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Perfect symmetry of All Blacks success sparks NZ party

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Tom Fordyce | 14:14 UK time, Sunday, 23 October 2011

Eden Park, Auckland

Whichever bright spark decided to make the Monday after the World Cup final a public holiday in New Zealand deserves 4.4 million pats on the back.

After 24 years of false dawns and ghastly upsets, there will be no holding back. The All Blacks' nerve-shredding 8-7 win over France meant many things - palpitations from Whangarei to Wanaka, the noisiest party in Auckland's 170-year-old history, countless hungover headaches across the land - but as you looked around Eden Park late on Sunday night, camera-flashes twinkling among the black-clad thousands in the stands like stars in the night sky, one emotion dominated all others: an enormous, unmistakable sense of relief.

Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis trophy after the All Blacks finally ended their 24-year wait for further World Cup success. Picture: Getty

The ending was a happy one. But the plot nearly tore the old theatre apart.

The pre-match script had this as a stroll in the park, a coronation celebration where France's role was simply that of stooges and supplicants. Something must have got lost in translation.

To squeeze home by a single point in the biggest game for quarter of a century, having recently thrashed the same opposition by 20 points, is one thing. For the winning penalty to be kicked by a man who two weeks ago was spending his spare time fishing for whitebait, watching the odd All Blacks game from his sofa with a beer on the go, is quite another.

Substitutes have won big matches before. But Stephen Donald has taken that to exponential extremes - the replacement for the replacement for the replacement, winning a World Cup with his only place kick of the competition.

Very little of it made sense. For all the talk of dashing young backs and Piri Weepu's calming influence, the solitary try was scored by a grizzled prop who farms sheep in his spare time. While Tony Woodcock has never had a better night, Weepu has seldom had worse - missing three straightforward kicks in the first half before getting the heave-ho as panic spread all around.

Tense? It was excruciating, a rugby rollercoaster that carried everyone watching along with it.

Far from lying down to die, Marc Lievremont's divided team stepped up to deliver a performance that was a combination of so many Gallic clichés - flair and fight seemingly conjured from nowhere, 'Ils ne passeront pas' mixed with ' Je ne regrette rien', throwing everything they had at the cause and coming very, very close to pulling off the ultimate piece of party pooping.

From the moment they faced down the haka in arrowhead formation it was clear something was in the air.

Thierry Dusautoir led the advance then and continued the same way for the rest of the night, punching holes in the Kiwi defence, bringing down runners and wrapping up the feared All Blacks loose forwards just as he had in Cardiff four years ago.

His old back-row buddy Imanol Harinordoquy was equally immense, a magnet at the line-out and wrecking-ball at the breakdown.

Imanol Harinordoquy gave his all for France in a losing cause. Picture: AFP

Had Francois Trinh-Duc landed a long-range penalty with 15 minutes left, the unthinkable might have done for the unbeatables. Instead, sport's most illogical interregnum has finally come to an end.

The hiatus between New Zealand's win in the inaugural World Cup of 1987 and this triumph in the same stadium was one of the great gaps in sport, up there with Britain's wait for a male Wimbledon champion or France's for a home-grown winner of the Tour de France.

But British men haven't generally been ranked number one in the world over those 75 years, or French cyclists dominated every year since 1985 without claiming the yellow jersey.

The All Blacks have held the number one ranking for longer than every other nation combined. In World Cups they have scored 610 more points than anyone else and 93 more tries, won 37 matches (five more than the next most successful team) and are the only team to finish first in their pool at every single tournament.

It's been the same story at the 2011 version. They have been the most impressive team in this tournament by a distance, scoring 73 more points and 11 more tries than any other side, surmounting the loss through injury of star men Dan Carter and Mils Muliaina and then the two men called on to fill the fly-half hole.

At the heart of it all stood a captain and coach who will now go down in New Zealand sporting history.

Richie McCaw has played most of this World Cup on one leg, missing two group games with that injured metatarsal and being unable to train between the matches he did start. He was already held as the epitome of a certain Kiwi male archetype - uncomplaining, unyielding, strong and mainly silent - but in lifting the Webb Ellis trophy he has elevated himself to a new level of national adoration.

