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All Blacks give themselves chance to bury ghosts

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Tom Fordyce | 14:55 UK time, Sunday, 16 October 2011

Eden Park, Auckland

"Four more years!" roared the black-shirted celebrants around the stadium as the final whistle blew on New Zealand's semi-final steamrollering, revelling in the chance to ram George Gregan's famous taunt back down the throats of the vanquished Australia team.

You can understand the Kiwi delight, but other numbers made more sense - the 16 years they have waited to reach a World Cup final, the 24-year gap since their only victory and now, after this clinical, crushing win, the seven days that surely separate them from their second.

For all the talk of a trans-Tasman tussle to match the Wallabies' wins of 2003 and 1999, this was a lesson in controlled rugby, the 20-6 margin 17 points shy of what it could have been had the All Blacks landed all their eminently kickable opportunities (four penalties, one conversion, one drop-goal attempt, all missed).

The start was explosive, the forward domination eventually absolute.

In an opening assault so intense that a single green-and-gold shirt wasn't seen in possession in opposition territory for a full 10 minutes, the All Blacks not only opened a lead they never looked close to losing but established the pattern for all that was to follow.

New Zealand have lost nine Test matches since their infamous capitulation to France in the quarter-final of 2007. In every one of those defeats they had scored less than 20 points in the first half. Here they had 14, yet it triggered little of the pre-match anxiety that had gripped Auckland in the days before the match.

Much of that was down to the forwards. The majority of the tight five are in their third crack at a World Cup, and once they had established an early set-piece superiority over their opposite numbers they were in no mood to relinquish it.

It may not have been as pretty as the opening salvo, when the angles cut at pace by Cory Jane and Israel Dagg lit up Eden Park like fizzing fireworks, but it slowly squashed all the vim and vigour from Robbie Deans' dashing young bucks.

Jane was named man of the match, his security under the high ball another Wallaby spark snuffed out, yet two of his team-mates had equally strong claims.

Captain Richie McCaw led from the front in a dominant All Blacks forward display. Picture: AFP

Leading the charge was skipper Richie McCaw, all week the subject of paranoid headlines in local newspapers about the state of his injured right foot but as spring-heeled and iron-clawed at the breakdown as he ever has been.

McCaw has barely been able to train during this tournament, quite literally putting his feet up between matches to let his metatarsal recover. Rather than leave him short of fitness it actually seemed to have re-charged his batteries.

Dagg too was outstanding at full-back. So secure was he in defence, so cool his kicking and so penetrative his running that 100-cap Mils Muliaina was barely missed and never mentioned.

Piri Weepu was not quite in the same bossing form as a week ago against Argentina. He blew three straightforward shots at goal before the interval, two from close enough to draw groans from the dominant Kiwi contingent in the 60,000-strong crowd.

Despite that the scrum-half is clearly every New Zealander's favourite player of the moment, a burgeoning folk hero who might look like John Belushi after a night on the togas but leads the pre-match haka with fire in his eyes and endears himself to his public with a picaresque backstory and up and at 'em attitude.

Before the game his mother, once his coach at junior level, memorably described him as a "p****". His toddler daughter, Keira, was spotted wearing a t-shirt featuring a familiar logo and the words 'KEEP CALM - Piri's On'. In the absence through injury of Dan Carter, he is rapidly becoming the heartbeat of this reshuffled XV.

For the Wallabies this was a chastening sequel to last weekend's remarkable wriggle past South Africa, a miracle win that disguised the flaws first uncovered by Ireland in the group stages.

This time there was no escaping the cold clutches of rugby logic. Australia had just 32% of possession in the critical first half and missed 15 tackles as the All Blacks established their lead.

David Pocock, their stand-out performer in the tournament thus far, found his breakdown burglaries halted by McCaw's old-school policing, referee Craig Joubert far less laissez-faire about hands in rucks and feet off floors than Bryce Lawrence had been a week ago.

An eighth-minute penalty against the open-side brought roars of approval from all around Eden Park, the jackal in the tackle no longer laughing, as decisions continued to pile up in the All Blacks' favour.

Australia's New Zealand-born fly-half Quade Cooper endured a chastening night. Picture: AFP

The biggest boos, of course, were reserved for hapless Quade Cooper, a man whose abject opening moments turned him from public enemy number one to public laughing stock before a single score was on the board.

His first act was to put the kick-off straight into touch, his second to helplessly shepherd a cunning grubber into his own corner as the All Black backs closed in for the kill.

When he then spilled a high ball to cede another attacking opportunity to the country of his birth, you found yourself inventing new entries in the sporting lexicon.
"Quade (v): to crumble under pressure; 'He lost his job after quadeing badly'. 2. (n): the act of messing something up; 'I made a right quade of that raspberry pavlova'.

Cooper recovered, slightly. But this World Cup has been an enormous disappointment for him, his worst run of form in a Wallabies shirt since his debut three years ago.

Robbie Deans denied that he would have liked Matt Giteau on the bench to bring on as the wheels came off. Not all Aussie supporters, after their record defeat in a World Cup match, will be quite so sure.

There is a neat symmetry in the fact that Sunday's final against France will represent a replica of the inaugural final back in 1987. It may get neater still if the result, as many expect, goes exactly the same way.

New Zealand have endured many World Cup horror-shows since David Kirk lifted the Webb-Ellis trophy in the Auckland sunshine that June afternoon.

Everything from intercepted passes to mysterious South African waitresses and one-eyed English referees have been blamed for their failures since, while France themselves have acted as party poopers on two unforgettable occasions.

For Les Blues to poop this one will take one of the more extraordinary upsets. When your own coach describes his players as "a bunch of undisciplined spoilt brats - disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining," you know you've got issues.

There will be nerves afresh this week. There will also never be a better chance to bury those ghosts.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I fully expect the All Blacks to finally put to bed years of choking and win comfortably next week. However, in years to come this world cup will be remembered more for all the bad things that have happened rather than any quality of play. Depressing really.

  • Comment number 2.

    I guess french restaurants will be off limits for the All Blacks, then?

  • Comment number 3.

    "RememberScarborough" - Nope. Remember the rugby - yes.

  • Comment number 4.

    France didn't deserve to be in the semi-finals let alone the finals, I hope for the sake of the British Isles New Zealand annihilate them in every area of the pitch and fingers crossed Mccaw smashes Yashvilli, such an arrogant player I despise him. Go on All Blacks take what is rightfully yours

  • Comment number 5.

    New Zealand by 20? Not even sure it's worth crawling out of bed for! This French team are useless, nearly as bad as England.

  • Comment number 6.

    For the first time I´ll be rooting for a finalist from the south because they´ve deservedly won every game and it would be tough to have a world champion that qualified despite losing to Tonga !!
    On the other hand, the Tongans would probably have a good laugh if France won...

