wrote:

In the end it came to the conversion attempts. France converted both their tries and the All Blacks just one.

By the way the French are now surely 'the' bogey team of the world's best in both versions of the better brands of football (forget the American one). In the soccer version they are the nemesis of the 'always the favourites' Brazilians - since 1986. And in rugby they have the measure of the All Blacks - surely the most underachieving world cup 'favourite' team of any sport.

  • 123.
  • At 06:51 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Christian wrote:

France the perfect team?
Wayne Barnes couldnt award NZ any penalties the entire second half.

Why on earth was a guy, with 11 test matches behind him, refereeing such an important game?

I will be surprised if Wayne Barnes continues any further in the tournament.

  • 124.
  • At 06:55 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • tony wrote:

THE ALL BLACKS HAVE NEVER WON THE WORLD CUP
Let's be clear about a simple fact that seems to evade all commentators and blogs. The all blacks have never won a properly contested RWC because the first RWC that all commentators seem to contest they won EXCLUDED arguably the best side in the world, South Africa due to the sports boycott. Therefore the RWC, in my view, can really only be considered a contest after South Africa joined the fray. And ever since NZ have never won it. So to say they are consistently the best side in the world is to play to their egos as they have never produced when it matters.
Sorry New Zealand but you guys are below par when it comes to rugby!

  • 125.
  • At 07:27 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • ben wrote:

forward pass, unjust sinbinning, French killed the ball at the breakdown, Great French defense and lack of AB passion = upset

  • 126.
  • At 07:48 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Nippa

4 of the 30 man AB squad were born offshore not one third. Collins tried hard as always (the wingers were closed out of the game). But don't let facts get in the way of your opinion.

As for Michael Jiones etc, if he was
playing as he did in 1987, the AB's would have won in 2007.

  • 127.
  • At 08:04 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ann Lyons wrote:

Why oh why is everyone so shocked that the AB's lost?? As an ardent AB fan I have been saying for the last 4 years that they wouldn't win the cup because Graham Heny was the coach. Should have got rid of him ages ago. Everyone keeps quoting the statistic that they have won 43 of their last 48 games or something like that. Yes there have been many wins but no one seemed to worry what kind of wins they were. Alot of them we were lucky to win or we won but the AB's didn't play well or with passion. I have seen alot of games where we won but they showed no magic and played quite boringly. As good a player as he is McCaw should not be captain -I never see him rouse the troops when we are down. The AB's have never been same since Sean Fitzpatrick retired. As for the France game why did the AB's play those tactics -just kicking all the time in the first 15-20 minutes. Where did that come from?? They haven't played like that for ages. And why was Robinson in the team??
Anyway for the good of the game I hope France or Argentina wins the cup.

  • 128.
  • At 08:08 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Martin wrote:


This was a game wrested away from the All Blacks by an inept refereeing display - not just Barnes but his touchies as well and by a colossal French defensive effort.

Sadly for me, the game was lost when Luke McAlister, was unjustly yellow carded, making the remaining 14 all Blacks grapple with the seemingly induced frenchmen who played like "P" freaks.

In that ensuing melee the All Black backline was decimated and left rudderless.

Any proper analysis of the game must accept that the first half was acceptable from a NZ point of view.

That the second half performance of the NZ forwards was exemplary, but that the back display was what effectively cost us the game.

Why were the backs so inept ? Undoubtedly the impact of poor refereeing.

My fellow kiwis can crow all they like about Graham Henry's great failure, but that is a short sighted and reactionary response to this most unpalatable of results.

I continue to have a suspicion that when it comes to the world cup tournaments, much is done to disempower New Zealand rugby.

Ultimately this will be to the detriment of the game.

This window on the glory that is rugby deserves much better than refereeing incompetence and skewed results based on such poor refereeing.

However, as they say, the result is now in the book and will stand to the shame of this tournament. The All Blacks were not beaten by a better side. They were beaten by inept officials and Al Qaeda tactics plauyed by the French.

  • 129.
  • At 08:17 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • greg wrote:

# 121

'Therefore in your view it can only be considered a rugby world cup when south africa joined'. I'm not disputing South Africa had a good team back then but who can tell if they would have won, some good teams have been knocked out early here, New Zealand could only beat who they were up against, and they did that convincingly.

New Zealand below par when it comes to rugby? Your right in terms of World Cup Quarter and Semi Finals - which of course are the most important games.

But don't forget they havn't lost to a Northern Hemisphere side (combined or otherwise) since 2003, and have won 43 of the last 49 tests....still not a bad side...and surely above par...

  • 130.
  • At 08:22 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • greg wrote:

# 121

'Therefore in your view it can only be considered a rugby world cup when south africa joined'. I'm not disputing South Africa had a good team back then but who can tell if they would have won, some good teams have been knocked out early here, New Zealand could only beat who they were up against, and they did that convincingly.

New Zealand below par when it comes to rugby? Your right in terms of World Cup Quarter and Semi Finals - which of course are the most important games.

But don't forget they havn't lost to a Northern Hemisphere side (combined or otherwise) since 2003, and have won 43 of the last 49 tests....still not a bad side...and surely above par...

  • 131.
  • At 08:45 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Dean Yon wrote:

Great weekend of rugby.
Poor display from the referees.

Teams can blame the ref for losses but in the end it really is something they need to live with until the Rugby Referee body take ownership of their men and maybe they should start disciplinary action such as is taken against players when they make stupid decisions. Self regulation and the belief you cannot be challenged will only bring the game down - or it goes stupid and everything (forward pass rule included) gets thrown to the video guys.

Now that would be a sad day indeed.

As a kiwi its hard to take the defeat but now I guess its time to support Argentina to a 1st world cup victory :-)

  • 132.
  • At 08:46 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Joe RYAN wrote:

New Zealand should get a team that can handle pressure. The All Blacks are magic when on tour, but they can't handle the big occasion. They should have put the game beyond reach before the end of the 1st half. Then they wouldn't have to be looking for lame excuses. A big northern hemisphere conspiracy !! Grow up or go see a psychologist.

  • 133.
  • At 08:57 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • The French Pumped You wrote:

>>>>"However, as they say, the result is now in the book and will stand to the shame of this tournament. The All Blacks were not beaten by a better side. They were beaten by inept officials and Al Qaeda tactics played by the French."

I have a three year old daughter. She demonstrates far more maturity than these so called "fans" of NZ rugby.

I have spent the last 3 years working alongside Kiwis. Lovely people, but when it comes to the rugby, unspeakably arrogant. "It's our tournament. We'll walk it." Now I have the joy of watching their preening team (with their beach muscles and poodle-perm haircuts) meekly melting into the background.

That's bad enough, but could have been tempered by an ability to lose with dignity. But then we encounter posts like the one above. Total denial. It's anybody's fault but theirs. What next? NZ dumped out due to Global Warming.

Pathetic. A cautionary tale - a nation desperate for heroes places all it's identity in the outcome of a fifteen man game. Get a life. You were pumped by the French. End of.

  • 134.
  • At 09:13 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • John Mac wrote:

Comment from Hernan,

If the Tri Nations are so far up their own arses let the Pumas join the 6 Nations and base themselves in Spain as has been rumoured.

We lost last night but would welcome them to Murrayfield anytime.

Let's hope Scotland face them in Argentina this Summer as world champions !

Vamonos muchachos.

  • 135.
  • At 09:40 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

I don't actually think NZ played that badly, but it certainly wasn't the fault of the ref that they lost

Carter is the best in the world, contrary to other posts, but he was not fit and limped off. Nick Evans was looking dangerous but also went off, leaving the tempremental Luke McCalister to call the shots for that all important last 10. Without their key playmakers NZ had no ideas and reverted to England style stuff it up the jumper, except they didn't go for a drop goal.

Talking of McCalister his yellow card looked harsh from one angle, but from another you see him take a glance at Jauzion.

Also the forward pass was a difficult call because it was a short pass and was difficult to judge if you weren't level with it

  • 136.
  • At 09:54 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • aussiekiwilosers wrote:

It was great to see the southern hemisphere teams get what they deserved on Saturday. I'm sick of continually hearing how good they are. They may have the skills but they don't have any bottle. When the going got tough on Saturday Carter, Collins, Oliver, Kelleher were all on the sidelines. No heart and no bottle.

They need to change their Tri-Nations as it is no good for them. They get carried away playing each other and telling themselves how superior they are to everyone else. They need more varied competition. Maybe they should give their tournament a bit credibility and invite Argentina to join. Better still get Tonga and Fiji in there. Maybe then the best players for Island countires would stay with their native country and we would truly have more top games!!

Either way it was good to see the arrogant bottlers lose. Long may it continue

  • 137.
  • At 09:55 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ibanez wrote:

Re #127 Martin Hine,

I wouldnt say the refereeing was inept at all. McCaw has been playing offside in rucks for years. At last a referee saw it and was quick to penalise him.

McCallister was rightly yellow carded, as Traille could very easily have scored the touchdown try. McCallister did move to block him, no doubt.

The pass for the 2nd French try was forward, we all agree. But first reflect that it was done at breakneck speed, (And so v. difficult for the referees to see) and secondly tell me how many times do the AB's get away with forward passes to go on and score tries? OFTEN - I can rememeber two or three already in this World Cup, including close thing against France.

NZ failed again to play to their potential, once the pressure got too much. The NZ players lost the match, and it wasnt because of refereeing.

The French courage and heart was a joy to behold. Don't understand what you mean by Al Qaeda tactics at all. Clearly the tactic was to kick for territory for 60 minutes, and then start to run the ball.

Tri-Nations teams seem to me to play rugby to score tries, and not to win matches where bonus points dont count.

  • 138.
  • At 09:56 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Perceval wrote:

I watched the game as a semi neutral observer - as an England fan I hoped for a French win on the grounds that France are more familiar opponents and have less of a "hoodoo" over England than do the ABs. The result, although pleasing, felt hollow. The match officials seemed to be the only people in the stadium who did not see that huge forward pass. Traille looked more like a quarter-back than a fly half with that one.

Now Graham Henry and his players are going home to take some terrible stick. Yes, this and that went wrong, could have been done better/differently, should x or y have played, do they play better in black blah, blah...everyone's an expert afterwards. The cold fact of the matter is that NZ are out of the RWC due to a blunder by the match officials, pure and simple. (That sinbinning was really harsh too). It is a sad day when a team loses such an important game because 3 officials make a mess of it. You cannot blame Henry and his team for that.

Were France better? No (they played well though). Were they unbelievably lucky? Yes.

  • 139.
  • At 10:00 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • buile shuibhne wrote:

The ref . . . the shirts . . . lord almighty, to think the word whingeing usually goes with Pom!
Richie McCaw inadvertently hit the nail on the head - "They didn't let us play our game."
It doesn't matter whether you have (or think you have) the best game in the world if, when you meet an opponent who decides not to let you play that game, you're too thick or arrogant to have a plan B.
It's the same malaise that has Kiwis on here crying about still being obviously the best team in the world. The results show that's clearly untrue - whenever it's really mattered, the ABs don't have what it takes, and heart and intelligence are just as much a part of a top team's requirements as the skills that allow you to hammer Portugal.

Perhaps if they were to now rethink the greedy, incestuous world of the Tri-Nations, they might learn how to play against and cope with a wider variety of opponents. Bringing in Argentina and the islands would mean more regular exposure to teams that put their heart and soul on the line to beat you, something which the All Blacks very obviously currently can't handle.

  • 140.
  • At 10:08 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Brad wrote:

It was a day where every thing did not go to plan. The French played out of their skins. But it must be said that how did a rookie ref be in charge of the most important quater-final, while the worlds best ref (Jonathen Kaplin) was doing the sideline. The All Blacks had control of the game until the ref had a brain explosion and sent Luke Mcalister to the sin bin for a marginally late charge down.
Then he missed a blatent forward pass that lead to France scoring the winning try.
This was just part of the reason why France won. The All Blacks were not ready for a game this tuff, which you must wonder there mental state.
Any way its a France - England semi fianl.
Good Luck to Argentina!!!!!

  • 141.
  • At 10:18 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Clarke wrote:

Fantastic game but just a shame NZ had to go outso early. Was a game fit for the final.

Unfortunately there is no doubt but that NZ blew it. Although Barnes was desperately poor, NZ should really have won by 20 with all the possession they had. They seemed to lose direction after CArter and Henry went off and not having Mauger there to come on was a huge mistake. He's a great player who has been hugely influential for NZ;I just could not understand the logic in leaving him out. Luke MCAlister, a fine player, is not a test class 10. Also felt Chris Jack and Howlett should have started.

France as soon as they shed their crazy kicking game were a different team and if they play like that again they will be in the final. I feel they will match England up front but will have too much out wide.

  • 142.
  • At 10:20 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Alasdair wrote:

Conspiracy theories!
Biased referees!
Blatent off-sides!
Arrogant players!
North / South divides!


At the end of the day the underdogs won - and that is exciting for most of us. Upset in the World Cup stops the predictability, adds to the atmosphere and encourages the "minnows" to try harder. It is about the winner on the day - not about how great a team has been for the last 4 years that counts. You play the referee - you play hard and fair - and if you lose you do so with magnanimity.