For Graham Henry the sight of the trophy being paraded round the pitch was especially poignant. During his spell in charge of Wales he was dubbed the 'Great Redeemer', but nothing he did back then comes close to the redemption he has experienced in the past few weeks.

Graham Henry crowned a stunningly successful eight-year reign as New Zealand coach by delivering the World Cup. Picture: Reuters

Four years ago he took the hot end of the nation's fury after France put his All Blacks out of the last World Cup, his reappointment as coach as controversial as they come.

There were times on Sunday night when he must have feared history was about to repeat itself in far crueller fashion. Had Trinh-Duc's radar been better calibrated then Henry's extraordinary winning ratio of 85% would again have been lost in the debris of a single defeat; instead he might even wake up on Monday with a small smile on his face.

For the country at large, the much-heralded "stadium of four million" that has had to deal with tragedy too often over the past two years, this World Cup win represents a chance to at last come together in celebration rather than mourning.

Can sport heal the wounds left by the Christchurch earthquake or the Pike River mining disaster? There is a world of difference between rugby and the real world. But when McCaw takes the Webb Ellis trophy down to his home province of Canterbury, as he certainly will this week, those who lost everything in the rubble eight months ago will know that they are not being left to do it on their own.

New Zealand's long wait for Sunday's success often made a nonsense of form and rugby reason. Yet there is perfect sporting symmetry in the All Blacks winning this World Cup in their own backyard.

Early starts and disappointing displays on and off the pitch have meant that the tournament has not made the same impact across the northern hemisphere as it has down south. But here in the heart of it, the talk has been of almost nothing else for the entire seven weeks, every front page and café conversation about tactics, tries and injury updates.

The nation most in love with rugby has claimed the sport's biggest prize in the competition it organised, paid for and obsessed over, after two years when there sometimes seemed little light left in the darkness.

Finally, the party is under way. None of us should complain about the noise.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    In the end though Tran Duc missing that pen in effect cost France...but well done to NZ in winning it. After all it's the last time the RWC will ever be in a small country like NZ and fitting end to an era of "classic" rugby.

  • Comment number 2.

    In the end, dare I say it, rugby was the winner on the day.

    And isn't rugby a great leveller? At the end of the match Piri was no longer God, Donald was no longer a womble, everyone was back on level ground.

    At last, the AB's learned how to play finals football. Next challenge - back-to-back championship wins...

  • Comment number 3.

    Bravo All Blacks !
    Bravo France !
    Thanks for this great match !

  • Comment number 4.

    Given Joubert's performance reffing France as if he had read all the media about them being rubbish and not reffing the reality that they were the increasingly dominant team, ABs are welcome the cup they would do absolutely anything to win.

  • Comment number 5.

    terrible ref, terrible ref...It is amazing at this level

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done New Zealand. Glad France didnt win. After Vincent Clerc's attempt at an oscar (SB;s tackle), they didnt deserve squat.
    Good to see an unbeaten side as champions.

  • Comment number 7.

    "those who lost everything in the rubble eight months ago will know that they are not being left to do it on their own. " but how much did it cost to put it on...I mean had London been ripped apart by a "dirty bomb" on 7/7 I would hop any Government wouldn't think about putting on the Olympics.

    It's good that NZ won it for them but they got the home advance precisely because they are NZ and the IRB want bigger countries to host in future.

  • Comment number 8.

    6....you welsh I guess? You claim Rolland was on our side in the semi....well today we have seen what a one sided ref is....Wales would have been thrashed by the ABs

  • Comment number 9.

    This has been a tournament marred by poor officiating.

    All 8 points scored by New Zealand came from penalties that they should not have had whilst the Kiwis committed dozens of unpunished infringements.

    Today France should have won.

    It is time that people recognised for all the Harlem globe trotter Kiwi backs moves there is a ball won by a player going off his feet at a ruck unpunished.