  • Comment number 7.

    This is going to be the most depressingly one sided final since the last one in NZ. Everything has conspired to make it easier for the All Blacks. Firstly, having the event in NZ favoured them (should have gone to Japan). Secondly, Ireland beating OZ, giving them a brutal quarter against SA, which they paid for today. Thirdly, the joke ref giving the semi to France. The arrogance of the ABs is hard to take and I for one, won't be watching the one way traffic in the final. Let's hope France can somehow produce a miracle!

  • Comment number 8.

    This blog isn't going to attract 500 posts with bitterness and acrimony, touches of xenophobia mixed with the usual national bias. Scotland to win by 20 points. Wales relegated to international league 2 due to number of red cards received at this year's world cup.

  • Comment number 9.

    The fact that 15 man France couldn't get the better of 14 man Wales may just make the ABs over confident. Sure France won, but at this level I think any of the defeated quarter finalists would have made the Welsh suffer more. But you never know.
    Nobody expects the French to win, not even the French. They have got to the final so what if they try to do something different? It might just unsettle a nervous AB team who have all the pressure. The French have got to go for broke - nsk being 20 points down after 20 minutes in the hope they are 12 points up after 20 minutes. If they try to play rugby they will lose.

  • Comment number 10.

    New Zealand were the only side going into the semis unbeaten and the should win the final.

    However, France do have two solid kickers in Yashvili and Parra and I can imagine what their game plan will be, get under the All Black skins get them to concede penalties.

    France's forwards will offer more resistance than Australia's did, and I sincerely hope they revert back to their fast paced running game for the final. A tight kicking forward game may play into France's hands.

    And as a Welsh fan I hope they put at least 50 on them. Not that I'm bitter or anything. ;-)

  • Comment number 11.

    @8

    Scotland aren't even in the final.

    That comment as pathetic as the rest of your post.

  • Comment number 12.

    well done all blacks you shower class and determination,
    fleecepea why the negative comment, the irb is not located in N Z they are located in Dublin so no bias towards the all blacks, go back to watching "football" and be carefull not to joke on your soggy chips

  • Comment number 13.

    JACKTWO

    You are a complete banana

  • Comment number 14.

    I am so hoping for a miracle to happen on Sunday. It would be such a beautiful story, turning around a loss to Tonga to a win in the final against the All Blacks on home turf in their fortress home stadium in just 240 minutes of play.

  • Comment number 15.

    Gareth (12) - The IRB need NZ to win this. Having anyone other than the mighty All Blacks as world champions for this many years has made a mockery of their ranking system and much longer would have called the integrity of the competition into question. Everyone knows the AB's have been the best going into most of the tournaments, so the IRB have needed them to win another (a first professional) one to give credence to their tournament. Don't get me wrong - they fully deserve to be there on today's performance however this tournament should not be being held in their homeland - that is not the players fault though and well done to them, they were magnificent (and McCaw did his best under the radar cheating I have seen from him for a while).

  • Comment number 16.

    I expect the All Blacks to win it 15-20 pts. I said as much before kick off today, and was only out by 1 point. Why do I think they'll win it? They're a united team. There's no acrimony with their coach (as pointed out by Tom Fordyce). They'll want to do it to end 24 years of hurt. They're more organised, more discplined. But the biggest reason for me is the Christchurch effect. Talisman Dan Carter may be out of the team recovering from groin surgery but McCaw is still there. Both hail from the city and both will want to take the Webb Ellis trophy home. God knows the residents of Christchurch could do with some serious cheering up given the year they've had.

  • Comment number 17.

    I disagree with RememberScarborough. The rugby at this World Cup has generally been fairly exciting barring the insipid England performances (which I suppose were still nerve-wracking). In the pool stage, the only qualifiers before the last set of matches were New Zealand (who have been magical) and the minnows have been far better than they have generally been in previous years, to the extent where at half-time in many games unlikely victories may have been on the cards (France vs Japan was pretty tight at one point for instance). Furthermore, Wales' performances have been inspirational, the semi-final they played in particular was a classic that will be long-remembered for their heroic performance (it is my opinion that the refereeing decision was correct, despite the media uproar). Ireland's win against Australia, Argentina's victory against Scotland and Wales' defeat against the Springbocks are three further engrossing games that will stay in the mind. In the knock-out stage the matches have generally been competitive (except for New Zealand vs Argentina 2nd half and France vs England) too.

    Everyone is writing that the final will not be worth watching, but it may be worth remembering who were the overwhelming favourites when these two sides met in 2007 and 1999. Can lightning strike three times? I'm not sure, as there seems to be problems in the French squad, but any and every side is dangerous in a finals context. In addition, it is important to remember that this France side are potentially the best in the Northern hemisphere on their day (remember the Six Nations 2010?) with world class performers in Clerc, Harinordoquy and Parra. Finally, no Northern Hemisphere side has beaten the All-Blacks more than France, and that's got to be psychologically important (Wales by contrast last beat the All-Blacks before Warren Gatland even existed, let alone the current team being born)! Never write off Les Bleus.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ fleecepea

    Why should this event have gone to Japan? The All Blacks and the NZ public haven't had the chance to play or watch the World Cup in their own country since 1987. So far the tournament has alternated between the Northern & Southern hemsiphere.

    1987 NZ and Australia
    1991 Home Nations
    1995 South Africa
    1999 Wales (But all the home nations got to play at home)
    2003 Australia
    2007 France (But all the home nations got to play at home)
    2011 NZ

    2015 England (But all the home nations will get to play at home)
    2019 Japan

    Correct me if I'm wrong but Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere and so why isn't the next world cup being held there? Why do the Home Nations get to have the advantage of home grounds every 2nd tournament? And why do the NZ public have to travel so far to support their team?

    Surely we are allowed home advantage ONCE every 24 years with out some numpty complaining about it

  • Comment number 19.

    Decent blog. As a Bok supporter I naturally believe our team should have been playing the AB's today (and THAT would have been some game!), but I took solace in the fact that Pocock was not allowed to repeat his antics in this match.

    Well done the AB's, a very stong performance, and I hope (expect) you to go on to win the WC which you so deserve!

  • Comment number 20.

    That should put an end to all the choking nonsense. Now it will be the all blacks choke in foreign world cups. Pathetic criticism they have had to live with. Where are all the haters now?

    They will beat France by 20 in the final.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am not a french or samoan! but real justice was done!! i love rugby and the values that this sport is famous for. Injustice is Samoa to play wales after 3 days, while wales had rested for a week or more! and this happens to at every RWC. same for the irish or the scottish....

  • Comment number 22.

    There hasn't been too many times in AB history that a NZ forward pack has so comprehensively 'owned' a match. 1956 v SA 4th test; 1983 v Lions 2nd test; 1996 v Aust T-N Game 1 are matches that spring readily to my mind.