I have been impressed by the "lesser" teams who have played with passion and some skill. The world game is opening up in this professional era and this must be good for rugby - rather than being restricted to a select 8 and an extended 12 nations. It would be great if the mould were broken and Argentina managed to get through to a final or even win. I am sure that the "Quad Nations" would be better for an extra team - the "Five Nations" benefited from becoming the "Six Nations".

So to those who lost in the quarters - go home with some pride at taking part, build again for the next time, have no long press-fed post-mortems and enjoy the game.

Alasdair

  • 143.
  • At 10:21 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Clarke wrote:

Fantastic game but just a shame NZ had to go outso early. Was a game fit for the final.

Unfortunately there is no doubt but that NZ blew it. Although Barnes was desperately poor, NZ should really have won by 20 with all the possession they had. They seemed to lose direction after CArter and Henry went off and not having Mauger there to come on was a huge mistake. He's a great player who has been hugely influential for NZ;I just could not understand the logic in leaving him out. Luke MCAlister, a fine player, is not a test class 10. Also felt Chris Jack and Howlett should have started.

France as soon as they shed their crazy kicking game were a different team and if they play like that again they will be in the final. I feel they will match England up front but will have too much out wide.

  • 144.
  • At 10:26 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • tony wrote:

Ref was pro NZ? Cobblers.
I would have shown McCaw yellow after the first three rucks - seeing as how he lay on wrong side of each them.
We are all sick of being told they are the bestest, biggest, strongest side ever. Well, in the last 20 minutes they bottled it. No one to blame but themselves.

  • 145.
  • At 10:31 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ant wrote:

How can you possibly say McAlister did not deserve to be sent off, look at the replay then next time you get a chance a fraction of a second before McAlister shoulders into Jauzion he hunches it up ready for the impact. Now if he did not mean to do it then he would not have readied himself would he?

The match was won by Laporte, pure and simple, he was the one who identified the areas where France could win and the team pulled it off.

  • 146.
  • At 10:43 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

I feel sorry for the All Black fans, as they are truly passionate rugby supporters. Maybe NZ can break the cycle of peaking between World Cups if they revert to a policy of selecting only New Zealanders. Surely they used to win more before they started stealing all the best Samoa, Fiji and Tongan talent?

  • 147.
  • At 10:53 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • harryscot wrote:

it is quite clear that the referee in this game had a bit of a shocker with the french try. two quite clear forward passes that neither he nor his touch judges managed to pick up. In fact from my view of the i felt the referee failed to take full control of an erractic game, unlike so many his counterparts have succesfully done in this tournament. having said this the game was not ultimately lost by a 'couple of forward passes' but in the lack of leadership within the NZ team. in the dying moments of the game they had more than enough possesion to score some form of points and with the talent they had on the pitch this should not hav been a problem. but in reality they just looked lost and unsure of what to do. they lacked the ability to close out a game that England demonstrated so well against Australia.
if there was a world tournamnet played like a league new zealand would win ever time but when it comes down to the one-off matches played in a world cup u can throw form away and it comes down to pure guts and determination, which in my opinion is the beauty of rugby. yeah its nice to watch ridiculous trys scored in the super 14 but i couldn't get enough of the intense battle in the scrum in the England game. in such one-off matches if ur in the game with 20 mins to go it doesn't matter if u've got McCaw at 7 collins at 8, carter at 10, anyone can win a game........
come-on Argentina!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 148.
  • At 10:56 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

If you watch the build up to the second New Zealand try there was a clear forward pass very early on (on about the NZ 10 metre line) so there's no point in complaining about forward passes. I thought that Wayne Barnes generally had a good time - he rightly penalised McCaw for being off his feet at the tackle and ruck (which he usually gets away with) and, for all of Murray Mexted's protestations, he rightly showed the yellow card to MacAllister.

  • 149.
  • At 10:58 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Clarke wrote:

Fantastic game but just a shame NZ had to go outso early. Was a game fit for the final.

Unfortunately there is no doubt but that NZ blew it. Although Barnes was desperately poor, NZ should really have won by 20 with all the possession they had. They seemed to lose direction after CArter and Henry went off and not having Mauger there to come on was a huge mistake. He's a great player who has been hugely influential for NZ;I just could not understand the logic in leaving him out. Luke MCAlister, a fine player, is not a test class 10. Also felt Chris Jack and Howlett should have started.

France as soon as they shed their crazy kicking game were a different team and if they play like that again they will be in the final. I feel they will match England up front but will have too much out wide.

  • 150.
  • At 11:00 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Gary Stevens wrote:

What a game and what a tournament. I was present for the Cardiff match and right from the outset, when the French totally fronted up the Haka, I knew what the French tactic was. Pure and simple - get in the faces of the All Blacks. Don't let them play you, play them. Too many teams have sat back and let the AB's play. The Haka is a traditional challenge, it also makes for great TV, which in turn helps the game. I should imagine it must be quite something to see this from an opposing side. The French totally used this to make a clear statement when they fronted up the Haka so, so well, which they translated into great play on Saturday night.

What great defence from the French even though they missed many tackles. Michalak and Chabal set the game on fire again when they came on. Sure the pass was forward from Michalak, but then so were a few AB and French passes before hand, but this one mattered. It seemed the French backs were offside or rather ‘flat’ most of the 2nd half, giving the AB's no space, however, the AB's needed to adapt to the game and chip kick etc! It is well noted that the AB’s should have had a drop kick policy, but after Carter came off, that option seemed to not have been thought about. Carter was under an injury cloud before the game and maybe shouldn’t have played as he was off form and he felt it.

As a note on the kit, how would the English like it if they had to turn out in off-green? We’re the called the All Blacks because of the kit, not the All Greys. I love the analysis and the banter, but it seems the English are full of vitriol about the All Blacks, yet the French are full of fun for the game. French fans are also great fun and just love the game. So for me Alez les Bleus and well done! I love the All Blacks and Rugby and always will. We as NZ'ers are feeling the pain and it is a lumpy throat that says (again), lets see you all in 4 years.

  • 151.
  • At 11:05 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Liamin wrote:

I would love to have been watching this with that nasty guy Zinzan Brooke. For years he has been on this website taunting Northern Hemisphere rugby. All the comments after Ireland went out angered me massively - where are the antipodeans now? Same place as Ireland, Wales and Scotland: HOME. There will be a northern hemisphere team in the final whilst the tri-nations may not feature at all.

Also stop making excuses. At least the Irish just said we were bad - not good enough. Simple.

There is no doubt that NZ are incredible team on their day and in my opinion Ireland are too but sometimes great teams don't show up and don't deserve to win.

Don't make excuses - forward pass yes but if any team should be on the wrong end of a forward pass decision it is NZ. For too long NZ have got away with murder in many aspects of the game.

  • 152.
  • At 11:06 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Brodders wrote:

New Zealand do not have a strong record in the RWC, so why is everybody being so presumtious?

To blame the referee for a defeat is very poor indeed, and to make personal jibes about his nationality is just weak. There were four officials in that match, so to lambast Wayne in that way is really poor and devoid of any sort of sense.

I bet the ref's nationality wasn't a problem BEFORE the match - it's just now that he has (allegedly) single-handedly plotted New Zealand's demise in favour of the French that he was doing it because he's English. If you think that his national team was the first thing on his mind when he went out there at the Millennium Stadium, then you will have been very far wrong.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm English and would have preferred to face New Zealand next week, rather than a fired-up French side in front of their home crowd.

Furthermore, if Barnes is *SOLELY* responsible for NZ's downfall, then why has Graham Henry had to step down?

Why can't NZ show some humility and say 'thanks for having us, we had a great time - next time you might not be so lucky' and be on their way?

An example should be taken from how Fiji conducted themselves when knocked out. They played with heart and pride and when they lost, they held their heads high and got a fantastic ovation from all who watched them. NZ would have received the same farewell if they'd shown some dignity - people recognise they played some of the best rugby in the tournament and would congratulate them for that if only they received it with a smile on their faces.

I love watching New Zealand, and I think they're fantastic. But I think they'd be a lot more fantastic if they were a little more humble. Strength and greatness are even greater when teams take a loss like real men.

  • 153.
  • At 11:10 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Gilmore wrote:

As someone who desperatly wanted the All Blacks to win (loved to have seen them destroy england in the semi) Saturday night was a huge disapointment.

firstly Dan Carter was clearly not fit. huge game and he was rushed back, but not ready. Just look at how many of his kicks for touch that did not find touch and let France come back. It was a great pity as he is a wonderful player but we have not been able to see the best of him in this tournament.

Seconly, the yellow card was deserved. LM decided that the french boy may score and that 3points and a sin bin would be better than 7 points. In that he got it wrong, 10 points against. That is the gamble you take but he knew what he was doing.

Thirdly. The second french try was clearly a forward pass. None of this hard to see c**p. The touch judge was 5 or 10 meters away almost in a line with the play. In a game like this it so often comes down to decisons like this and it is a pity as major games should not be decided by bad decisions.

Why did the All Blacks not go for a drop goal in the last 5 mins. well, firstly look at the Irish experience in the last 6 nations. 2 point ahead kickable pen with 2 or 3 mins left. I was shouting at the tv to put it in the corner and keep it there, game over. they went for the points, got them and the french went up the pitch and scored a converted try to win the game. My guess is that the All Blacks wanted a try (natutrally), but they also did not want to drop goal with 3 or 4 mins left as it would leave the french time to do the same thing. Their prob was that they lost the ball with 2.30 left and the french punted it up the pitch after a little time wasting, leaving a drop goal as only option from half way. If they had the ball in the last two minutes in the 22 they would have taken it, but it did not work like that, these things happen in sport.

great disapointment to see both the AB's and Aus go home but these things happen. Lets just hope france play as well on Saturday, (and that the choker Michalak does not play and miss pen after pen again). France SA final would be good, but lets face it anything could well happen, but lets hope the french teach the english another rugby lesson as they do every 2 years in france.

  • 154.
  • At 11:10 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Tilley wrote:

All Blacks got what they deserved again.

Is it just me or would anyone else like to see the opposition do a silly dance too - maybe like Eric and Ernie - before the match?

  • 155.
  • At 11:12 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • David Purveur wrote:

I am an English supporter who loves rugby. I had no expectation of enjoying anything in this world cup other than the spectacle of the best game ever invented, but this weekend has thrilled me as much as the 2003 final, the passion is back.

I have spent two days cheering for England, then France and then Scotland. I now read in bloggs all over Scots hailing the English, French congratulating les ros bouef. This incredible tournament has shown there is an understanding and appreciation between the northern hemisphere teams and fans and even a camaraderie which transcends the normal rivalry that appears not to be present among the tri-nations.

The AB's may carp about refereeing decisions but that just makes them sore losers. Show me a team in this tournament that has not similarly suffered. You have to deal with it and get on.

I am now looking forward to a final that will definately feature a northern hemisphere team (and how I would have loved Scotland to be among them). Be they blue or (please God) white I shall be cheering them on, assuming of course my nerves hold out next weekend.

  • 156.
  • At 11:17 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Hugo wrote:

As a french fan, of course I'm overwhelmed by this game ; I knew it could happen in 99, but this time I must confess I wouldn't have bet a dime.
All hypocrisy aside, I would like to say to kiwis that I do feel sorry for them, that whatever Saturday's result, they are the greatest team in the world, and one of the best ever. They are to rugby what Brazil is to football ; they epitomize the game, and are a joy to watch. IMHO, their only weakness is mental, they lack the killer instinct (exactly as Brazil in football). As for France, well, we truly are not the best team in the world, but from now on, we know that in the future, whenever NZ faces France, on the eve of the game, nightmares will come to haunt them. Exactly as when Brazil faces France in football, by the way. And that is an incredible achievement.

  • 157.
  • At 11:28 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Rosie wrote:

As previously mentioned, from a young age you are taught to play to the ref.

IMO Luke Macalister (sp sorry) did give a shove within the 5 metre zone and therefore a yellow card was inevitable. This is not to detract from the fact that he is an awesome player and I look forward to him joining Sale.

The ABs should get some tips from Fiji when it comes to playing with 14 men - they seemed to do OK!

As an avid English fan, although I was cheering for the French, I would have preferred a NZ semi as I feel playing France in France is going to be alot tougher than if we had been playing the team that knocked out France in France.

Will be at the final and cheering on whichever NH team gets there!

  • 158.
  • At 11:32 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • graham mould wrote:

Forgive me for sounding cynical, but why do I get the feeling that the name of the winner for the 2007 Rugby World Competition has already been etched on the cup?

  • 159.
  • At 11:36 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

It'a amusing how every NZ fan who goes on about the forward pass costing them the game forgets to mention that it was 60m away from the line and that NZ then went on to miss several key tackles. Sure it was a bad call by the ref for missing it but it was also absolutely appalling defense by NZ, even if the pass had been backward you wouldn't have been able to stop the French scoring that try.

Attempt to blame the refereeing all you want but NZ weren't the vastly superior rugby team everyones made them out to be.

  • 160.
  • At 11:41 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Howesy wrote:

So NZ, the team who had won the 2007 world cup before this year's tri nations had even started, fail yet again.