    The number 1 ranking is not really a true indicator of where sides are due to the Northern Hemisphere nations being in an earlier stage of development as a team to the Southern Hemisphere sides when they play the Autumn internationals.

    The World Cup is the tournament that teams build for and today in the final France were the better side. only the referee stood in the way of their attempts to spoil the Kiwi party.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's hard to blame Tran Duc for missing a long range penalty, and very noticeable that France were not awarded any within "easy" distance.
    On form throughout the tournament NZ deserved to win, but France were unlucky on the day.
    The IRB will probably be happy that NZ won a tournament they really shouldn't have been hosting.

  • Comment number 11.

    It was a fantastic final. Imanol Harinordoquy; possibly the greatest number 8 ever? He was unreal today as was Trinh-Duc when he came on. Makes you wonder why he didn't play every game at fly-half?

    Got to feel sorry for France, they got done a bit by the ref. Should have had penalties for two high tackles, all the decisions in the breakdown and the scrum went New Zealand's way. But ultimately, can't really begrudge New Zealand the win, no other country could have won the World Cup with their fourth choice number 10 in the final. Thats a fact.

  • Comment number 12.

    The french player were just superb, Imanol, Dusautoir, especially....What a great captain we have,

    wales next 6N winner? I do not think so

  • Comment number 13.

    NZ were the tournaments best team and played the best rugby and deserved to win the World Cup. If Weepu hadn't choked in traditional NZ style the win would have been more comfortable. It would have been a travesty if France had won it.

    In the end the final was a lot more exciting that it probably should have been but Ritchie McCaw is great Rugby captain and fully deserved to lift the trophy.

  • Comment number 14.

    Ref had a shocker, but on overall balance, NZ deserved it for their performance throughout the tournament.
    Not a great tournament by any stretch of the imagination, most games were pretty humdrum to watch. Scotland were guff, Wales overated, England stunk the place up, and Ireland were like an OAP day out. Not looking forward to the 6N.
    Laws need to change - did anybody else see the blantant crooked feeds from both sides?

    And finally, to all those bleating about McCaw and his command of the black arts - BRING BACK RUCKING. I think it was around the 60min mark when the NZ captain got a deserved shooing. Let the players sort these things out.

    anyway, well done NZ

  • Comment number 15.

    I never heard the French complaining about their ref last week. The best team of the competition won fair and square France got more than they deserved they lost two pool games, should have lost to England, the their ref making sure they got to the final. They are now complaining about the ref in the final!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    "Early starts and disappointing displays on and off the pitch have meant that the tournament has not made the same impact across the northern hemisphere as it has down south".

    Not in my name. I have really enjoyed the world cup and im not going to criticise England for going out in the QF because i came into the tournament with no expectations, hence i wasnt letdown. I hope Martin Johnson stays on. Clive Woodward and Graham Henry were given a second chance.

    I sky plused games that were on really early and watched them as live, Samoa v Fiji was a real treat. A brilliant tournament, enjoyed immensely by some up north.

  • Comment number 17.

    the ref was a joke,mcCaw no penalty for kneeing parra in the face,yes the face not the head,4-5 high tackles that meritted at least 2 penalties,50-50 calls to NZ.shame for france because they made the errors in the important moments,but honestly the wrong team won,but nz deserved it on the basis of the whole tournament.french wingers done absolutly nothing for the whole match.dusetoir ran the show for france,i wish england had a leader who has half as much courage,bravery,heart ,determination endurance as theirry because he is some player

    felt sorry for weepu,the star player for new zealand in the tournament but choked badly,my favourite player ma'a nonu failed to turn up,they got lucky and well done to them,my question is why didn't france play like this from day 1,if they did they would be world champions

    people who are still bitter about wales need to wake up,it was a correct decision and wales would of got obilerated in the final(last match against nz something like 33-3 at home).only france have the mental edge on NZ.congrats to new zealand now they HAVE to prove they can win the world cup elsewhere,other than eden park(the other 3 champions have won away)

    5 things i learned after the match
    1.new zealand cant win elsewhere
    2.referees always favour nz,home or away
    3.france are the best team in the northern hemishpere(maybe 3rd in the world after nz, and oz)
    4.ritchie McCaw could literrally get away with murder
    5.france are serious contenders for the world cup 2015

    R.I.P marco simoncelli,fabolous rider and talent,i shed more than a few tears when i heard and saw,horrible way to go

  • Comment number 18.