    But I think we can now add RWC2011Semi 2 v Aust to that list.

    What a performance. Basically, the Wallaby forwards got mugged, beaten up, smashed etc Whatever you want to call it.

    Great to see big games from Woodcock, Thorn and Read. McCaw showed that while Warburton and Pocock have enormous talent, they don't have the street smarts to match him. One gets sent off after taking a huge risk. The other is simply denied game because his forwards are out-thought and out-played. The streetwise education will come with experience. But for now, McCaw remains the No 1 openside flanker in the world. 

    Stupid of the Wallabies to persist with their kicking tactics. Cory and Izzy gobbled up all the high ball and paid it back with interest. 

    For all the bravado that Quade's been throwing out, the pressure finally got to him. He had a shocker. Deans must seriously wonder whether Cooper has a future in a structure-oriented team.

    As expected the weak Wallaby midfield found the AB hitups too hot to handle, and Izzy's attack too irresistible. 

    The quality of the AB drift defence was there for all to see. They attacked the breakdowns on the front foot so Aust had no latitude like what they had v SA. Consequently, Genia's game rarely got going.

    Weepu had another quality game. Cruden very composed and judicious in his decision making. Nonu and Conrad made the most of what ball they received and defended intelligently. Cory had a huge game. Very safe under the high ball and chased Weepu's kicks all day.

    The Wallaby pack was shellshocked, esp when their scrum was continually buckling under pressure. The sight of Kaino and Thorn punching the air after crippling another Wallaby scrum will live long in my memory. 

    What was most satisfying though was seeing the ABs varying their attack options. This team just showed they can attack with width, they can narrow the attack, they can attack using a scrum or lineout base. They also have a kicking game to go along with their deadly attack from broken play.

    There was a time when the 1995 team could be held up as our greatest ever rugby-playing side at a WC. 

    But this 2011 side's brand of Total Rugby is breathtaking in it's execution. 

    Was great to be part of an Eden Park crowd that was so enthusiastic about our national anthem. That hasn't always happened. Also, awesome to yell out "4 more years!" to the Aussies after the final whistle. 

    Next week's final a whole new ballgame. Forget the pool game and the semis. Fra have a superior forward pack and loose trio to Aust. 

    In 1987 I was a kid who went along with my family to the filung Too young to really understand what it meant to my elders. Not anymore.

    Roll on next Sunday!

  • Comment number 23.

    i thought this is one ghost theyve laid to rest as the wallabies have beaten them in 2 prior semi finals , 1991 and 2003 , more than frances 1 quarter and a semi.
    thought aussies were woeful , but atleast it looked like they were trying , the kiwis only game involving a top 7 seven ranked team yeah really world beaters so you caned japan most heineken cup teams could achieve that,
    its a sad indictment of the tournament that the kiwis always manage to get a virtual by to the final much the same as brazil in football by having no competition in their pool stages.
    the end stages of the RWC are flawed because of this as there are not enough teams to support a knockout system like football. i feel the last four should play each other in a mini league phase with the top 2 teams then contesting a cup final
    I dont think wales were unlucky either as they missed their kicks and that was what really cost them.
    france have shown you can be completely hopeless throughout a tournament (atleast england were just rubbish in their opener in 2007) and still get to a final

    so much for the NH teams not getting to it , although Wales would have given NZ a tougher examination and probably have made a better game for the neutral , there is however some deep dark corner of my sub concious that hopes the french will discover that certain something and wipe the smile off grim hinry and ruchie mucaws and all the band wagon jumping wonderwalling jonny come lateleys collective faces and that of the media journos with sychphantic prose and conjecturing tripe especially all the lets have jonny at 10 and flood at 12 clowns ,look where that got england archair experts
    still i guess in reality that wont happen NZ to win by 20 hardly a spectacle more like debacle .......... what time does downton abbey start!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Actually it's been a brilliant WC that will be remembered for all sorts of things, amongst them some great rugby. The kiwis seem to get really nervous before these big games - going to be hard for them to come down after this win and gear back up for France ...

    Good passion last night - hope they get that Gorilla off their back on sunday.

    All Blacks by 20+

  • Comment number 25.

    Good luck to the All Blacks next week in what will be the finale of a great world cup. the performance today was simply stunning, a perfect example of power and control to completely snuff out the quick moving game of the Aussies. The way they smashed through every ruck, maul and scrum with numbers was great to watch.

    It's an injustice that the French are in the final instead of Wales after the way they have played throughout the tournament and one would expect a complete annihilation in the final but this is France and, as we know, the side has numerous faces so it will be interesting to see which one turns up. Either way I can't wait for the game.

    Good luck Wales in the bronze game.

  • Comment number 26.

    @15: Your comment about McCaw's "cheating" against Australia cannot go unanswered. McCaw, probably now well past his best, still had another fine game - as a leader, as a scavenger, and in defence. Over a career of 100+ tests he has been an outstanding, innovative player. You and others of similar ilk do yourself and the game little credit through your ongoing, cowardly attacks on one of international rugby's luminaries.

  • Comment number 27.

    Kentendo wrote:

    France didn't deserve to be in the semi-finals let alone the finals, I hope for the sake of the British Isles New Zealand annihilate them in every area of the pitch and fingers crossed Mccaw smashes Yashvilli, such an arrogant player I despise him. Go on All Blacks take what is rightfully yours

    Why don't they deserve to be in the final? They played crap, ok. So why didn't England beat them? Wales were far the better team and were penalized by losing their captain. But France didn't "trick" Warburton into making that tackle. Hook was the weak link that cost Wales the match. Maybe on another day he'd have had a blinder. That's life.
    What makes you think Yashvili is arrogant? He's not been first choice for the position in many matches and has had to fight to get back in the team. He comes over as pretty unassuming, hardly rugby's version of Jacko.
    And the RWC isn't rightfully anybody's.
    Go and watch some football, you'll feel better.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh yeah, I've never been a big fan of Weepu. But gotta hand it to him. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. He's stepped up to the mic. Bummer that SBW had a momentary lapse of reason and thought he was in an NRL semi. What an impact Hore had when he came on - taunted the frustrated Wallaby forwards.

  • Comment number 29.

    If a No 7 isn't pushing the letter of the law then frankly, they shouldn't be on the field. It's their job to scavenge the ball and to take it to the edge of the rule book. The skill lies in NOT going over the edge and getting your team blown off the park by the Ref. It's a dark art which guys like Warburton and Pocock are still learning. McCaw, by virtue of experience, has it over them, crocked foot or not.

  • Comment number 30.

    Neutral view.

    New Zealand deserved to win and should win the World Cup. Well done to them.

    I must comment of the mean spirited and obnoxious trreatment of Quade Cooper by New Zealand "fans." It seems like more and more football supporter garbage is seeping into the game for players (feigning injury) and now supporters (abuse from the crowd).