Despite an easy group, the luxury of central contracts & pulling their players out of the Super 14 for 2 months, having the (self-described) "2 best teams in world rugby" and being allowed to shout and scream and stamp at their oppo from 2 feet away, seconds before kickoff, the mighty All Blacks choke miserably.

What a shame!

As usual, the NZers blame everyone but their own players. (http://www.haka.co.nz/allblacks.php)

And the ridiculously stuckup attitude that goes with it, 'oh NH teams don't score tries' etc, 'they're boring, all they do is kick' - Winning is all that matters, and to those that say in NZ winning in STYLE is the most important thing - it's obviously not or everyone wouldn't be so outraged. I thought NZ would actually pull through and win it this time, they undoubtedly have the skill and talent, and had the kind of buildup they needed, my only thinking is that it was too easy for them so they weren't ready when France came at them... I think they fell apart with their gameplan, as many have mentioned - obv after having two 10's injured they were tactically in trouble..? I wonder how much of a part of it was Henry's fault also? After his useless change of gameplan in that Lions tour (I can't remember which one lol) at halftime that caused them to lose badly after being in contention.

I'm not sure about the sinbinning incident, it's not like he's making ANY effort to actually retrieve the ball, so in reality he's just there to stop the French player getting to the ball... however how close would Jauzion have even got to the ball?

I do sympathesize with NZ though as the margins in these games is so so so small, with the decisions going against them at key times etc, but for a team stacked with so much talent, and for all the whinging, the game is 80 minutes, and don't forget Fiji scored TWO tries against SA with 14 men?!

  • 162.
  • At 11:47 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

>>>>"However, as they say, the result is now in the book and will stand to the shame of this tournament. The All Blacks were not beaten by a better side. They were beaten by inept officials and Al Qaeda tactics played by the French."

I have a three year old daughter. She demonstrates far more maturity than these so called "fans" of NZ rugby.

I have spent the last 3 years working alongside Kiwis. Lovely people, but when it comes to the rugby, unspeakably arrogant. "It's our tournament. We'll walk it." Now I have the joy of watching their preening team (with their beach muscles and poodle-perm haircuts) meekly melting into the background.

That's bad enough, but could have been tempered by an ability to lose with dignity. But then we encounter posts like the one above. Total denial. It's anybody's fault but theirs. What next? NZ dumped out due to Global Warming.

Pathetic. A cautionary tale - a nation desperate for heroes places all it's identity in the outcome of a fifteen man game. Get a life. You were pumped by the French. End of.

  • 163.
  • At 11:58 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • JB wrote:

As a French I am of course very happy, but I still cannot understand why NZ stopped playing an open game once they got ahead. I am afraid the only answer is too much ego and male hormons, France had only courage to offer an NZ played a tight game, going for contact and muscle instead of running and outsmarting the French defense. They played like schoolyard bullies, they have been just plain stupid. Maybe firing them up by confronting the Haka did take a bit of their lucidity..
Forward pass ? Yes, but funny complains comming from SH team !!!
Penalties, at last a Ref was courageous enought to ask McCaw (a fantastic player) to follow the same rules as anyone else, big surprise for him.
Play this game 10 times we will lose (heavily) 9, but NZ chocked, once again.. as we may chocke against England..

  • 164.
  • At 11:58 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • thierry wrote:

it's a pity for rugby lovers to have to bear with boring teams such as france, england and argentina in the semis. At least, argentina have come a long way, winning respect from everybody but clearly, the ABs offer something else. the french can only defend whereas they keep bragging about the 'french flair', they got away this time thanks to bad refereeing decisions. the ABs are the only ones who can claim to play with flair. I'm so sad to see them go at this stage. Also, as one of you rightly said, drop that marketing stuff, drop your current apparel supplier and get back to wearing that kiwi brand of yours. a french supporter and fan of the game, whatever the team.

  • 165.
  • At 11:59 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • neil wrote:

HAS THE ALL BLACK MYTH BEEN BUST

Clearly the All Blacks or should I say New Zealand were convincing favourites for this match, but despite Rugby Union being the only real male team sport played in the country, and despite the pillaging of the best talent from the neighbouring polynesia New Zealand is a small country. New Zealand have traded on the idea of the mystique of the Blacks complete with ludicrous war dance, especially ludicrous when your ancestors are from Hertfordshire or Hamilton. But at the end of the day they are 15 guys, albeit talente,d but also arrogant and conceited.

I thnk that it is great for the game of rugby that they are off home to Wellington, perhaps the next time they set foot on the World Cup stage they will have some humility and realism. All very well putting 100 points past an emerging nation, but when the chips are down you need to believe that you can, not think that it is ordained you will!

  • 166.
  • At 12:04 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Davey J wrote:

The sight of Chabal straining at the leash, with a look of pure devilment in his eyes, during the Haka is something i will remember for a very long time. Unbelievable!!

  • 167.
  • At 12:26 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

People can say what they like about pride and passion in the France/NZ game but the plain fact remains that NZ were justifiably the odds on favs. for this match and the tournament. The fact also remains that France scored 10 points when NZ were contentiously down to 14 men and the deciding try blatantly involved a forward pass if not 2. Those are the facts. As someone above said other than these France scored 3 points. As a Sale supporter I love Chabal and Bruno but the French were decidely fortunate in a way that is difficult to repeat as well as enjoying the benefit of some dubious refereeing. As a Rugby fan, I do not like to see this sort of dubious officiating. Before anybody starts, I'm English and pleased we beat Australia but I regard England as a tier B side.

Pleased to see Argentina this time and they should definitely be involved in either the Tri or 6 nations.

  • 168.
  • At 12:31 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Robinson wrote:

The forward pass was a moment of brilliance from the French back line. They must have studied England's game against the AB in Wellington, when Howlett received a forward pass to break the English line and score a try. They still lost the match, even though the English only had 13 players on the pitch for 10 minutes!

  • 169.
  • At 12:45 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

There may have been some questionable decisions made but to all of those Kiwi fellas bemoaning Wayne Barnes, give some thought to the actions of your very own Steve Walsh?

  • 170.
  • At 12:46 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

If the assessment of this latest failure is that an attacking game is not suited to winning Cups, it would not be a surprise if the AB's adopt a more conservative game plan to win in 2011.

They would then be criticised for a win at all costs attitude and lessening the game as a spectacle , but would probably learn to live with it (as per Brazil 1994 after 20 years away from a victory in football).

The, they do the haka therefore deserve to lose nonsense is one thing. The inferred slights that lesser teams (those not favourites) are happy to just make the quarter-final amongst their betters, so should they nonsense, shows a NH bonding that has a very old establishment order of Europe born to rule slap on the back feel to it and is another.

It is understandable that NH teams were a little insecure over the 87 to 99 results and wondered if they would ever win it. Thus the idea of the AB's as the chokers when the English had success of 2003 (when co-favourites). But that seemed very fleeting of late with the Tri-Nations teams ranked in the top tier at the moment, so I suppose the relief of the English win and then the French beating the AB's is now pouring out of some commnetators here.

Whether this results in the AB's adopting a more conservative winning style for this event in future, time will tell.

But much more of the the AB's have only win games by tries because their own forward passes are not called, could decide the decision.

Please note a team has to score tries first before they win a game by doing so. Thats what AB teams do, even if others win their's without doing so.

  • 171.
  • At 12:51 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nzder wrote:

To everyone who complains about Richie McCaw Do you guys no the rules of rugby the reason why Mc caw gets stuck in the rucks is because players that are ineligable to place the ball eg flat on their back are holding onto it. He is quite rightly entitles to play at the ball and try to wrestle it from them before the ruck forms and then place the ball back before the pack arrives don't confused supreme physical ability with illegal activity.
We deserved to loose of course we did we tried to take on the strengths of the opposition and not show to many tactics before the final. The main problem with the game is that the french didn't deserve to win. The only reason that there was any excitment in the game was that the ref played his agenda to everyone who was there at the game before halftime where you at all excited about the game I bet you not. The ref gave a bad yellow card and then 'forget' to check with his touch judges or the fourth offical for a forward pass. After caning the froggies around the paddock it is a discrace to see that we only lost two statistics how much the ref was paid and the final score.

  • 172.
  • At 01:13 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

According to the New Zealand Herald we are all labouring under the misapprehension that the World Cup is of any value. With impeccable journalistic objectivity their correspondent Mr Gay claims that the crying masses can console themselves with the fact that NZ are still the best, that they were the best in 2003 and the best in 1999 - in fact they have always been the best. He cites the fact that the world cup forces the NZ team to rely on meaningless pool games and then a lottery of a knock out game, to assert their natural right as the rugby masters. For the full laughable article Google "All Blacks Lose " and it comes out top. If this is the attitude they have , why on earth are they hosting the next RWC (no excuses then !). We, who think the RWC is fantastic, know the truth of course - they are serial bottlers.

  • 173.
  • At 01:19 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Guy colegate wrote:

Reading the NZ press yesterday and today provides the insights that should tell the All Blacks why so many in the rugby world are glad to see them vanquished. It was the ref, it was a forward pass, it was the yellow card blah blah blah. It was none of this-it was the French.That's why you lost. Grow up. The All Blacks appear to have entered this comptition in the same graceless spirit that has come to typify the team under Henry-an arrogant strut of cynical imperviousness. We have all marvelled at the team's play, but a lot of us have despaired at this attitude-expressed by both managers and players alike. Its also present across their game-whether its spear tackles on O'Driscoll, McCaw's endless illegalities at the breakdown, the running of blockers etc etc. They got a way with all of it for a while-but Chabal's face at the Haka let us all know France had called time on it. At the end of that particular tomfoolery (which has been "honored" for far too long by opposition) the ABs looked a little ridiculous. The disintegration of AB cohesion under pressure was a timely reminder of the dangers of self adulation. The rabbit in the head lights face of Carter, McCaw's sheer disbelief that he could be penalised, Mcalister's mock incomprehension at the carding when he knew damn well what he was doing when he launched his ill-timed shoulder barge. If he didn't I can tell him- he got caught cheating, was binned and his team lost. End of.
And still the whole of NZ apparently cannot see this-it was all someone else's fault.

  • 174.
  • At 01:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KEVIN COCHRANE wrote:

Oh, the schaudenfreude! - the sweet irony of watching Kiwis choke yet again! Why only just before the RWC began we were being told that the AB's had put on so much weight and strength due to their training programme - no one, the AB's said, would be able to compete with them.

Rugby is a game of wit as well as brawn and to watch the AB's go through some 27 phases of possession in thelast 10 minutes when they only needed a drop goal was to see the triumph of muscles over mental acuity.

As for the Aussies - England are World Champs - the arrogance of the Aussies in thinking they only had to turn up to beat us - think again.

See you chokers down under in 2011!

  • 175.
  • At 01:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Dragon Hicks wrote:

I love these boards, they always stimulate such great debate. As a Welshman, I've always thought that NZ and Wales have so much in common. Both sides like to play an expansive, exciting game, both countries are arguably the most passionate rugby nations (although after this world cup...!), both sides have an unwavering self-belief, and although the results couldnt be more different, we share something else in common that Wales are just beginning to get over - blaming the Ref. Wales have been on the end of shocking Ref decisions, to name but 2 - the 2 forward passes the Aussies scored from in the QF of the 1999 RWC and more recently in the 2007 6 Nations where Wales were clearly told against Italy (captured on TV nonetheless) that they had 10 seconds left and kicked out for a line out only for the Ref to blow the whistle!! Wales have learned that if you need to blame the Ref for losing a game, it was likely a game you didn't deserve to win. Suck it up NZ, Wales do, regularly and like Ireland & Scotland in this RWC, you were simply beaten by a better side on the day. NZ will still likely go on and retain the number 1 ranking spot for the next 4 years....you will one day win the RWC. As for Graham Henry and Steve Hansen, your old posts at Wales are vacant again....fancy a another punt? ;-)

  • 176.
  • At 01:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Can someone cite any current AB as talent raided from any South Pacific nation (the 4 not born here came here with their migrating families)?

As for the idea that New Zealanders are simply people descended from those of England/UK/Eire ... .

Do some of you know what a bi-cultual nation with a multi-cultural society is and how offensive it is to say that a tradition of our indigenous people is not now of our national culture and that some of the non British migrants (and their descendants born here) should instead play for their island of origin instead ... .

Does one need to point out who Benazi of France should have played for then or Sackey of England, to make it clear how silly that is.

Why are so many on this site so misinformed about any of this, if we here are simply migrants out of the UK. Yeah right.

  • 177.
  • At 01:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Murray McRobie wrote:

Some interesting comments.
I'm a NZer living in London and was at the millenium stadium on Saturday. Very very exciting stuff. And I have absolutely no problem with the French winning. And what a great game rugby is, the NZ fans may have been gutted but I didn't see any fights among fans.

I really thought NZ would do it this time round and in a sense they were unlucky to come up against France as early as the quarters. Months ago I was picking a NZ vs France final - with France to win.

For those with negative comments re fans please don't get carried away. NZer's maybe a little cocky about rugby but who wouldn't be with such an outstanding record, that is in all games outside World Cups. And is anyone suggesting Australians weren't cocky after their World cup wins and England weren't cocky after theirs?. Remember how (Sir) Clive Woodward could walk on water after Sydney 2003 only to lose the best prepared and financed Lion's tour two years later.