    Brilliant game, slightly dodgy ref, but I am glad the All Blacks won, because we all know they are the best team in the world.

  • Comment number 19.

    Joubert let the All Blacks get away with murder.

  • Comment number 20.

    15......nonsense, utter nonsense. You do not have a clue....Everything was made in order for the ABs to win this WC for the fairytale to have a great end. Everybody predicted they would win by 30 points today and when it did not happen, the ref made a string of very tough calls against us. The ABs were happily offside, tackling high, not releasing and sticking their hands everywhere, not to mention our last scrum under the post when they lifted up and that was a pen.
    Nonsense from you. All my english mates sent me messages today, telling me we were robbed and the ref was so blatantly helping the ABs....

  • Comment number 21.

    #15, sorry, it is about qualifying from the pool, not necessarily winning it.
    Also, it is the contributor's here making points about the decisions, not the French team. It was also noticable that Lawrence D in the commentary said more than once that NZ were getting every 50/50 decision.

  • Comment number 22.

    17...well said....and the ABs are the best team ever, but today let's say if they are the best, we were not far behind.

    sad news for simoncelli

  • Comment number 23.

    Well the ABs were definitely the best team in the whole tournament but it would have been nice to have seen a final played on something approaching a level playing field. Terrible officiating.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just saw the replay. McCaw leads with his fist in front of knee as Parra raises his head, completely vulnerable.

    ABs are welcome to the cup they believe they deserve. France proved otherwise today against 16.

  • Comment number 25.

    Your alias says it all J_Terry_Leader_Of_Men. Your knowledge of rugby appears from your comments to be very very limited. The point you make about crocked feed has been going on for years.

  • Comment number 26.

    Funny thing is that after 2007 when France beat NZ in the QF, there were hundreds of comments on BBC blogs about "NZ supporters whinging about biased refereeing" and people pointing out how they were bad losers.

    I am enjoying the irony....

  • Comment number 27.

    Pity NZ were given the title today by the ref instead of winning it. But then they played a team who should not have been in the finals.

    McCaws knee in the side of Para's head will need citing. Why the Ref did'nt stop the game when a player is down with a head injury was disgusting, and notably different to his actions when Crudon was so sadly injured

    I think the IRB needs to look very hard at itself.

  • Comment number 28.

    adrenilenepotato What a joke France complaining about the ref, is that because your man in the middle was only an assistant. France lost two group games and you say they are the third best in the world and best NH last time I looked England were 6N champions and France lost to Italy I am sure that was the 2011 ^ Nations.

  • Comment number 29.

    frenchguy needs a chill pill.
    The ref was consisntent today and is rightly the the number one referee.
    The french should have no regrets. Apart from beating England they were pants for most of the world cup. There are some french men that should take up acting. Sad for some of the french forwards who wont see another world cup.
    New Zealand worthy world champions.

  • Comment number 30.

    The big question for this world cup is who chose the ball? There were so many games decided by kickers performing below their ususal standard I can't believe it is anything but the ball. I think that for 2015 the ball should be known and available for the whole of the 2013-14 season. Then the Southern and Northern hemisphere nations could have had two seasons to get the feel of it.
    I also think that refs should have to consult other officials if they are minded to red card a player. It is still their decision, but it would cut down the debate afterwards.

  • Comment number 31.

    Great game by France and great to see their response to the Haka - outstanding and way up there with Wales in Cardiff in '09. Harinordiquay was MoM for me. Dominated the lineout and tireless in the loose

  • Comment number 32.

    FYI .........October 24th is always a public holiday in NZ.....Labour Day!

    A win is a win no matter how many points difference.....watched the game in France with French friends who were humble in defeat, even cracking open the champagne at the end of the match. Proud to be a Kiwi on this momentous occasion.