    It's sad really. Is Cooper a traditional meat and spuds fly half? No. Clearly he has been out of form. However, when on form he is a very exciting maverick player who is great to watch.

    I thought it a bit rich for Campo to have a go at him. The thing is with Cooper he does the unexpected....somet times it works and sometimes it doesn't. But he makes the game more exciting.


    For heavens' sake let's not become like football supporters with these pathetic and personal attacks. Light hearted banter is one thing, but this stuff has crossed the line.Let's cut this garbage out of the game.

  • Comment number 31.

    God, I hope Fraace beat ABs in the Final - How anyone in England (Or any other home nation) can support the ABs is beyond me.. There arrogant and cocky and hopefully France will wipe that smug look of there faces.

  • Comment number 32.

    The most impressive thing today was the number done by the NZ pack on the Australians. Every 10 minutes or so an Oz player emerged from the breakdown with a nosebleed and a bewildered look. Enforcers all over the place. In the places where refs and cameras can't see. Same as it ever was.

  • Comment number 33.

    Tom,
    It's not just the final. The four semi-finalists were the same, and the 3rd-4th play-off is the same as 1987. As a fan of rugby (and a Welshman) I hope the winners of both matches next weekend are the same as well!!

  • Comment number 34.

    30: I agree. This constant sledging of Quade Cooper has been the major letdown for me of this WC. Thing is, he really didn't do anything to deserve it. So he gave McCaw a hard time in two Bledisloes. So what? McCaw's a 7. Being hated goes with 7 territory.

    I would say the NZ media have a lot to answer for. They've demonized Cooper and the NZ public have let themselves be drawn into it.

  • Comment number 35.

    firebladefury wrote:

    "the kiwis only game involving a top 7 seven ranked team yeah really world beaters so you caned japan most heineken cup teams could achieve that, its a sad indictment of the tournament that the kiwis always manage to get a virtual by to the final much the same as brazil in football by having no competition in their pool stages."

    I think you'll find France were in our pool and we beat them and dispite their current indifferent form they are definately top 7. Also the only teams who really give us a good game are South Africa and Australia and as they are also always ranked in the top 4 we will never encounter them in a pool match.

    I don't know how you can say we always get a virtual bye to the final. We haven't been to one since 1995.

    For you and all the others gripping about the final being poor because France are there if you are English you had your chance to put them on a plane but you lost. Ditto if you're Welsh, yes poor decision but Tonga beat them and even with 14 men you should be able to beat Tonga.

    France haven't had their one big game of the tournament yet and if the French team that dominated the All Blacks for the first 20 mins in our pool game turn up and decide to play for 80 they can win. We may have just played our final against Australia. This tournament is not over yet. France love the underdog tag, they love being written off and they have nothing to lose. The pressure on the AB's is huge.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hmmm. Arrogant and cocky. Reminds me of the english team.

  • Comment number 37.

    The standout thing about the AB forwards was their technique and accuracy in everything they did. Woodcock at tighthead was unbelievable. Read in broken play was awesome on both defence and attack. Whitelock and Thorn made sure the lineouts kept ticking over. The pick and go delivered front foot yardage all day. McCaw, Kaino and Mealamu killed Aust at the breakdowns. Outstanding.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 7 and 31... arrogant All Blacks? Please, tell me more. How do you qualify such a statement?

    Fleecepea, you just seem sadly bitter.
    Mattythewholover, why shouldn't anyone from the home nations be entitled to support whomever they choose?

  • Comment number 39.

    What have the All Blacks done for them to be labelled arrogant and cocky? Win a few rugby matches?

    For those that haven't figured it out for themselves, the reason why the All Blacks have an easier run to the final than some other countries is because they are ranked number one in the world. That's how seeding works. It also helped that Ireland beat Aussie, meaning that New Zealand didn't have to play both Australia and South Africa in the knock out phases.

  • Comment number 40.

    What have the All Blacks done for them to be labelled arrogant and cocky? Win a few rugby matches?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oh yeah, I've never been a big fan of Weepu. But gotta hand it to him. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. He's stepped up to the mic. Bummer that SBW had a momentary lapse of reason and thought he was in an NRL semi. What an impact Hore had when he came on - taunted the frustrated Wallaby forwards.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's pure arrogance right there. their showing off beyond belief, their sore losers, and bad winners.. If they win the final (which I hope to God they don't) you will hear their snivelling smug mouths from Mars.

  • Comment number 41.

    It would be easy for AB players to allow themselves to get caught in the hype and allow their egos to fill Eden Park. But you listen to most of this team when they're interviewed and they'll talk less about themselves and their contributions and more about supporting each other, to raise each other's game for the sake of the team. They'll also show respect for their opponents, no matter their pedigree in the game. Nothing arrogant there. AB fans are another matter though - but the team has no control over that.

  • Comment number 42.

    Hore was showing off? Geez he'd just got smashed by a Wallaby forward after they got pissed off for losing a turnover.

  • Comment number 43.

    Can't see France putting up too much of a fight, even if NZ choke and under-perform it'll still be enough.

    I'm only grateful England are out so we don't get embarrassed against the All Blacks

    http://samhopwood.blogspot.com/2011/10/world-cup-to-remember-even-by-english.html

  • Comment number 44.

    I disagree, I feel the easier run to the final would have been the way France went... no disrespect to Wales of course, who I wish to have won their match but England, Ireland, Wales haven't posed too many threats to NZ down the years whereas Australia/South Africa are a different story.

    This talk of arrogance is a little of the mark. Some fans, myself included, may seem arrogant in the support of our team but all countries' have such fans. But to label the players themselves as arrogant, sore losers and bad winners is grasping a little. NZs players are well balanced, level headed, approachable, community minded people, ask anyone who has had contact with them, especially the kids, the ABs are always out with the public... arrogant wouldn't be the right word, try down to earth :)

    A for the world cup being wasted in NZ, you clearly haven't been here during the tournament, the rugby has been great, the local support and that of visitors to NZ, for all teams, has been the best I've ever experienced in the 4 tournaments I've ever been to, the fan zones, the access to real heartland rugby locations, reminiscent of the amateur aspect all rugby fans claim to love has been available.

    Japan, England and other locations may earn a few mre dollars but for a true tournament with a grassroots rugby flavour (i.e. lacking the commercial, seemingly fake glamour), then NZ has put on a great tournament. I'm sure most visitors, if not all, (except Quade Cooper) agree.

  • Comment number 45.

    Leedskiwi

    The reason this RWC should have been in Japan is that having the tournament in NZ does nothing to grow the game world wide. That is what the IRB supposed to be doing.

    Don't get me wrong we have had a great time here despite all our teams going home:)

    THE FANS yes kiwis are arrogant about their rugby team indeed kiwis take on a different persona when they talk rugby. Normally easy going approachable folk but say anything about the ABs and watch out they become aggressive and nonsensical. We have seen this many times since arriving here 7 weeks ago.