Sport is sport. That's what makes it great - it is not just about brains and brawn it is about uncertainty. And it sure beats war anyday.

  • 178.
  • At 01:32 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Bob wrote:

I'm going to argue a strange point here but it occurs to me that the All Blacks are the victim of their own success. Not because they are arrogant - on the contrary considering their squad has arguably the 30 or so, most talented, athletic rugby players of the last 3 years; they seem pretty down to earth to me. But when other teams play them they have generally waved the white flag before the game even starts. So the AB's are rarely in a position to fight for a win. When a team really does stand up to them ( can't think of too many examples ) they do have a chance of putting the New Zealanders in an unfamiliar psychological position.

That game against scotland in Murrayfield was significant for many reasons well covered on the Blogs but perhaps if Scotland had put a decent scrap the all blacks wouldn't have lost?

  • 179.
  • At 01:36 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • AlwaysBottlingout wrote:

AB should now stand for Always Bottlingout...5 RWCs later and still they can't win despite being favourites. No use blaming Ref, Shirt colour or food poisoning (aka 95)...the track record shows that they can't hack it. What will be the excuse in 2011..oh we lost because of home advantage. Time to grow up and accept the facts and take responsiblity for a poor performance...Allez les bleus

  • 180.
  • At 01:39 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I not sure what annoys me more. The arrogance of the Kiwi fans before the tournament or the bitter moaning and ranting of them now that they've lost.

Face it,

1. Yes it was a forward pass. As was one of your tries so that's even.

2. Yes it was a yellow card. He looked where the runner was and deliberately blocked him. And no the ref didn't think he'd have got the try otherwise it would have been a penalty try not just a yellow.

3. With 10 minutes to go, the Kiwi bench looked like frightened rabbits stuck in the headlights. They'd already decided they'd lost. That's why the French sneaked it. Not the ref or the touch judges. You just bottled it. Again.

All I can say is that you came here to take England's World cup title away from them but ended up leaving having taken their 'Whinging' title instead.

  • 181.
  • At 01:41 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Steph wrote:

AB's are the best team but they didn't prepare the World Cup like others teams

1.Ab played only in the easy pool ( Not real opponent or test match except vs Scottish)
2.When we seen a news report about the Ab's in the french TV , it was a big surprise..Ab's playing ping pong , Ab's in the swimming pool, Visiting churchs in Marseille...like the AB's in holidays (Great funny for the sponsor maybe..)

Unfortunaly the northern team wasn't favorite and prepared more seriously the event.
The French and England rugby is not dead…definitively …
Good Luck England for the next match ( I support France ;) , I’m french but fairplay

Steph

  • 182.
  • At 01:42 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Guy colegate wrote:

Reading the NZ press yesterday and today provides the insights that should tell the All Blacks why so many in the rugby world are glad to see them vanquished. It was the ref, it was the yellow card blah blah blah. It was none of this-it was the French.That's why you lost. Grow up. The All Blacks appear to have entered this comptition in the same graceless spirit that has come to typify the team under Henry-an arrogant strut of cynical imperviousness. We have all marvelled at the team's play, but a lot of us have despaired at this attitude-expressed by both managers and players alike. Its also present across their game-whether its spear tackles on O'Driscoll, McCaw's endless illegalities at the breakdown, the running of blockers etc etc. They got a way with all of it for a while-but Chabal's face at the Haka let us all know France had called time on it. At the end of that particular tomfoolery (which has been "honored" for far too long by opposition) the ABs looked a little ridiculous. The disintegration of AB cohesion under pressure was a timely reminder of the dangers of self adulation. The rabbit in the head lights face of Carter, McCaw's sheer disbelief that he could be penalised, Mcalister's mock incomprehension at the carding when he knew damn well what he was doing when he launched his ill-timed shoulder barge. If he didn't I can tell him- he got caught cheating, was binned and his team lost. End of.
And still the whole of NZ apparently cannot see this-it was all someone else's fault.

  • 183.
  • At 01:43 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Murray McRobie wrote:

Some interesting comments.
I'm a NZer living in London and was at the millenium stadium on Saturday. Very very exciting stuff. And I have absolutely no problem with the French winning. And what a great game rugby is, the NZ fans may have been gutted but I didn't see any fights among fans.

I really thought NZ would do it this time round and in a sense they were unlucky to come up against France as early as the quarters. Months ago I was picking a NZ vs France final - with France to win.

For those with negative comments re fans please don't get carried away. NZer's maybe a little cocky about rugby but who wouldn't be with such an outstanding record, that is in all games outside World Cups. And is anyone suggesting Australians weren't cocky after their World cup wins and England weren't cocky after theirs?. Remember how (Sir) Clive Woodward could walk on water after Sydney 2003 only to lose the best prepared and financed Lion's tour two years later.

Sport is sport. That's what makes it great - it is not just about brains and brawn it is about uncertainty. And it sure beats war anyday.

  • 184.
  • At 01:46 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Domh wrote:

I am sure BOD and Phil DeGlanville will be smiling!
It is so good to hear the All Blacks fans complaining about the referee, shirt colours, forward passes. Keep on going on about it and I will start to look like a Cheshire cat!

  • 185.
  • At 01:46 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Giuam wrote:

Com'on! The Kiwi's were robbed and it is obvious.

Yes, France played out of their skins....defended amazingly, but never looked like scoring tries. NZ made many more line breaks. The last French try was about 2 meters forward, and how the ref or the linesman didn't see it, only God knows!

In the last few minutes with the All Blacks (or was it Silverferns?) on the French line, the camera clearly shows a French forward with hands in the ruck and more than once. So obvious, yet the linesman nor the ref picked it up. Amazing!

NZ were robbed and France do not deserve to be there. It should have ended 18-13 for the All Blacks.

As simple as that! It is the truth, as I am not even a Kiwi, but could still see it!!!

  • 186.
  • At 01:48 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • forrest wrote:

coming back to the betsen issue, he was the victim of a cheap shot by robinson but the accidental shin in the cheek is what caused the damage, however he would've been up and gone before the shin arrived had he not been pushed back down

  • 187.
  • At 01:57 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

NZ fans, just keep on going with your sad blaming of the ref and anyone else you can think of, you are just re-inforcing the "Arrogant" stereotype.

  • 188.
  • At 01:58 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I not sure what annoys me more. The arrogance of the Kiwi fans before the tournament or the bitter moaning and ranting of them now that they've lost.

Face it,

1. Yes it was a forward pass. As was one of your tries so that's even.

2. Yes it was a yellow card. He looked where the runner was and deliberately blocked him. And no the ref didn't think he'd have got the try otherwise it would have been a penalty try not just a yellow.

3. With 10 minutes to go, the Kiwi bench looked like frightened rabbits stuck in the headlights. They'd already decided they'd lost. That's why the French sneaked it. Not the ref or the touch judges. You just bottled it. Again.

All I can say is that you came here to take England's World cup title away from them but ended up leaving having taken their 'Whinging' title instead.

  • 189.
  • At 02:01 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • DB wrote:

As a South African I am still enjoying the tournament (only just) and look forward to an exciting match against the Puma's - a team we have great respect for.
I would recommend that SA and Argentina join the 6 nations. SA gets nothing but pointed jabs from NZ and Aus in the Tri-Nations. The fact is that SA is the money spinner of the South with 70% of Sanzar TV income coming from SA.

Let NZ and Aus squabble it out with each other trying to convince each other that they are the best in the world, while forgetting the rest of us at their peril.

  • 190.
  • At 02:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Murray McRobie wrote:

Some interesting comments.
I'm a NZer living in London and was at the millenium stadium on Saturday. Very very exciting stuff. And I have absolutely no problem with the French winning. And what a great game rugby is, the NZ fans may have been gutted but I didn't see any fights among fans.

I really thought NZ would do it this time round and in a sense they were unlucky to come up against France as early as the quarters. Months ago I was picking a NZ vs France final - with France to win.

For those with negative comments re fans please don't get carried away. NZer's maybe a little cocky about rugby but who wouldn't be with such an outstanding record, that is in all games outside World Cups. And is anyone suggesting Australians weren't cocky after their World cup wins and England weren't cocky after theirs?. Remember how (Sir) Clive Woodward could walk on water after Sydney 2003 only to lose the best prepared and financed Lion's tour two years later.

Sport is sport. That's what makes it great - it is not just about brains and brawn it is about uncertainty. And it sure beats war anyday.

  • 191.
  • At 02:04 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Carlos wrote:

I'm welsh and to be perfectly honest I'm quite happy to see both England and France progress to the semi finals. The simple fact is that it's good for rugby, particularly in the northern hemisphere. ( all you welsh people who disagree I suggest you read the weblog by rick O'shea on this site)

I find it laughable that AB supporters are trying to blame the referee for there world cup exit. How often do forward passes go unchallenged in super 14 / tri nations games ? Sometimes you reap what you sow.

Ultimately NZ lost because they failed and to coin a well known south hemis phrase use the 'top 2 inches ' (- Wales take note) i.e drop goal. Richie McCaw might be a world class openside, but when it really mattered he was found wanting as captain. I also think NZ suffered due to the lack of intensity in the domestic game down under. Unless your challenging for the title most teams haven't got much to play for ( once again Wales take note). The league structure ( promotion and relegation) in Eng and Fra gives them (players) the necessary experience to close out tight games.

I have a huge respect for NZ rugby and in particular the history, tradition, haka etc however there is a reason why you haven't won the world cup for 20 yrs. Perhaps a bit more self-reflection is needed.

The final point I would like to make and in the interests of expanding the game can :

1. Aus & NZ stop cherry picking the best southsea islanders - How good could Fiji be if they we're able to call on the services of Tuquir, Sivivatu,Rokocko. Likewise Rodney S'o'oialo for Tonga.

2. Allow Arg to play in the tri-nations

3. Can someone PLEASE sort out the game in Wales

  • 192.
  • At 02:11 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Matty P wrote:

Interesting everyone despite allegiances here assumes "that" pass was forward - we replayed it in slo mo maybe 10 times on a big screen - it is clear that Ritchie McCaw, in making the tackle, gets a hand in a knocks the ball - the pass itself was not forward.

Stop bagging Wayne Barnes. Best ref of the tournament easily. Allowed a good contest at the breakdown, let the game flow, got critical decisions RIGHT (sinbinning a blatant professional foul, the forward pass that wasn't).

I'm an Aussie fan and I am sad that Australia and NZ didn't put their best foot forward but... move on, that's tournament rugbyy, you get it right or you go home, and enjoy the brilliant, enthralling rugby on offer.

  • 193.
  • At 02:16 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • honest tim wrote:

when they cut down the number of teams at the next world cup they'll still keep oz and nz wont't they - even though they're both losers?

  • 194.
  • At 02:26 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Stephen

The Herald editorial of 2003 quoted said

"It is unfortunate for rugby in this country that its followers have come to live for a quadrennial test of sudden death matches"

"Following the semi-final loss to France in 1999, the All Blacks were again ranked number one."

These are IRB rankings. It does not make the same claim for the 2003 year when England were ranked number one.

The Herald saying that New Zealanders put too much emphasis on the Cup does not mean others agreed with them - quite the opposite. The NZRFU spent the next 4 years focused on winning the 2007 event so they could defend it here as holders.

Too many find one little bit of something and misconstrue it and then make unfounded claims based on it, as if it represents all New Zealand - as it's meant to be foundation for the criticism I can only presume it's what they wanted to see/portray.

  • 195.
  • At 02:33 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Robinson wrote:


I can't agree Giuam. The "hands in the ruck" isn't right, the ball was clearly out to the side when French get their hands onto it. Nothing illegal in that.

The forward pass, yes, but you have to take the rough with the smooth. I've seen no end of games where NZ have received a forward pass and run the ball in for a try. It happens.

The fact is that despite dominating possession and having adequate field position to kick over a dozen drop-goals, NZ chose not to. Their own fault they lost, nobody else's.

  • 196.
  • At 02:34 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • kiwibloke wrote:

Carlos,

You're an idiot. Rodney So'oialo was born in Samoa, not Tonga and moved to Wellington when he was young. You're just ignorant, get off the bandwagon now. There is no excuse for it.

  • 197.
  • At 02:34 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ned wrote:

the All Blacks biggest problem?
They don't lose enough matches.
Bizzare but true.
they are not under pressure often enough to know how to react.

  • 198.
  • At 02:39 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Igor wrote:

What a glorious day Saturday was. First the Aussies, then the Kiwis. The two most arrogant teams depart, and deservedly so. The Kiwis are good at brushing the also-rans aside, but when it come to proper matches, they bottle it. Post 40 suggested that we are now in for a boring world cup; what a load of nonsense. Both semis are going to exciting to the max, precisely because there are no self-indulgent arrogant teams left (well, perhaps Team He-Man of South Africa)...at least all four teams know how to fight.

As far as Australia is concerned, it's a shame we didn't get to see John Howard's face again.

I wept with laughter at both final whistles.

  • 199.
  • At 02:39 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KI oui wrote:

Well never underestimate the French huh ? Never .
'Twas a funny game . All Blacks seemed to not take it seriously and keep going for tries instead of any point they could get . Some odd calls from the ref , especially not seeing Robinson KO Betsen . And with his Fist if you look closer . Not necessary . The AB's didn't have it in their heads , and did not seem hungry enough . The French had nothing to lose and played that way . Good on them .
Lets not do this silly Kiwi post mortem crap that happens in NZ . "AB's beaten on the day by a team who played better than they did . End of Story .