  • Comment number 33.

    Blah blah blah !
    I am french.
    France was great & probably the best side in this match !
    Considering all what AB brought to rugby & consistantly being the 1st rugby team in IRB ranking for ages, deserve 4 or 5 WC.
    Thanks to France & new Zealand for this great match !

  • Comment number 34.

    As a neutral I have to say the only thing to take from this WC final was how poor the ref was. He was dreadful, all the 50/50 decisions went in favour of the ABs. What a pity, once again in a WC final we saw the ref influence the result. This great game of rugby union is in danger of losing all credibility. The IRB must sort this out.

  • Comment number 35.

    While there is justice of a kind that the best team on the planet won the RWC, and well done to NZ for learning how to win pragmatically, I can't help but feel that the best team on the night were denied victory due to a referee who blew his whistle according to the hype and the pressure rather than events before him.

    NZ continually played at the wrong side of the laws at the breakdown, but were allowed to get away with it. In terms of time, a New Zealand second is obviously significantly longer than a French second according to the Joubert revision of Newton's law of not releasing. A New Zealand "gate" must be a very wide entry point indeed compared with the narrow Gallic back-foot channel, since RM and others ABs were able to enter the ruck from the side with alacrity. I entirely expect a new spec-savers ad based on Joubert inability to spot NZ playing the ball with hands in the ruck, high tackles and blocking the French runners. He was on the other hand very sharp in penalizing the French at first opportunity.

    I started the match wishing for a NZ win against the perfidious French. At the final whistle, my sense of fair play felt as battered and bruised as a world-cup outside half.

  • Comment number 36.

    On balance the best team over the whole tournament have gone home with the world cup, but the ref today was an absolute disgrace.

    Roland got slaughtered last week for a 50-50 call, this week the ref got a whole string of very clear decisions wrong. At least 4 blantant high tackles were missed, and the decisions at the breakdown were completely one sided.

    McCaw could easily have gone for the challenge on Parra as well, although in fairness he did prevent the player taking a knee to the head by leading with his fist.

  • Comment number 37.

    Richie Macaw would have had to decapitate a french player for the ref to give a penalty in the last 10 minutes.
    Other than that, a great final.
    Well done to France for turning up and proving everyone wrong
    Well done to NZ for finally winning and showing some mettle to go with the style.

  • Comment number 38.

    29 I do not need to respond to you, just read the other posts here....The ref was so biased, it was unbelievable.
    I believe that for the IRB there was no way the ABs could not win this WC.
    True, overall they deserve it....but on the day, the useless, hopeless French as we heard and read in the media, they gave them a lesson I thought

  • Comment number 39.

    I am Welsh through and through and I started this game wanting the French to lose because of last week (which was not their fault) but finished this game wanting them to win because they really tried to play most of the rugby and because the game was reffed so badly today. While I might complain about one poor decision Rolland made last week (a big one) today was littered with a whole series of small but ultimately significant poor decisions. I am not suggesting it was fixed but I'm afraid the occasion really got to him and he was literally scared of giving any significant decisions against the Blacks. I actually started to get a bit embarrassed as the game went on and almost started to feel sorry for him. The French (swallow hard) were so clearly the better side today and lost that game for one reason and one reason alone the referee.

    As to the 6N all I can say is bring it on. Wales might not win but I know they have a group of young players who if they stay together will be a real force in World rugby in a couple of years. England need a new coach - sadly they might get Edwards. Ireland will struggle as will Italy and poor old Scotland. And France well that depends of course on which France turn up .......... But I have tickets for the France game and I can't wait.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    32. Yes, I've had texts and emails from French friends congratulating NZ as well. Great to see this sort of spirit from real rugby supporters.