    I actually find it very odd that Kiwis tend to call the English arrogant, my experience is that where the fans are concerned the boot is clearly on the other foot.

  • Comment number 46.

    A special mention for Cruden. He already climbed one mountain after beating cancer. He climbed another last night too. Gutsy game from the little guy.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi churguys: yeah, AB fans can be some of the most boorish in the world. Get a few down them and it gets worse!

    But that's changing though. Like English football the game's becoming more family friendly. And as more people are schooled up on the finer points of the game, they're appreciating it a lot more. I hope you've enjoyed it down here.

  • Comment number 48.

    Noah

    Thanks we certainly have.
    oh and good luck next week. Although the way the ABs played last night I dod not think luck will have anything to do with it. :)

  • Comment number 49.

    France-ABs.....aren't you pleased you ABs fans, an easy game for you, he? Much easier than the mighty welsh. Surely you cannot lose it at home, against such a weak team? Can you?

  • Comment number 50.

    What is it with all the disrespect to the AB's

    The reason they had, what seems an easier draw, is that they are, and have been, the top side for the last 20 years.

    And as for arrogance I don't get it.........as a people they show respect to every opponnent and treat them all with dignity.........give me one example of an all black being disrespectful

    And all the players feel humbled to be allowed to wear the jersey

    If everyone in the world treated eachother with the respect the blacks do then it would be a better place

    I am from Scotland and cmon the AB's

  • Comment number 51.

    Churguys: thanks - although i don't think anyone's counting their chickens just yet. Too many ghosts of failed WCs past!

    Just on that issue of host allocation. I can't wait for Japan 2019 - esp if John Kirwan's still coaching Japan. All teams like them, the US and Russia need are time and money invested in their game and they will become a force. They're the future.

    This WC though has thrown up a raft of issues which have been buried far too long. The crazy playing calendar around the world. The uneven international competitions. Unions struggling financially. The IRB had to get it's house in order. Down here the NZRU has to clean up it's act - the player drain is threatening to kill the NZ game.

  • Comment number 52.

    In the 1999 final Australia beat France 35-12,if I was a betting man then I'd have to say that France will need at least that 23pt start,probably closer to 33...The All Blacks rampant in a World Cup final at the fortress Eden Park against the team that caused them such pain 4 yrs ago(and '99) who are in pretty ordinary form...I can forsee a real hiding..

  • Comment number 53.

    I can tell you one thing is that if france gets 23 points ahead, it will be bye bye for the ABs. I am also sure that if France keeps within striking distance up to the hour mark (which will be tough), the ABs will just implode under pressure

  • Comment number 54.

    Frenchguy74: dude, no matter what anyone says, Fra remain the ABs bogey team. Make no mistake, it won't be a repeat of the pool game. Their forward pack commands respect. Dusautoir is one hell of a player and leader. Sure, they won ugly v Wales. But once you're in the final, how you got there doesn't matter. NZ blew everyone away in 1995. They got blown away by a field goal in the final.

  • Comment number 55.

    Noah: for sure I am hoping for a much tighter contest than in the group. The ABs are the best and should win.....but they have everything to lose. The pressure will be on them. Cool heads will be needed. Despite what everybody is saying I believe France will give them a harder game than what the Welsh could have done.

  • Comment number 56.

    Did Australia win the 2003 World Cup as Tom states in the 3rd paragraph? I could have sworn they won in 1991 and 1999 and a different team won in 2003. Pretty stupid mistake Tom.

  • Comment number 57.

    Pretty sad but I'm gonna say this...

    From what I've seen the fixture for the final is ' (SF1) France - (SF2) New Zealand.
    Even though it is on NZ soil, the fixture dictates that NZ will be the away team (other examples are NZ-Aus in 03 or Eng-Fra 07).

    After the group stage when France had to change kit for the game (NZ-France), I take it NZ will be wearing white for the final?

    I think there could be a few things to be said about that...

  • Comment number 58.

    It is interesting to see the odd comment that the AB's are arrogant. As a Kiwi and AB's fan, one of the main reasons why the AB's are so strongly and passionately supported in their homeland is that, as individuals, they are NOT arrogant. They are not allowed to be in NZ. One of the most important and commonly used descriptions in NZ when describing rugby players is whether they are 'humble'. Players who are not regarded as humble, do not get the respect of the fans (unless they are very, very good - Jeff Wilson would be one example).

    NZ fans feel that the AB's are one of them - it is an incredibly strong characteristic. You feel like you could walk up to Dan Carter or Richie McCaw and have a chat. They are humble. They don't tell us how good they are - we hate that!

    This is why SBW is testing the patience of the NZ rugby fan. There is no denying his talent, but they are suspicious of his motivations. He appears to be 'humble', and behaves that way with the media. But note this week that his teammates have had to come out in the media to assure us that he is indeed 'humble" (the word they used). Because the NZ rugby public are not sure. Why? Because they feel he has strung the public along by not putting pen to an AB's contract like he said he would before the tournament. The issue is not whether he signs for the AB's or not - it is that he has gone back on his word and appears to be dragging things out (this is probably more to do with his dysfunctional management team than SBW himself). If he signs for the AB’s then good on him, if not, then that’s ok too. But his path to ‘humbleness’ and true respect is now a little harder for him.

    Although players who are arrogant are shot down in NZ, there is of course nothing wrong with arrogance as a team. This was best illustrated against Australia with a dominant and intimidating performance. We love that kid of arrogance!

    The AB’s are of the people. That’s why we love them. They truly represent us – a small nation of just 4 million people at the bottom of the world, a cultural and ethnic melting pot, that doesn’t make much impact internationally. They make us proud to be kiwi’s.

    Go the AB’s for the World Cup. They deserve it.

  • Comment number 59.

    For various reasons I don't like the ABs (not least the fact they systematically poached players from the Pacific Islands - mind you England have started that now) but you've got to respect, even admire, the simply way they play the game. There are always support players when an AB gets tackled, they don't kick away turn over ball, they run into gaps not opponents and they tackle and tackle and tackle.
    Heck some countries need to look and learn.

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    I wouldnt say France are NZs bogey team, we've met 4 times in WCs with 2 wins each, NZ winning the most important of those clashes, the '87 final.
    France have the ability to win of course, no one can deny that and given history, no one is counting their chickens just yet, least of all the players. But one thing is for sure, if France play like they have in this tournament to date then they will come a distant second... they were very fortunate to beat Wales.. if the Welsh had someone who could kick goals they would have won that game with 13 men.

  • Comment number 62.

    France will note a number of chinks in ABs today. Defence was leaky as was kicking. France have had a day extra and are unlikely to show the fatigue that Australia seemed to after Springboks game.