  • 200.
  • At 02:47 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I've heard a rumour that as well as changing their coach, the All Black's are changing their name. In future they will be called the Rainbow Warriors in recognition of the fact that they are always sunk by the French !!!!

  • 201.
  • At 02:52 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Well, I have just finished reading this blog and I cannot believe why the Kiwis just don't take it on the chin and say we lost to the better side on the day. Sh*t happens. I love the "blame the ref", "the yellow card is what lost it for us", "forward pass", "Al-Queda tatics", "Frogs on steroids" excuses. What a load of garbage!

In 2003 England beat NZ and kept out NZ with thirteen players, because they had a leader who could adapt to the situation. If the ref is bias or poor (which I do not think he was) then you have to adapt your game accordingly. Not throw your toys out of th pram and sulk!. See Fiji (vs SA) when a man down! Foward passes are rife in the game, swings and roundabouts - win some lose some!! Macaw was the reason NZ lost, he did not have the nous to adapt to the situation and the rest of the team could not believe they would not win. Proof of all the proposed changes by Aus/NZ/S (to let them play the game they want not what the rest of the world want) would be really bad for the game.

Poor leadership and opponents who were better, more committed and certainly more passionate on the night is what lost it for NZ. Thank god we don't have to the listen to the arrogant Aussies and Kiwis anymore.

  • 202.
  • At 02:57 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Gavin wrote:

Should the All Blacks have won? Of course they should have with those match stats, and play it ten times again and they'll win 9, if not 10!. But they didnt win, and thats why we all love and watch sport. It was great to be there and I am sorry for all Kiwis, you love your rugby.
Ref got it wrong on key decisions but again there was plenty of time to still win it, why o why did McCaw not look to get someone in the pocket for drop goal, but fair play to French for not conceeding penalty under that pressure
As for mourning, I lost some serious money at 1-5 but thats life too.
What a WC, best ever, unless Irish of course (like me!). And we still have the semis to look forward to.
And Kiwi fans, you are still the best team in the world, just have to wait another 4yrs to prove it to those that ignore every other test match you win.
SA to beat France in Final

  • 203.
  • At 02:58 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • honest tim wrote:

just think how rubbish oz and nz would be if they didn't nick half their respective teams from the pacific islanders ?!!

  • 204.
  • At 02:58 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

#151 - are you as truly ignorant and culturally insensitive as you sound...are you even aware that NZ is a bi-cultural society? Have you ever seen the Tongan, Samoan, Fijian version fo the Haka?

Yet, we don't hear calls for those teams to quit their silly dance...

grow up...I'd love to see the English do a quick Morris dance before their games...they would probably win a few more games because the opposition wouldn't be able to control their laughing.

  • 205.
  • At 02:58 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Kiwis should try to understand that the infringements that the All Blacks consistently get away with when playing at home just will not cut it in the RWC. Referees watch the videos of all international matches and are wise to all the little tricks of the All Blacks. Hence all the comments about "bad" refereeing - fact is he was not biased in favour of the All Blacks, as they usually expect.

Secondly All Blacks are under such pressure from the press and public back home that they cannot face the prospect of defeat. When the chips were down in Cardiff they froze mentally, unable to do the things needed to win. How this is going to affect them playing in front of their own crowds in 2011 will be interesting.

And thirdly they need to drop the silly Humpty Dumpty dance. It's boring and makes them look a bigger laughing stock than they actually are.

  • 206.
  • At 03:30 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Neil wrote:


Don't what bar or part of Cardiff you were in? Thought the Kiwi fans were miserable before the match, as a neutral Irishman it had me cheering the French by the time the game started. French fans in Cardiff were fantastic, singing, playing music and chatting to everyone - the Kiwis did nothing but add fuel to the national stereo type of being dour and humourless.

  • 207.
  • At 03:37 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Phil Collins wrote:

there are a lot of things that can be said about all of the games throughout the weekend, the main complaints about the NZ France game seem to be the forward pass.

Yes we all know it was a forward pass. Ref's miss them sometimes it hurts like hell when its a game that close, but we all have to accept it.

As for the yellow card, calling it an injustice isn't going to help. the fact is he lead with his shoulder, if he was stood up stait then there would have been nothing in it, but he didn't. that made it a penalty, and it became a yellow card because of persistant offending. Its nearly allways unfair on the player that gets the card in that situation, but again its something you just have to accept.

I don't think that you can claim that the ref had a bad game, on the whole he kept the game flowing well. and was fair in descisions. It's not the ref that lost the game.

NZ where down to 14 men and conceded points, that just shows that they wheren't on the day, able to play under that pressure and conceded points. In ohter games over the weekend we saw teams go down to 14 men and score points, not concede them

As for arguments over the North/South divide; People saying that any one country has done the most to promote rugby or that one side of the Equator is better is madness. Every country brings something differant to the game and you wouldn't want to get rid of any of it.

I think that it is time for the Tri Nations to be expanded, definately to include Argentina and probably the Pacific Islands as well. I'm not sure how you would realisically include all the islands and still have a workable tournament, maybe it would involve jsut having the "Pacific Islanders" more than 3 individual teams, but that isn't the easiest arrangement to work out.

Talk of increasing the 6 Nations to 7, should really only be a last resort as it would just add more pressure to an already overloaded schedule for the players and their teams, both at national and club level. It is hard to see why this should be taken forward when there is a much better option availible.

Expanding the Tri Nations would surely be a good thing for Rugby and make it a lot more interesting tournament. I sometimes wonder if for the "big 3" that spending so much time playing each other is counter productive, and it would be better to get more game time against other teams to widen the players experience in dealing with differant styles of rugby.

  • 208.
  • At 04:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • BIg JW wrote:

re blog 198, Andrew are you suggesting that international referees watch videos and then go out to punish teams during live matches for perceived 'little tricks'?...hmmm that might be why Mr Barnes awarded no penalties at all in the second half..and I can understand people feeling referees are bias when you are suggesting they go into games already looking to punish a particular team. Still it explains a lot!!

  • 209.
  • At 04:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Shane wrote:


I am totally feb up with hearing Kiwi's complaining about how hard done by they are.

"It was a forward pass"
"We were robbed"
"Bad refereeing"

What total cry babies, get over your selves.

After living in NZ and seeing how blinded to anything wrong the AB's do, but on the other had being able to pick out every little thing the opposition do, gets totally on your tits trust me.

They got what the deserved, retribution for all the things they get away with.

They are the best on the planet, well obviously not eh bro.

Kiwis every where just remember
"4 MORE YEARS" how that must smart.

  • 210.
  • At 04:07 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • I.M.Fedupwivit wrote:

So we wont see brand AB doing their little pre match dance anymore this world cup. SHAME. Watch and learn gents.

  • 211.
  • At 04:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

is there anyone more arrogant than an Englishman?

They are quick to point the fingers at any one else who dares to profess self-belief and back it up with actions then they are arrogant.

England are in the SF's and if they win this thing we will have to listen to 4 more years of English arrogance...actually even if they don't we will probably have to listen for the next 40 years like we do with football.

  • 212.
  • At 04:44 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • andy pring wrote:

News reports indicate that, following the All Blacks exit from the Rugby World Cup, Adidas will be terminating their sponsorships arrangements. A source in the NZRFU is quoted as saying that they are not worried as Coca Cola are considering aligning with them in a far more valuable endorsement package. A Coca Cola spokesman stated "It makes simple business sense and is a natural tie-up that the biggest drinks company in the world is associated with the biggest bottlers". Ends

  • 213.
  • At 05:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Dear BIg.

Denial. The last great refuge of Kiwi sport.

What is it you don't understand about the concept of referees reviewing patterns of behaviour and watching for said patterns to be repeated?

What is the "lot" that you believe this explains?

On second thoughts don't bother. The All Blacks as victims is not exactly a new idea in this correspondence is it?

On second thoughts, don't bother.

  • 214.
  • At 05:28 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Rich K wrote:

Great comments here. Interesting debate. Over the moon to see the AB's fail under Henry. I have never forgiven him for screwing the 2001 Lions in Australia. The guy has now been knocked out in consecutive WC quarters.Not exactly a born winner.
Coulsd anyone from New Zealand clear up the Islander issue for me and a lot of other people. Rightly or wrongly you are perceived as a UN of the South Pacific, I learned the other day that apparently Doug Howlett is Tongan. This has a lot to do with the dislike being aimed your way. Whoever commented about Sackey is on dodgy ground by the way.... but feel free to talk a bout Stevens and Catt.
I was also shocked to see how young the AB squad was. How often are England accused of being Dad's Army, yet there are barely any over 30's in the AB squad. Do you operate a Logan's Run system in New Zealand? A few old heads, like England have with Dallaglio, can really help at crunch time.
Rugby is a great game as it should appeal to all shapes and sizes. Don't we all remember that? Tall short, fat thin skilled fast etc. It is not 7's with more people, there is skill in defending, double tackling, scrummaging. Has anyone tried a 12 man maul from the middle of the park. It is virtually impossible to coordinate, but some club side somewhere should try it, it is a totally valid part of the game. If you want rugby league, play it.
New Zealand will come again, and be favourites for their own tournament, they had perhaps the best ever side in 87 on home soil so who knows. It is interesting how everyone is getting behind Argentina now, a pity a few more didn't get behind Japan when they wanted to host 2011. Now that really was a disgrace!

  • 215.
  • At 05:30 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • BSF wrote:

What a day! Both NZ and Australia going home in the quarters. A real shame that Fiji did not make it a hatrick.

As to the post match comments, I thought the English where supposed to be the whingers? In sport you take your chances chaps. So the ref gives you the odd bad rub of the green. It did not stop us (England)from winning in 2003. Anyway, I reckon the ABs have scored 100s of tries through backs moves with illegal blockers, so it is about time the odd decision went against you.

Go home, have a cry, get a sense of perspective and remember its only 4 MORE YEARS!

  • 216.
  • At 05:35 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • mave wrote:

umm!!Fat Gollom(Graham Henry)and the South pacific lions(All Blacks)are out,wonderful!!Not only because I had a bet on the England,France double but also I was getting tired of being told how inferior us northern souls are.The South Pacific Lions are still the best team in the world and may go on to beat all who come before them but that counts for nothing today.Thank you France for playing rugby with your heart and mind and for beer in my glass!!!!

  • 217.
  • At 06:41 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Freddy wrote:

I am sure many contributors to this blog have played the game themselves at various levels. I have and to a pretty good standard and one thing I do know is that if you don't have a ref then you can't really play the game. Refs the world over get a really bad press or reputation because of stupid comments like some of those above. Refs are human so are the linesmen. With 70K eyes/action replays on the game it is easy for the armchair critic to "blame it on the ref"!. Odd decisions, decisions that don’t go your way is part of the game, refs referee with different styles, interpretations, leniency etc it is part of what makes the game varied and great.

I remember being taught to "play to the whistle" and "play the ref" not to complain when (and I don't think Barnes did) make a mistake. The NZ players did not really complain and good on them. The yellow card did not really cause an uproar from the ABs and well done for that. The refs decision is final whether it is a good one or bad and players get on with the game and play what’s in front of them.

For the fans of the leading Rugby nation on the planet to start blaming the ref is unbelievable as they well know in another game a decision will go their way. Bad luck NZ and I am sorry to see you go but I would prefer to watch a poorer game with true sportsmen than the posturing that the Southern Hemisphere sides now seem to have incorporated into their game. Such a pity, let’s hope the money in the game does not follow the football (soccer) path with referee intimidation then god help us!.

  • 218.
  • At 06:45 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

My view on this is very basic - England and France were going to do well in this world cup because of the intensity of the respective leagues. The English and the French play intense club matches the weekend after internationals, they get no rest before internationals. They never seem "fresh" even after a 6 week rest (and therefore dissapoint in early rounds of the worls cup) . . . however 5 weeks into a world cup they will not feel the effects that othe teams do as they are used to the week on week rugby.

There is always pressure in their leagues due to relegation and these players feel extremely passionately for their clubs.

Lets face it, the super 14 and Magners league do not have quite the same intensity (I love watching super 14 rugby but there is no real pressure on the players, they just play, and it is awesome to watch) with players rested when required etc. etc. Ireland got a two week rest before the six nations and the odd weekend off during it. Hows this going to prepare you for the week on week intenisty of the world cup.

I think the All Blacks may well have lost because they could not wear their jerseys, but this is a real psycological weakness of the All Blacks team.

  • 219.
  • At 06:48 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • bokkieUSA wrote:

Not so much of the SH vs the NH thanks. As a South African, we are always treated by the AB supporters and the Aussie supporters (these are really sour arrogant fans) like their poor cousins. I and my friends were rooting for France and England

  • 220.
  • At 07:08 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Barcus wrote:

I am an All Black fan, was present in Cardiff, and am prepared to accept a simple enough reason why the ABs failed. You win some (in the case of this side, most) and you lose some. Sometimes in close matches there is little to separate the sides and you need the rub of the green to get the win. Didn't happen for the ABs on Sat night. The French deserve credit for the most outstanding (2nd half) defensive effort I can recall. I don't think the ABs were a victim of their own arrogance (talk to these guys and you will quickly find them to be a humble bunch) but perhaps a little naiive in the final analysis. Esteemed NZ rugby writer Lindsay Knight wrote some months ago about the folly in ignoring the drop goal as a weapon.

  • 221.
  • At 07:26 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • TG wrote:

* 4.
* At 01:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
* Andrew wrote:

I cant understand why the all blacks could not have wear their all-black kit?

It's their identity and I am sure it DOES effect team morale positively on the field.

Clash of colors...since when did blue shirts and white shorts clash with all black? I am mystified. Gamesmanship on the part of the French maybe(?)

Does anyone have any explanation?


Andrew, i think adult rugby players are above being affected by the colour of the shirt they were. If england lost in their red kit we wouldnt be moanin that they missed their white shirts. france didnt miss their blue shorts did they?

dont look for excuses, NZ bottled the RWC yet again. and a lot of people saw it coming

  • 222.
  • At 07:53 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nippa wrote:

Bruce [post 126],

Sorry for the delay but I had to do my research. If, as you say, only 4 of the current New Zealand squad were born outside of New Zealand, why does the official RWC website list 8 players of the 30 as born in either, Tonga, Fiji or Samao? You may want to check your facts! The French won for a variety of reasons but one was unmatched passion. The players were assured that they represented the best their country has to offer; yes there is still enormous pressure there but at least they knew why they were in the shirt and who they were fighting for? Can the same be said of the Islanders when they are not playing for their motherland? Its no wonder they were nervous. Until New Zealand recognises the pressures this creates in high winner takes all international sport, I predict similar disappointments at the big one in the years to come.

  • 223.
  • At 08:00 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Kiwis crash out of World Cup they are expected to win. Nothing exactly new there then!

Do they spend a lot of time practicing the Haka? I bet they do - why not stop doing it (it is annoying as it delays the kick off) and spend the time doing some sports psychology instead i.e. the art of not choking every 4 years. This is why England have done well - we practice Rugby not Morris Dancing!

  • 224.
  • At 09:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

Some say arrogant, some say whingers, some say chokers, some say bottlers - I say naive.

  • 225.
  • At 09:04 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • kiwidude wrote:

Wow, there sure is a lot of one-eyed drivel posted in these blog comments.

Was the refereeing poor? Sure, but the ABs should have put away their other chances they had. Raving on about refereeing in Super 14 etc is completely irrelevant. This is supposedly the most important rugby event on the world calendar and should have world class refereeing, which it certainly wasn't.

Shirts - who cares? NZ should have stuck with their white away strip, the IRB should have got their act together months ago to identify the conlicts - a collective screw-up but not the cause of the loss in any way.

To all the idiot early posters harping on about Betson - if you opened the other eye you would have seen it was the knee of his own player that did the damage.

Hard to believe the amount of vitriol dished out in these comments against the "arrogant ABs" who "just thought they just needed to show up to win". Where do you get that nonsense from?

Perhaps you confuse NZ with the Aus team who do have a number of arrogant tossers amongst their team, mgmt and ARU - publicly slagging off the quality of the opposition and smirking their way through press conferences. Where has the AB team or team mgmt ever done anything similar? If you have ever seen an interview with the likes of Carter etc you would find them to be very humble and quietly spoken people, as many world rugby players are off the field.

Dont confuse the odd article that some NZ journalists write with the opinions of the general public or the team. Yes there are some idiots, who are paid to express stupid "opinions" to whip up some headlines and embarass us kiwis who cant defend such tripe. Every country has them - a certain Mr S. Jones anyone?

And its not just the NZ press who promote the "number one team in the world tag" - every country has had to print the fact that based on IRB rankings from results the ABs have been the most consistent winning team in the world against ALL opposition, home AND away, year on year. That is a fact that cannot be disputed, no matter how much delight you take in the fact that yes we did lose a game and yes again it happened to be in the knockout world cup.

As for "thinking they just need to show up to win" - what a load of bull. The AB team mgmt took every step they thought they needed to prepare the players for this to the extent of destroying our S14 and NPC competitions. They changed their gameplans for this specific game compared to every other game they had played. How is this in any way "thinking they just needed to show up"? In hindsight none of this worked which sucks for us, but you can't say they didnt make an effort.

To all those who think that this means that NH is superior to SH - get a life. Congrats on winning two one-off games - you both deserved your wins for the effort on the day. France out-passioned NZ and combined with some luck got the result. England similarly but had to work less hard thanks to their magnificent forward effort against a joke of an Aus front row. Extrapolating this in any way in terms of "trends" or "dominance of substance over style" is just complete poppycock. Refer again to the results over the last x years between teams against the ABs - how is one result going to change that?

Games are won and lost on the day by small things. If the ABs had snapped off a drop-goal, kicked their conversion, or the French pass been ruled forward etc, they would still be in the tournament and looking forward to another game, making most of the nonsense posted here irrelevant.

Which would you rather have given a choice? 3.x of each 4 years of winning far more often than not against every country including some stunningly stylish victories (eg vs France 2 yrs ago for instance), versus winning a knockout tournament once every four years for "World Cup Holder" bragging rights? Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations, Grand Slams, and Lions victory dominance versus a one-off tournament? e.g. Putting up with a depressing 4yrs of woeful performances with 25 losses and continual heartache as an England fan, or the one-off heroin shot of a world cup victory?

I'll take the ongoing joy of the ABs winning everything else thanks very much. Would I like both - hell yeah, if only to shutup everyone who jumps on the "choke" tag bandwagon every 4 years. But lets put this tournament and one-off results required to win it into real perspective here.

Congrats to France for a magnificent defensive effort and I hope you make it to and beat SA in the final...

  • 226.
  • At 09:23 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nippa wrote:

Bruce [post 126],

Sorry for the delay but I am also trying to hold down a day job here as well as keep you in check. If, as you say, only 4 of the current New Zealand squad were born outside of New Zealand, why does the official RWC website list 8 players of the 30 as born in either, Tonga, Fiji or Samao? You may want to check your facts! The French won for a variety of reasons but one was unmatched passion. The players were assured that they represented the best their country has to offer; yes there is still enormous pressure there but at least they knew why they were in the shirt and who they were fighting for? Can the same be said of the Islanders when they are not playing for their motherland? Its no wonder they were nervous. Until New Zealand recognises the pressures this creates in high winner takes all international sport, I predict similar disappointments at the big one in the years to come.

  • 227.
  • At 09:25 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • kiwidude wrote:

Wow, there sure is a lot of one-eyed drivel posted in these blog comments.

Was the refereeing poor? Sure, but the ABs should have put away their other chances they had. Raving on about refereeing in Super 14 etc is completely irrelevant. This is supposedly the most important rugby event on the world calendar and should have world class refereeing, which it certainly wasn't.

Shirts - who cares? NZ should have stuck with their white away strip, the IRB should have got their act together months ago to identify the conlicts - a collective screw-up but not the cause of the loss in any way.

To all the idiot early posters harping on about Betson - if you opened the other eye you would have seen it was the knee of his own player that did the damage.

Hard to believe the amount of vitriol dished out in these comments against the "arrogant ABs" who "just thought they just needed to show up to win". Where do you get that nonsense from?

Perhaps you confuse NZ with the Aus team who do have a number of arrogant tossers amongst their team, mgmt and ARU - publicly slagging off the quality of the opposition and smirking their way through press conferences. Where has the AB team or team mgmt ever done anything similar? If you have ever seen an interview with the likes of Carter etc you would find them to be very humble and quietly spoken people, as many world rugby players are off the field.

Dont confuse the odd article that some NZ journalists write with the opinions of the general public or the team. Yes there are some idiots, who are paid to express stupid "opinions" to whip up some headlines and embarass us kiwis who cant defend such tripe. Every country has them - a certain Mr S. Jones anyone?

And its not just the NZ press who promote the "number one team in the world tag" - every country has had to print the fact that based on IRB rankings from results the ABs have been the most consistent winning team in the world against ALL opposition, home AND away, year on year. That is a fact that cannot be disputed, no matter how much delight you take in the fact that yes we did lose a game and yes again it happened to be in the knockout world cup.

As for "thinking they just need to show up to win" - what a load of bull. The AB team mgmt took every step they thought they needed to prepare the players for this to the extent of destroying our S14 and NPC competitions. They changed their gameplans for this specific game compared to every other game they had played. How is this in any way "thinking they just needed to show up"? In hindsight none of this worked which sucks for us, but you can't say they didnt make an effort.

To all those who think that this means that NH is superior to SH - get a life. Congrats on winning two one-off games - you both deserved your wins for the effort on the day. France out-passioned NZ and combined with some luck got the result. England similarly but had to work less hard thanks to their magnificent forward effort against a joke of an Aus front row. Extrapolating this in any way in terms of "trends" or "dominance of substance over style" is just complete poppycock. Refer again to the results over the last x years between teams against the ABs - how is one result going to change that?

Games are won and lost on the day by small things. If the ABs had snapped off a drop-goal, kicked their conversion, or the French pass been ruled forward etc, they would still be in the tournament and looking forward to another game, making most of the nonsense posted here irrelevant.

Which would you rather have given a choice? 3.x of each 4 years of winning far more often than not against every country including some stunningly stylish victories (eg vs France 2 yrs ago for instance), versus winning a knockout tournament once every four years for "World Cup Holder" bragging rights? Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations, Grand Slams, and Lions victory dominance versus a one-off tournament? e.g. Putting up with a depressing 4yrs of woeful performances with 25 losses and continual heartache as an England fan, or the one-off heroin shot of a world cup victory?

I'll take the ongoing joy of the ABs winning everything else thanks very much. Would I like both - hell yeah, if only to shutup everyone who jumps on the "choke" tag bandwagon every 4 years. But lets put this tournament and one-off results required to win it into real perspective here.

Congrats to France for a magnificent defensive effort and I hope you make it to and beat SA in the final...

  • 228.
  • At 09:27 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Nippa wrote:

Bruce [post 126],

Sorry for the delay but I am also trying to hold down a day job here as well as keep you in check. If, as you say, only 4 of the current New Zealand squad were born outside of New Zealand, why does the official RWC website list 8 players of the 30 as born in either, Tonga, Fiji or Samao? You may want to check your facts! The French won for a variety of reasons but one was unmatched passion. The players were assured that they represented the best their country has to offer; yes there is still enormous pressure there but at least they knew why they were in the shirt and who they were fighting for? Can the same be said of the Islanders when they are not playing for their motherland? Its no wonder they were nervous. Until New Zealand recognises the pressures this creates in high winner takes all international sport, I predict similar disappointments at the big one in the years to come.

Great comment 212 best one yet!!!

  • 230.
  • At 09:35 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • TG wrote:

* 4.
* At 01:12 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
* Andrew wrote:

I cant understand why the all blacks could not have wear their all-black kit?

It's their identity and I am sure it DOES effect team morale positively on the field.

Clash of colors...since when did blue shirts and white shorts clash with all black? I am mystified. Gamesmanship on the part of the French maybe(?)

Does anyone have any explanation?


Andrew, i think adult rugby players are above being affected by the colour of the shirt they were. If england lost in their red kit we wouldnt be moanin that they missed their white shirts. france didnt miss their blue shorts did they?

dont look for excuses, NZ bottled the RWC yet again. and a lot of people saw it coming

  • 231.
  • At 11:53 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • rod kirkwood wrote:

As a scotsman living in new zealand i have had to endure seeing both teams lose at the weekend - still , being scottish i am used to defeat .The All Blacks, however, are used to winning and have a team and results to justify their position at no. 1 in the world . The new zealand public heve no such legacy and are totally mystified at why their team cannot win the world cup - i can assure you there is no arrogance in NZ as we were all dreading such a repeat of previous defeats - all we wanted was the All Blacks to play to their potential and get a fair crack of the whip in terms of refereeing - we got neither .The game was inevitably close due to the tension of the occasion but the ABs played well and dominated all aspects of the game - however the result rested on one crucial decision by the referee which he simply got wrong .Even after that there were numerous infringements in the last 10 minutes with no penalties awarded.The French didn't concede 1 penalty in the 2nd half despite defending desperately for 38 minutes - i don't think so !Sure , the ABs should have won by 20 points but in a tense close game you need the referee to be on his game too - he quite obviously wasn't .Imagine if England had lost to a bad call in the last 5 minutes - what a tirade we would have heard then .

  • 232.
  • At 11:55 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Desmond Persaud wrote:

It is in the nature of cup competitions that a lucky team at home can beat a better team with the bounce of the ball and a couple of home-side decisions. That's life.
The All Blacks remain the best team in the world - they just won't win the World Cup. But they have give me some of my most enjoyable moments of the past two years. So I hope they continue to give enjoyment to the rugby watching world - even Irishmen like me. And, for what it's worth, I think both Graham Henry and Richie McCaw have served them well. I will be sorry if this unlucky result finishes their careers.