    Best of all, ABs had the air of having won the whole thing today and not just a semi.

    It ain't over yet.

  • Comment number 63.

    For all those posters complaining about refereeing decisions - a lot of your countrymen and otehrs were happy to tell us Kiwi's to "harden up" after 2007.............perhaps you could look to them for advice on how to deal with your disappointment?? :)

    I have loved watching the rugby live and at a decent hour - especially many of the minnows games, and the atmosphere around the country has been electric. If you weren't here you missed a beaut - and if you were you know what I mean.

    Sorry to see Wales go - I had a chat on a train from Wellington to Upper Hutt with a supporter who's wife had been "conned" into coming on the excuse of a convenient family birthday or marriage or something like that....but, aas, the red card WAS the right decision - albeit very unfortunate - I was really hoping for a boyos vs boys in black final!

  • Comment number 64.

    Frenchguy74: the ABs won't be able to bring the game they played last night to the final. Fra's forward pack are too good. Looking back at past NZ-Fra WC games, Fra have managed to blitz NZ for approx 25-30 mins of the 99 and 07 games. It's those 25-30 mins the ABs have to figure out how to combat.

    On the flip side, over the past 12 months NZ have averaged approx 25-30 points per test match. The issue for Fra will be how to either a) limit the ABs points accumulation and/or b) score 30+ against NZ. They've done it before. That's what makes this final so potentially good. If both teams turn up to play (and I think both will) then it's Game On.

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 35 , yes i'm english and agree we were woeful too,the IRB rankings going into the tournament were i think
    1 NZ
    2 AUS
    3 SA
    4 Ireland
    5 england
    6 wales
    7 argentina
    8 france
    however just checked again and france now 5th so i guess we were both right but thats because of 2 really poor performances by England and Wales france havent got better lets face it they beat a team by one point who had 14 men for 63mins ok i know its a win but come on hardly a real threat are they.NZ demolished them in 20 mins an then let them off the hook by allowing france to score a few points in the pool stage game.if you check on wikipedia or some other site you will see who has been in NZ pool stages and i stand by my comments you had no top 7 team in the pool stage at the outset of the tournament hardly a challenge for the team who's been number 1 virtually all the while since ranking was introduced. you say wont face SA or aus in pool stages why not england where holders going into 2007 and got SA and have had NZ in a pool too.
    it was obvious to all that the holders SA going into 2011 had the toughest group with aus the second toughest.
    i'm not going to speculate why NZ havent reached a final since 1995 but you've made 3 now same as England , and Aus and france but most of your other exits have been in the semis bar 1 quarter against a good french side at home.
    this RWC has been low on quality from the big teams except when they whooped the minnows which is to be expected although that takes nothing away from the teams outside the top 10 they have been the ones to perform and entertain
    also agree with 45, i work with an ex NZ serviceman , i'm ex uk forces and all he prattles on about is a game when england kicked all the points and won the game in NZ back in 2002/3 ,so not exactly gracious in defeat god if the final goes to plan and NZ win he will be intolerable .
    the highlightof this RWC for me would have been to see live televised pictures of former AUS coach Eddie jones and Campo's face when the wannabies lost to Ireland............priceless although Lieveremont must be really having a laugh at the FRB as whatever happens he has won a grand slam and appeared in a final so has equalled many of the great frech sides achievement albeit not in the same style.
    i hope nz win by more than 20 then the IRB will have to act to change the flawed and biased format they have in place for the RWC

  • Comment number 66.

    "not least the fact they systematically poached players from the Pacific Islands - mind you England have started that now"

    Perhaps you could provide facts to back up this fallacious argument? Nope, didn't think you could. You might have noticed that in fact the overwhelming tide of player migration is out of NZ and into Pacific Islands (and some notable Islands just off the coast of Europe too...). The unions hampering the Pacific Island nations are actually all in the northern hemisphere. Perhaps your unions could consider backing the NZRFU proposal to allow players to avoid the "one country" rule and play for ancestral island sides after having represented a tier one nation where they were born, raised, educated and learned their rugby?

  • Comment number 67.

    Here we go again. An othe comment about NZ stealing players from the Pacific Islands. Lets look at the facts. How many foreign born players do the teams who made the Top 8 have in their squads?

    England - 8
    Australia - 7
    Wales - 5
    New Zealand - 4
    France - 2
    South Africa -1
    Argentina - 0

    Another interesting fact..there are 38 NZ born players at the World Cup who are not in the All Blacks, including 15 in the Samoan team.

    Perhaps LahdarBheinn considers that Pacific Islanders born and raised in NZ are not real New Zealanders?

  • Comment number 68.

    The gray ghost

    Actually the most damming thing about the NZFU is that they will not play the PI nations.

  • Comment number 69.

    Definitely a great performance by the ABs, this from an England fan, handled the high ball imperiously, Cruden was no weak link, the back three were excellent, McCaw had his best game of the Cup so far. Australia did not help themselves, too often when they had width the second receiver crashed up the middle and Dagg's return punts indicated that this tactic needed to be changed, it was not, that said they never looked like winning.
    Personally I have never sensed any arrogance in the AB team, the head tapping would not be missed though, they do seem grounded. We spent 10 days in NZ for the RWC, me, my wife and 8 year old daughter, and sadly encountered many of the parochial and one eyed experiences that other posters have mentioned. I found it impossible to talk about rugby to any NZ person we met. Everyone else is rubbish, a disgrace, "we are the best team in the world and have been for years" etc etc was a constant. The booing of Cooper and Wilkinson, particularly when taking place kicks is infantile. In short, I think that New Zealanders are great fans of the All Blacks, but not great fans of Rugby.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just watching some of last nights game. Man. Aust had a shocking kicking game. Anyone know James O'Connor's background? He's not Michael O'Connor's son is he?

  • Comment number 71.

    "Actually the most damming thing about the NZFU is that they will not play the PI nations."

    Yep, I was appalled at the way NZ refused to play Tonga in the pool. Didn't play a warm up game against Fiji on 22 July and never sent a team to (win) the Pacific Nations Cup. Shocking.

  • Comment number 72.

    You people that are praying for a French victory must truly be bitter and deluded.

    France are a joke and they're going to get thrashed. They were whipped by the ABs in the group game, they buckled to the mighty Tonga, couldn't score a try against 14-man Wales and scraped past a useless England.

    The AB's are going to dish out a man-sized shellacking and my sincere hope is that it will cause you all to whine about conspiracies, cheating and arrogance from the ABs for another four years.

    Cheerio and pip-pip, old chaps................!!

  • Comment number 73.

    TGG

    Oh come on you know what I am saying. I do not mind you being a fan of the ABs but the NZRFU has treated the PI nations very poorly in terms of going to the islands and playing them.......open both eyes I am not having a go at you just your union!!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Actually I think it wouldn't been better to have Manu Samoa in the expanded Tri-N than Argentina. No, scratch that. Have both MS and Arg in the Tri-N. Never happen, unless MS discover oil off their coastline. Still though, nice to dream.

  • Comment number 75.

    TGG

    Actually my comments center around this game some of us love being grown and the NZRFU should be doing far more in this part of the world....surely you can concede that???

  • Comment number 76.

    Very determined and efficient win for the All Blacks. It certainly was not the even contest I expected before the match.

    Just hope that France are able to bring something to the table and give a grand final match up to remember this year, as the last one was a bit of a bore fest (I mean no criticism of SA or Eng, it was just a forgetful match). It would be better for the fans and the players if both teams are able to contest, it means whoever wins deserves it on play, not just because they turned up.

    I also hope that the Aussies are able to lift their spirits, lick their wounds and give my team a match on Friday. I'm also hoping that the Welsh team are able to cover the big gaps left by Adam Jones and Sam Warburton to give the Aussies a contest.

    There should not be a one sided match in the finals.

  • Comment number 77.

    So, no criticism of the 10 man Rugby adopted by both teams today or the lack of ambition and back play in both semi-finals - one try in each. Or is it time to admit that forwards and great defence win games and when push comes to shove - push comes to shove?
    I for one applaud the team that grinds out a win just like NZ did today - penalties and drop-kicks were the difference but where is the free-flowing rugby?

  • Comment number 78.

    Noah

    Yes I agree would be great to see MS in your home comp, if I can call it that. That is exactly what MS need more competition against the bigger sides ...

  • Comment number 79.

    "TGG. Oh come on you know what I am saying."

    Yes, I do know what you're saying, it's just that you are wrong as I've pointed out.

    It benefits the Pacific Island nations more to play tests in NZ because the revenue they earn is higher than if the games were played in, say Apia. Don't forget that Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world. As you could see from the support from the likes of Tonga, games in NZ are defacto home games.

    NZ contributes massively to Pacific Island rugby by competing in regional tournaments not to mention supplying a large number (as many as 15) to the starting line ups of the likes of Samoa. These guys are born, raised and trained in NZ before representing their ancestral homelands, the majority play their rugby in either super rugby or northern hemisphere club sides. The way the international season is structured, they'd be very unlikely to be able to name strong sides for one off home tests.

    Get yourself down to NZ and check out what's going on before you crank up on some line you've learned from the predominantly mis-guided British press.

  • Comment number 80.

    Never rule the French out they always have a decent game in them and they have not had one this tournament. Now every New Zealander including the all blacks think all they need to do is turn up next week to win. I believe New Zealand are their own worse enemy can they overcome their arrogance and take a Northern Hemisphere side seriousily.

  • Comment number 81.

    @ 65

    Those may have been the rankings going into the World Cup this year but the draw was made back in 2008 and the rankings then were:

    South Africa (one), New Zealand (two), Argentina (three) and Australia (four)
    England (five), France (six), Ireland (seven) and Wales (eight)
    Fiji (nine), Scotland (10), Italy (11) and Tonga (12)

    With the 1-4, 5-8 and 9-12 being kept apart.

    Yes I agree our group was easier than some, we could have got Samoa instead of Canada, but Italy, Fiji and Tonga to the AB's should be comfortable games so you would have said our pool was easy anyway. Our pool this year could have had Scotland instead of Tonga, although I still think the AB's would have made it through unbeaten possibly with the Scots instead of the French.

    I still say its unlikely we will face Australia or South Africa in a pool match as we are all consistantly in the top 4 and if 1 did drop out there is still only a 25% chance we would draw them, that is if the IRB keep the same system to form pools.

  • Comment number 82.

    firebladefury, the point you fail to register is that the seedings for the pools are decided over a year out from the tournament, at this time 1 through 4 in the world were NZ, SA, AUS and ARG I believe. Then teams ranked 5 through 8 are added on top and 9 etc.. which Scotland were (9th), which meant they were added to England and Argentina. It's no one's fault, least of all NZ, that the rankings changed during the time between the tournament starting and the time the pools were decided.

    As what happens in tournaments, rankings mean diddly. Thanks to Ireland, NZ had to play either the 2nd or 3rd ranked team to make the final... and France, to whom rankings dont mean a thing..

    The system isn't perfect but I would hardly call it flawed. It promotes winning all your test matches outside of the world cup, therefore enabling your team to have a higher ranking leading to a supposedly easier pool.

    And just to add to the "systematic poaching", I also believe NZ easily provide more talent to the game than we take.
    Players aside, 3 of the 4 semi-finalists are coached by Kiwis, Japan, Canada have Kiwi coaches and numerous other nations have Kiwi support staff..

    South Africa have 2 Kiwis in head coach roles for their S15 clubs, I believe the T14 champs are Kiwi coached, also the Heinekin Cup champs to name a few..

  • Comment number 83.

    TGG

    I am in NZ and have been for the last 7 weeks. I am not going to be drawn into the where a player is born debate. Do you actually know how many times the ABs have played Fiji in the last 5 years???

    This is the problem with a lot of ABs fans you can't have a debate without them getting nasty or defensive. the NZRFU could and should be doing much much more for the PI nations .....as should the IRB.

    As I said my comments are based on wishing the sport I love growing currently you could ague that the sport is shrinking.....

  • Comment number 84.

    Waooooh !! I guess and I can see many people in britain will pray and wish France lose next sunday.
    Remind it, you always write off France and they beat New-zeland as much as all the 5 other North nations together in a century.
    France 9 times.... (England 6, Wales 3, Ireland 0, Scotland 0, Itally 0)
    Don't write them off too early !!
    Ils seront au rendez-vous. This, I le garantis, guys.
    And don't count your eggs before they are hatched. France love this situation !

  • Comment number 85.

    Churguys

    How many times have England played Georgia, Romainia or any other 2nd Tier European team outside of a world cup game in the past 5 years?

  • Comment number 86.

    Exactly my point we don't and we should I am glad you see my point.

  • Comment number 87.

    Churguys, it looks like you've just popped in to take a pop at NZ when you can't find anything else to have a go about. I bet you'd have been on here talking about how you expected NZ to choke if they'd lost today.

    The thing with you non-AB fans, is that you can't have a debate about an AB win without finding something to have a whine about. NZ play a stormer in the world cup, knock out Australia showing immense composure, playing at close quarters even when Dan Carter missing build a win through dominance and points accrual even managing to bang over that drop goal you've all been telling us we can't do, and now, NOW, you want to bring up some ludicrious argument about NZ not supporting the Islands enough? How often have the British sides played their 2nd tier or 3rd tier European neighbours? Spain? Portugal? Georgia, Romania? Russia? recently??

    NZ do plenty to support Island rugby, a damn sight more than England have done for any of the teams I've just mentioned.