  • 233.
  • At 11:57 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Desmond Persaud wrote:

It is in the nature of cup competitions that a lucky team at home can beat a better team with the bounce of the ball and a couple of home-side decisions. That's life.
The All Blacks remain the best team in the world - they just won't win the World Cup. But they have give me some of my most enjoyable moments of the past two years. So I hope they continue to give enjoyment to the rugby watching world - even Irishmen like me. And, for what it's worth, I think both Graham Henry and Richie McCaw have served them well. I will be sorry if this unlucky result finishes their careers.

  • 234.
  • At 12:29 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Julie Dooley wrote:

My favourite touch judge blunder was when the ball hit Leon McDonald, who was standing outside the field of play, (beyond the white line) and the throw in was awarded to the French. The game became comical from that point forward.
The French number 7 picking up the ball in the scrum - that's a new rule (only for this game). The AB's turning the scrum and the French getting another shot at the feed? Maybe hands in the ruck and offside play should be allowed for all teams - not just the French!
Very funny indeed! Much better than a re-run of Yes Minister!
I do wonder how much the touch judge was paid - and not by the IRB!

  • 235.
  • At 12:52 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Nippa

Sure, 4 is not 8, just as 8 is not 10. You were the one claiming that 1/3rd of 30.

I don't think the AB's were outpassioned. Upsets occur, and if the AB's had simply kicked a drop goal none of the talk of being outpassioned or the refereeing would have come up. But when favourites get upset, there will be all sorts of reasons as to why.

As for the idea that players of island ancestry lack passion when playing for the black shirt (well in it most of the time), have you met any of those raised here with their families since the age of 3 or 4? They all had the choice of the AB jersey of the land of their citizenship or the island of their ancestors citizenship.

There is the northern hemisphere idea that players should be born in or of the national ancestry of a team. This allows no place in teams for migrants who came to a country as children. Yet I note there is somehow no issue with non Polynesisan players qualifying here or elsewhere by residence. I can note England has no problem with South African cricketers who came as adults and qualified as residents.

The idea that children raised in New Zealand with their families are not as much part of the nation as those born there is wrong. You may not know it, but many of the Samoan team were born here, but as they were not good enough for the AB's they played for Samoa. Do you think they were without passion? (actually the team needs to renew itself and they have some good younger home grown players now in their 7's side who will ensure this).

  • 236.
  • At 12:56 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • b ver wrote:

from a Canadian viewer...... first thoughts I had when the final whistle blew was that it reminded me of a WWF wrestling bout, which as we know is a 'jack up'...rigged result controlled by the referee...... NO PENALTIES in the 2nd half to the French, who were CONSTANTLTY defending from an OFFSIDE position....their try scored with a FORWARD PASS...the SINBIN in the 1st half to the KIWI for an offence which, when committed by a French player in the 2nd half didn't even warrant a PENALTY (only 3 penalties in the ENTIRE MATCH and NONE in the 2nd half)!!!....now after a few days of consideration, and noting that the VERY INEXPERIENCED English referee will be taking NO PART in the rest of the tournament?? he did his 'JOB', and allowed an inferior team, albeit the host nation, to continue in the competition...and his EMPLOYERS, the eminence gris of the EURO controlled IRB are through with him.....for now....his REWARD will come later....at a time when things cool down....RUGBY is a MINOR world sport because of this arrogance by the 'masters' of the game...8 votes (EURO) who control it...
an embarrassment.....SHAME

  • 237.
  • At 02:30 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

228

It's a global village, people move countries. Take London as an example. Get over it. New Zealand has a multi cultural population, in fact Auckland has the largest polynesian population of any city in the world. Most of these players moved to New Zealand with their families when they were young. Your giving the NZRU too much credit if you think they have the foresight to encourage a 4 yr olds parents to move to New Zealand because their son is destined to be an All Black.

The AB's have not become a bad side overnight. Perhaps that is why the Northern Hemisphere is so glad to see them lose? After all, until this game the All Blacks hadn't lost to a NH side (or a combined one) since 2003.

Please don't get the wrong impression from the NZ media, which basically has nothing else to write about. Your average All Black fan can see that if the AB's were good enough, they would have won. Despite the forward pass, put simply, when the pressure came on no-one took control. France acheived their victory through an outstanding defensive display, I can't wait to see England v France, should be a cracker.

  • 238.
  • At 03:59 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • birdie_numnums wrote:

Hey b ver (post 236)

Wow! What a post. So it's all a conspiracy is it? I've never been a fan of conspiracy theories as I've been around long enough to know that human beings are entirely capable of making errors of judgement all on their own.

It is sport mate. It's just a game. How boring life would be if the underdog Rugby/Ice Hockey/Soccer/Baseball team didn't overturn the cocky favourite every now and then? It is teams like Canada and Fiji, just hovering outside of the top international grade that should be encouraged by result like this.

So, you continue with your theories. JFK was killed by the FBI; 9/11 was carried out by the US Govt; Armstrong did not really walk on the moon, etc, etc, zzzzzzzzzz.

Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to enjoy the rugby where the truth is nothing is pre-decided and passion, skill, effort and luck are rewarded. Come on Argentina.

Birdie

  • 239.
  • At 04:38 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

So now the media are reporting death threats against the referee. The IRB should reconsider their decision to deny Japan the 2011 finals. Apart from the security issue, one only has to look at the Kiwi organisational ability as evidenced in the 2003 venue - sharing fiasco. Not only that, but in this World Cup the emerging rugby nations have provided far more entertainment, pound for pound, than the All Blacks.

  • 240.
  • At 05:18 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Poor old AB's never had a Plan B again, when French changed game plan they could not think on their feet!

  • 241.
  • At 06:22 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • pacific_islander_fan wrote:

Disappointing as it is to see the AB's lose to France, it is fitting to say that AB's have lately lacked passion, the fighting spirit (as espoused in their Haka), the imagination and the pacific rugby flair (in both defence and offence, as shown by Fiji/Samoa/Tonga).

The French to their credit displayed remarkably the spirit so lacking in the ABs. Rugby is about scoring points despite the adversity and the French did that and the ABs didn't.

The Tri-Nations series ensure ABs plays with the same opponents every year and they have started playing more like the SA and Aussies. The SA and Aussie one-dimensional styles suits those teams -- but not the AB.

The AB in their Tri-Nations campaign are fearful of losing -- particularly to the Australians. And this same fear was evident in their game against the French. They could not afford to lose against the French and yet they did. Their fear defeated them.

Any analysis following their yet another unsuccessful World Cup campaign should, I hope, lead them to look closely at the "successful" Tongan/Samoan/Fijian teams -- 2nd tier they might be -- or Wales/France teams, for that matter, for playing entertaining rugby.

As a rugby fan, and a All Blacks fan, I would like to see a multidimensional AB team that espouses spirit, flair, vision, imagination, willing to attack from all parts of the field and yet strong on defense -- I would like to see the stuff All Blacks legend is made of.

A plea to NZRU is to get rid of the All Blacks "brand" and bring back the All Blacks "Legend".

  • 242.
  • At 08:35 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Trevor Smith wrote:

Les Blues were in their face from the start

It was all over then

Haka home

Viva La France

  • 243.
  • At 09:34 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • mike wrote:

well i must say reading these blogs that i am very suprised at the spitefulness of our northern hemisphere blogers!
who sounds arrogant now! have a read and get a perspective!
this is a world cup! where the teams (the men on the field) show there respect by claping each other of the field! maybe you could learn a thing or two!
there was always a good chance that england were going to beat australia! aussie have some fantastic players and a solid core group which has really come togeather in the last year! after there team capitulated after the last world cup! but they went into the world cup weak in the scrum and england found there form finally and the timing couldnt have been better! in true english style they did what they do best and destroyed aussie up front!
money in my pocket!

the ABs down fall!!
the truth is that there has never been a better prepared all black team! they had all the right attributes to bring the cup home! so where did it all go wrong?
there is no one answer!
the two biggest things for me were
the rotation policy! not that i thought it was a bad idea but there timing was out as they should have been settled on their no1 team at the start of the cup! we shouldnt have been at this stage, still looking for different combinations we should have been settled! on the tried and tested! the players were taken out of the super 14 for a reconditioning period when they should have been playing in the best league in the world!
the training has been second to none but you cannot beat experience thru game time!
there was in the end to much chopping and changing and not enough game time!
secondly! there was a real lack of match hardness! there were a lack of internationals in the lead up to the cup! we had the tri nations. the all blacks won but did not perform to there best@! we played canada, and the french bamboozeld us with the start of their mind games with the all blacks by sending out there c team!
it was 6wks before the cup that we last played!
then we were unchallenged in our pool!
you cannot be expected to meet your full potenial when not tested!
and to go straight into the knockout stages and win against the 2nd tournament favourites and hosts is a very big ask even for the all blacks!
the french were match hardened when they met with us! with their pool matchs against argentina and ireland!
on the night the all blacks completly dominated! but lacked the composure to kill of the game.

as for the colour of the jerseys! i dont see what the problem was! they didnt seem to clash!
the french wore dark blue as oppossed to their traditional light blue! another ploy like standing up to the haka in psycological warfare! the french defended very well and took there chances but they werent the better team on the night! just look at the statistics!
the all Blacks- possession 72%
territory 62%
tackles made 47
french tackles made 178
everthing in favour of a great attacking side! sometimes games that are tight can be won or lost on a referees decision! and its a shame that this match turned on refereeing decisions!
all credit to the french! they held there nerve for a gutsy defensive win!
i think it is great for the world game! but as a kiwi who wears his heart on his sleeve and who has tremendous pride in the black jersey! and i guess all you rugby purest who actually know a thing or two about the sport unlike most of these bloggers is that it is a shame that we didnt get to see the all blacks hit top gear and show these idiots what rugby is all about! ye fickle supporters how quickly you forget! lions tour comes to mind! to name 1 of many!

  • 244.
  • At 09:38 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • munster_girl wrote:

death threats against the ref is never a good situation to be in but he made some terrible decisions and the linesmen were morons. sorry but even a team as good as the kiwis can be knocked out if a referee makes silly decisions against them. france hve been v lucky with refs this year- i suppose the irb would lose millions should the host country go out. i'm irish not new zealand by the way. supporting england v france but they need to be getting tries and not depending on jonny kicking as whose to say the ref will give many or any penalties to them.

  • 245.
  • At 10:21 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

There are comments here about the referee that are absolutely disgraceful. Yes, he and his touch judges, missed a forward pass for the second try, just as they missed a forward pass early in the move that lead to the second New Zealand try. To your (blinkered) eyes the yellow card was a wrong decision but to the rest of the world it was a blatant obstruction which, coming off the back of a collapsed maul, was a step too far. To suggest that the referee and his touch judges were biased and/or paid is in the same league as suggesting that New Zealand threw the game deliberately by not taking a drop at goal towards the end, but, quite rightly, no-one would ever seriously suggest that. McCaw has consistently infringed at the breakdown throughout his career, as did Neil Back before you accuse me of anti-NZ bias, so can't complain when he gets caught. I have watched Wayne Barnes regularly in the Guinness Premiership and he is a superb referee - if he is forced out by hysterical New Zealand supporters then the game will have lost its soul.

  • 246.
  • At 10:27 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • tony d wrote:

I have just listened to a report on the BBC that says that the Referee of the France NZ game has been receiving death threats from NZ fans.

Frankly that is beyond appalling.

  • 247.
  • At 10:37 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Craig Aldo wrote:

I take my hat off to the French for a fantastic and courageous performance and also to their fans. For the last 3 weeks in Edinburgh, Toulouse, Paris and Cardiff I have found the fans hugely accomodating, gracious, respectful and passionate as people. They were also very gracious in victory and not gloating at all which does them great credit. All fans take heed.

As a kiwi I am hugely disappointed no doubt as I do feel that the current side is a fantastic side who are far better teams than '99 and '03 but were very unlucky with the permuatations of the match where the French played the most discplined error-free game I've seen them in many a year, injuries which hampered especially our backs and yes the big decisions which went against us.

I really hope the French can now go on and win the Cup

  • 248.
  • At 10:42 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mat wrote:

I'm a kiwi putting up with a nation in depression heeeelp!! I love sport, love to win, when we lose i take it on the chin, because thats sport. Here are a couple of gems goin around:
Whats the difference between the all blacks and a teabag.......the teabag stays in the cup longer!!
Why is an arsonist better than the all blacks?...........An arsonist wouldn't waste 5 matches!! Ya gotta laugh or else you might cry, good world cup well done france hats off.

  • 249.
  • At 11:04 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Julie Dooley wrote:

Death threats? That's one way to shift the focus off the bad calls!
I bet there is no evidence of a threat ... if there is - PROVE IT!

  • 250.
  • At 11:13 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Nelio Tontoni wrote:

As an All Black supporter of Zimbabwe / Rhodesian background I admit that the French played much smarter footy. The AB's had enough possession to win 40 nil. Previous All Black teams repeatedly won tight games on crumbs of possession. The current team appeared to lack alternatives when the main game plan failed- a fault shared by recent (not current)Springbok and English teams. The rotation of players was a big mistake and NH people may be correct when they say that The AB's were arrogant - arrogant in thinking that a bunch of top individuals could beat a decent team.

  • 251.
  • At 11:14 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • munster_girl wrote:

death threats are a disgrace and these kind of "fans" should be stamped out of rubgy but the fact remains that wayne barnes didnt show himself to be a decent referee and actually made a complete mess of the match. no of course death threats ahould not happen and there is no excuse but i understand normal fans' anger the decisions made in the match. wayne barns may be decent in the premiership but this is a whole different ball game. he and the linesmen clearly couldnt handle a big occassion and he shouldnt be refereeing if he is unable to punish or the discipline both teams and not just conveniently ignore french offences. as for whoever said nz didnt really win the wc because sa werent it, what a joke. there were very good reasons why sa werent in it- you might want to look at a little something called apartheid.

  • 252.
  • At 11:52 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Julie (249) it was on Wikipedia yesterday. Since removed, but if you want the references just Google Wayne Barnes. Although the language is highly offensive in some cases.

  • 253.
  • At 12:01 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Alexander wrote:

I'm pleased for France. They have proved that the All Blacks can talk a good game, but do not necessarily play one. NZ do not travel particularly well but seem very good at intimidating the opposition (eg by use of the haka) and destroying minnow nations.

  • 254.
  • At 12:03 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • I.M.Fedupwivit wrote:

Leave the ref alone ! NZ specialise in fwd passes one against you and its all off. From the moment Chabal and co faced your pre match little dance the writing was on the wall.

  • 255.
  • At 12:20 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • BigJW wrote:

I hate to have to say this but has football something to teach rugby? Whatever the ifs buts and maybes about Saturdays game the French try contained two forward passes. A huge blunder by the officials (amongst others this tournament). When a football ref wrongly awarded a penalty that altered an outcome the authorities banned him for a few games. What do the IRB do when a referee misses a trip that could have broken a leg that happened less than 5m away? Well give him another game, where again he missed a similar incident. His punishment for that? Well he was a TJ who missed two forward passes that led to a team scoring 7 points that should never have been. And his punishment for that? Referee in the semi final. Well done IRB! Way to go, and this isn't sour grapes, just a simple explanation of FACTS. I accept that something will be missed (although hard to understand why three officials miss things) and that wrong decisions are made, but the IRB seem to think its ok to make mistakes! It seems that as an international rugby referee no matter how badly you mess up, there is no fear to Board retribution.

  • 256.
  • At 12:20 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • tony d wrote:

Post 249 - Prove the death threats? All I can do is cut and paste the BBC website quoting Paddy Obrien (a Kiwi Referee)who is suspect knows more about rugby that all of us here put together....

This is the extract

"The International Rugby Board has defended referee Wayne Barnes after he received death threats in the wake of New Zealand's surprise World Cup exit.

Barnes sent Luke McAlister to the sin-bin and missed a forward pass in the lead-up to France's match-winning try as the All Blacks lost 20-18.

He has been subjected to personal abuse and death threats on internet sites.

"I think it's a disgrace and people have to grow up," IRB referees manager Paddy O'Brien told BBC Radio 5live.


Inside Sport: Rugby World Cup postcard no. 4
Interview: IRB referee manager Paddy O'Brien

"New Zealand losing that game was not all about the forward pass. The pass was forward but that's rugby refereeing."

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you can't turn back the clock.

"I'm a very proud Kiwi and I wear my heart on my sleeve when the All Blacks are playing, but it doesn't change my judgement.

"Sport is about winning and losing and New Zealand lost, let's get on with life.

"It's a sad reflection and I'd like to say that it's not all New Zealand people."

The 28-year-old Barnes will not take any further part in the tournament after the IRB decided not to use him for any of the remaining matches.

"He is a superb referee, we have a lot of confidence in him," O'Brien said. That's why we gave him the quarter-final. He's an outstanding individual as a person and it makes me sick to the stomach to hear some of the comments about him."

Former Ireland scrum-half Alain Rolland will referee the final, with Jonathan Kaplan taking charge of England and France's semi-final and Steve Walsh officiating in Sunday's meeting between South Africa and Argentina.

O'Brien insisted that Barnes was still a big part of the IRB's future plans.

"I've spoken to Wayne personally to congratulate him on a very fine performance," he said.

"We spoke about the forward pass but at the end of the day he can't guess.

"It's a game played by humans and refereed by humans. We try to get it accurate if we can and WB is the brightest star we have on our books."

NZ lost, it happens, its sport - no one has a devine right to win every game, move on.

I would also say that, in my humble opinion, anything less than a wholehearted condemnation of such mindless dangerous behaviour is utterly shameful.

  • 257.
  • At 12:40 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

The people on this site justifying the threats are no better than the people who made them in the first place.

Kiwis need to learn that sport is about more than just winning, it is also about showing respect for your opponent and being gracious in defeat. But if you cannot accept losing in the first place, how will you be gracious about it? Stop the denial, stop blaming every one else and learn to be true sportsmen. Otherwise don't complain about reading comments like this.

  • 258.
  • At 12:48 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I don't find the Kiwi's arrogant at all, certainly not the ones I know.

France deserved it on the day, simple as that.

And this issue with Wayne Barnes and death threats? Utter disgrace, the Kiwi's should hang their heads in shame

  • 259.
  • At 12:55 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • munster_girl wrote:

tony d- of course this kind of behaviour must be condemned and vilified. however i'm not going to take back my opinion of the referee's performance nor should anyone else just because this has happened. in my and alot of people's opinion he was terrible. he doesnt deserve death threats or anything like that but he was unable to cope with the pressure of the ocassion. just becaause the all balcks are guilty of a forward pass on the odd ocassion, doesnt mean that they deserve to lose a match because of that. france were treated so well this year. no one can deny it.

  • 260.
  • At 01:05 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Re the Islander v NZ native controversy...

Yes, I understand that NZ attracts and welcomes many migrant families from the Pacific. The economy of the South Pacific islands is so very limited that the attraction of a vibrant country with genrally welcoming population is very great. That is still so even though the vast majority of the immigrant population then lives in the worst housing and social conditions, just as elsewhere in the world.

I think that, ignorance aside, the NH perspective is clouded by the idea that those of Island heritage then CHOSE to play for the ABs rather than their 'own nation'. And there IS truth in that.

These are all perfectly understandable choices - Michael Jones chose to play for the ABs cos it made the most of the huge talent he had, just as much as doubtless it was a wise career choice. The NZRU are doing nothing wrong by offering these guys places in sides either.

BUT.....it has lead to there being some little part of truth in the assertion that NZ is South Pacific (A), and Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are left with best of the rest.

By the by, I am married to a Kiwi girl who was there when Barry John scored against the Universities in 197?2 Mostly she now supports Wales but I do what I can (England....)

  • 261.
  • At 01:33 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Brodders wrote:

To blame the referee for a defeat is very poor indeed, and to make personal jibes about his nationality is just weak. There were four officials in that match, so to lambast Wayne in that way is really poor and devoid of any sort of sense.

I bet the ref's nationality wasn't a problem BEFORE the match - it's just now that he has (allegedly) single-handedly plotted New Zealand's demise in favour of the French that he was doing it because he's English/paid. If you think that his national team was the first thing on his mind when he went out there at the Millennium Stadium, then you are very far wrong.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm English and would have preferred to face New Zealand next week, rather than a fired-up French side in front of their home crowd.

Furthermore, if Barnes is *SOLELY* responsible for NZ's downfall, then why has Graham Henry had to step down?

Why can't NZ fans show some humility and say 'thanks for having us, we had a great time - next time you might not be so lucky' and be on their way?

An example should be taken from how Fiji conducted themselves when knocked out. They played with heart and pride and when they lost, they held their heads high and got a fantastic ovation from all who watched them. NZ would have received the same farewell if they'd wanted it - people recognise they played some of the best rugby in the tournament and would congratulate them for that if only they received it with a smile on their faces.

As for referee death threats and accusations of conspiracies (thanks for your unnecessary and hysterical comments, 236) it's a real shame for the sport. If anybody actually took it upon themselves to look at Wayne's record in the Guinness Premiership they might have reservations about calling him inexperienced and incompetent.

  • 262.
  • At 01:36 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • tony d wrote:

Post 259 - NZ didnt deserve to lost ONLY because of one forward pass.

It remains a fact that NZ are the team to beat in 2011 - Just as they were in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007......

  • 263.
  • At 01:53 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

249 - have a Search for Wayne Barnes on Facebook and you will find plenty of extremely umpleasant material, including a group called 'Wayne Barnes Must Die'. When England got knocked out of Euro 2004 on the (correct) call of Urs Meier the poor man was hounded out of the game by the English media and a worryingly large number of supporters. I certainly hope that the same does not happen with the excellent Mr Barnes just because a group of supporters can't take defeat in a grown up and dignified way.

  • 264.
  • At 02:21 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • munster_girl wrote:

261- the nationality of the ref isnt the issue at all. and i agree death threats etc are going way too far and to move on, but to say that his record in the permiership means that he automatically will do well in the wc is not true. he clearly hadnt the experience of a match like that. the linesment were more to blame for the forward passses alright but he let the french away with murder.

  • 265.
  • At 03:25 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Brodders wrote:

I don't agree 264, he certainly got to grips very well with certain players who are notorious for getting away with murder and the discipline was good. I really don't think you can say that a ref made a bad judgement on a forward pass due to his lack of experience - that's just as likely to happen to any ref in any league in an country, and has little to do with the size of the crowd or the importance of the match.

Also, the argument that France had no penalties in the second half doesn't have a leg to stand on - that's like saying that a football team who scored no goals in a game were victimised by the ref. It's assuming that every team needs to be penalised in every half of every game or else the ref is incompetent. Not true, as we know.

The reason I bring up the nationality issue is with reference to comments near the top of the string where people question if an English ref should have been involved in a game that determined England's opponents in the next round. So I agree with you in that nationality certainly isn't an issue!

Wayne's record in the premiership doesn't automatically mean that he's experienced on a world stage, no, but many people making sensationalist comments about his performance and credentials should think again. Unless you think that the IRB are match-fixing, France-loving conspirators, then you'll note how they held Barnes in high enough esteem to give him a quarter final in the first place.

And thank you 263 for making such a sensible comment. Rugby is a game after all. People who are inciting negative feelings towards one guy over a rugby match should hang their heads in shame, and I really hope that all rugby supporters who are decent and fair people will not support such treatment. We should be encouraging young refs to come through and make the game better for all of us, not spouting malevolant messages all over the internet. If the players have the respect to call them Sir and to accept their decisions, then so should all 'supporters'.

Let's just get on and enjoy the rest of the World Cup, and try and stand up for referees without whom there would be no World Cup in the first place.

  • 266.
  • At 05:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Carlos wrote:

In response to Kiwibloke 196

Apologies for getting the wrong country, but I'm afraid the point still stands. I just don't see how you can so easily dismiss the contribution made by pacific islanders to NZ rugby? I guess one way in which you could at least acknowledge this would be to play a test in Samoa, Tonga or Fiji but then again………

Must dash as it appears the wheel as fallen off my bandwagon.

  • 267.
  • At 07:46 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Nippa wrote:

Bruce, 8 is nearer 10 than 4 but I've never been one to split hairs. Look, I have no problem with immigrants being eligible to play for their country of residence and certainly no problem with polynesians, quite the opposite, I think those Islanders produce the most naturally gifted rugby players in the world. I also recognize that much of this is not the fault or responsibility of NZRFU (unlike the old days when they shamelessly poached players from other countries, Michael Jones and Frank Bunce spring to mind). I simply point out that France were willing to do anything in their power to win Saturday and, if required, that involved taking risks and/or being unorthodox to an extent I have not seen from NZ. This is probably the result of a many factors including the reasonable belief that NZ's superior talent will win in the end. However, I still maintain that mixed emotions, however slight at that level, count for something and that is why France gave a display of passion and complete commitment that I have never seen NZ muster in any world cup to date. The All Blacks of old did appear to have this win at all costs attitude (and the 1987 RWC probably does not count as I believe that only NZ and Aus were fully professional at that stage).

  • 268.
  • At 07:46 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Julie Dooley wrote:

Death threats? Media articles are proof? How nice! The media said there were WMD's too. Must be true .. the media said it!
In NZ, the surveys say only 12% of Kiwi's blame the ref. 55% blame the pampering of players. 22% blame corporate sponsorship. Hense, I believe the focus on the ref is simply media hype!
The touch judge (post 234) was nothing short of comical! If the credibility of the AB's is up for scrutiny - why can't it apply to the officials also?
I'm going to enjoy a NH team copping this touch judge in one of your games! Hopefully he will provide the same Chaplin-esque entertainment he provided in the AB / France game!

  • 269.
  • At 09:08 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • charlie wrote:

Calling the All Blacks arrogant really gets to me. You'll notice the only people calling the All Blacks arrogant on these boards are the English fans. How many French, Aussie or SA fans call the All Blacks arrogant? And yet, how many different countries' fans call the English arrogant? Nearly all, I think your average arrogant English fan will find. Who else does victory laps around the park at the drop of a hat? Who else gloats so much when they win? Who else gets so much glee from watching the downfall of others? Who else slags off every man and his dog when they themselves lose, instead of taking it graciously? Sure, there might be the odd arrogant young Kiwi male fan, but you can't call the All Blacks arrogant. Take a look at yourselves before calling others arrogant, and learn the difference between confidence and arrogance - it's supposed to be your language after all.

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