    As far as expanding the game goes, we all know the RFU is sitting on all the cash. Why don't they do something to "expand the game" rather than subjecting us to more world cup games at Twickenham?

  • Comment number 88.

    kendal8ball: that's a fair comment re:free flowing rugby. Reality is, the ABs gameplan has evolved over the last 4 years to deal with another reality NZ rugby has had to painfully come to terms with - that you play high-risk all-out attack you'll get burned eventually.

    With that said, neither can I say NZ are playing 10 man rugby. Certainly not in the fashion Eng play. It's about mindset. Defence is a tool to create counter attack options. Tries from NZ may be harder to find in pressure cooker games. But when they do come they're usually gems. Like last night's one.

    Same attitude from Aust (and SA). First instinct is always search for space to attack.

  • Comment number 89.

    TGG and Leeds

    Your know you can't have it both ways. We are told continually that the NZ nation has the biggest PI population. That NZ has an affinity with the PI...not quite the same as in Britain we don't have the same affinity with Romania Georgia ..but I do think the home nations should play the european sides more...as I do the ABs should down here.

    I am not basing this on my nationality as you two are...And I do understand the demographic here in NZ my wife is a kiwi....

  • Comment number 90.

    To all those who call the All Blacks arrogant? Can you please explain yourselves? As I am sure you know them personally so it should make compelling reading listening to your enlightened opinions.
    To all of you complaining (read Brits here) that the cup should not have gone to NZ in the first place & should have gone to Japan for the greater good of the game, bla, bla. Who then is awarded the next RWC instead of Japan? Gosh, the UK, and all goes quiet on the whinging front again.
    People love to hate winners and whether you like it or not the AB's are winners. Yes, to all those people who thought rugby has only been played since 1987 that might come as a surprise but the fact remains, the AB's are consistently the best side on the planet and have been for decades. To add to this, they have played fast, entertaining rugby that has actually helped to make the game a hell of a lot more exciting than the game that was being played 30 years ago.
    The fact that a team such as this current French side has the chance to win the RWC clearly shows that it is not always the best team that wins a tournament and this is what makes it such compelling viewing. Let's hope for the Welsh sake that the best team does win this tournament as quite frankly such a insipid team as this French team is does not deserve to still be in this tournament.

  • Comment number 91.

    10 man rugby? I thought the outside backs saw a lot of ball today. It's true that NZ played a more percentages based game, but for entertainment value I thought there was a lot of slick back line skill on display. A marked improvement on the force back kick-a-thon's we witnessed in '07. In particular both sides were very positive in defence and we saw a very low penalty count partially through incredible accuracy on behalf of both defences but also through Craig Jouberts remarkable consistency and clear communication.

  • Comment number 92.

    TGG

    I have not said any of the things you accuse me of. So why you are attacking me I do not understand. You can be offensive as you like just adds to the many on here who have commented on the arrogance of the ABs fans.....

    Why you can't have a debate without being rude just escapes me. Read my posts I have been nothing but supportive of NZ and the way the RWC has been handled.....I feel sorry for you... you must be lonely....

  • Comment number 93.

    #30 - don't feel the need to defend poor little Quade, he haas quite deliberately sought the exact attention he now gets. There have been numerous articles where he has been quoted as "feeding off" the negative attention, and his cynical play at times also has the effect of painting a target on his own forehead.

    To those who are accusing the AB's of being cocky & arrogant, you are confusing the team with a selection of their supporters (the ones most likely to post inflammatory comments on messageboards). All teams have their dodgy supporters - are the England football teams all hooligans? This team, unlike the deer in headlights of '99/'03/'07, have got a quiet determination about them that is very reassuring. McCaw's first words post-match were about keeping their feet on the ground for next week. (while the French went out on the p*ss)

  • Comment number 94.

    Churguys, where are you from?
    I assume (always a silly idea) that you're from a large populated country with a large fan base which has lots of funding, sponsorship and easy access (by air, land and sea) to other neighbouring rugby playing nations? :)


    How many times has your nation played lower tier nations, Romania, Georgia, Portugal and the like in the last 5 years?

    Do you realise what GG is saying, the NZRU can do more financially to help the PI nations through playing them here, in NZ, in the worlds largest Polynesian city, than playing them in say Tonga for example, one of the poorest countries in the world?

    I wouldn't be so quick to categorise "a lot" of NZ fans as "nasty or defensive" either.. though many of us may agree with you, there are many more who know differently... and it's always a silly idea to assume.

    So where did you say you were from?

  • Comment number 95.

    Great performance from the lads - they dominated that game from the opening whistle and never looked rattled (unlike Quade...). Defining points for me were Kaino/McCaw/Read on defence (especially when Ioane made that great run and should have crashed over, until Kaino picked him up bodily, from behind, and carried him back 5m) and the assuredness & technique of the back 3 under the high balls. Just can't figure out why the Aussies kept putting them up when they were so clearly never going to get any of them back.

    Roll on next week!

  • Comment number 96.

    I agree with you the AB's should play more tests with the Pacific Islands. The biggest problem is that many of their test players play in Europe with the French clubs in particular not allowing players to be released for tests on the other side of the world during their season.

    Also back to one of your points waaaayyyy back about the World Cup should have been in Japan not NZ because it being held in NZ doesn't expand the game. I agree, but why then is the next world cup in England and not Japan? Why do the home nations get every second world cup and the rest of the world are treated as one?

    Living in the UK I don't mind the world cup being here every 2nd tournament I get to go to games. But I think the distribution of tournaments should be fair. Perhaps they could rotate them North and South like this (or similar)

    Europe
    Southern Africa
    North America
    Australisia
    Japan
    South America

    then its fairer for fans and it covers expansion

  • Comment number 97.

    Churguys, you do have a European Union where people can move freely between countries (granted not Romania or Georgia), but that sounds like a fairly high correlation on the affinity side of things. I live in London and I can tell you, there are more Europeans here than there are Polynesians in NZ.

  • Comment number 98.

    As to expanding the game this RWC should have gone to Japan as anyone who is not blinded by self interest knows.

    As for 2015 well I guess having the RWC in Europe where 6 of the top 10 teams come from is the rational it is a business after all.

  • Comment number 99.

    TGG

    So more Europeans in London. And so what?. If you live in London you will know very well that they is no where near the same affinity with Europe as exists in NZ for the PI nations. And to try and say anything other to stupid ....

  • Comment number 100.

    Well done the All Blacks! They played a fine match, and I'm happy to see them in the final. I don't for a moment think it will be a walkover, because when they're on song, the French are a dangerous team. And as they proved against England, they can have been putting in mediocre performances and then suddenly get into their stride without warning - they could easily do precisely that next week. I certainly wouldn't write them off.

    Two good teams ... if both play well it should be a dazzling final!

 

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