    Another classic episode in AB-France history. Just loved their Haka response - France really does understand what the Haka is about

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm glad the ABs won, they were the best team in the tournament and deserved it fully. But something has to be done about the refereeing. Bryce Lawrence ruined the Australia-South Africa QF, Rolland ruined the Wales-France SF, and now Joubert has made a right mess of the final. In the end it doesn't matter if the ref is right, he has to be SEEN to be right as well or people lose faith in the results. If these men are the best in the world then the IRB needs to spend some serious effort on improving the standard, and above all the consistency, of the referees.

  • Comment number 43.

    40. You're not Stephen Donald in disguise are you? :0)

  • Comment number 44.

    39.......Respect to you.....nice to read....
    You are right Rolland made one call that was controversial.....Joubert, well I lost count, I think that to the IRB, the rugby world, a NZ-France was an ideal final, with of course a NZ win. It is almost as if it was written....such a great story, isn't it?

  • Comment number 45.

    Well done the ABs, France were lucky to be in the final in the first place, so have no right to moan !

  • Comment number 46.

    To all those below who are excusing the French loss by reason of poor officiation and then sagely claiming that the All Blacks are unable to win the tournament away in the same breath, please cast your memories back to 6 October 2007, and a certain performance by Wayne Barnes. The All Blacks scored more points than France, thus winning the game. Enough said.

  • Comment number 47.

    41

    apart from France, I will always support the ABs, why? They just are the best....
    Another great game to remember. This one did not go our way, but we sure were close....Cannot wait for the next episode of the France-NZ saga in WC history, it has to be the most exciting rivalry in WC history with so many great games

  • Comment number 48.

    Joubert did seem to give NZ a bit more slack. 4 incidents of injuries spring to mind.

    1. In the first half when para went down after a knock to the head play was not stopped and they had to play with 14 while he was down recieving treatment.

    2. When the NZ #10 did his knee, play was stopped while he was reciving treatment and they brought on a substitute.

    3. The French prop was recieving treatment for another head/neck injury and they got penalised for delaying the linout.

    4. In th last 5 mins, McCaw was injured in a ruck. Play was stopped and even though the clock was also stopped he was given plenty of time to recover.


    However NZ still had to go out and win the game and cannot be blamed for the refs decisions so Fair play to them.

  • Comment number 49.

    As a corollary to my post at #35, it does seem significant that the referee did not give any penalties against NZ in their half (well one, 1m inside), even though France bossed possession and territory, especially in the second half. He only gave penalties against NZ well out of harm's way in terms of field position. The more disciplined French on the other hand were pinged regularly within kicking distance. A basic actuarial analysis based on possession and territory would show that the French should have been awarded more kickable penalties, and the game that unfolded backed the math!

  • Comment number 50.

    Anyone want to give me odds on when a match fixing international rugby scandal breaks? Just like cricket, I think it is just a matter of time.

  • Comment number 51.

    As a neutral, I didnt get sucked into Dallies biased commentary. There was one poor decision on scrumming (for the ABs), the high tackles were debatable, even with some French acting, and overall the decisions were consistent. The ABs missed several kicks, and France crucially one main one.
    The record books show a deserved AB win. France can go home proud of the way that they played, but also remember that they were lucky (not me, the french captain 's words) to be in the final. Chill pills at the ready.

  • Comment number 52.

    we showed in the final what we deserved to be there, I do not care about the defeat to Tonga and the semi final. When it mattered we were there, and I believe we gave this AB team the best contest possible. I am certain Wales would have been thrashed today. We are proud, we are a great rugby nation, over the last 30 yrs probably the best northern team, the only thing missing is that WC win, but it will come I am sure of that.

    by the way Dallaglio is pro french now???? that is news to me lol

  • Comment number 53.

    HAHAHAHAHA!!! I am enjoying the great irony!! When some of us All Black supporters complained about the useless ref in the semi final game against France in 2007, we were castigated as labeled as bad losers. Now the ABs win today, and everyone says it's because of bad officiating. Sore losers much??? HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    35+49 - me thinks you are very right! The 'NZ can do no wrong' attitude of the refs is evident to all but 'those who cannot see'! However, I think the ABs have had there fair share of bad decisions in recent RWCs, especially at crucial 'four more years!' moments! The shouting and the demonising is always plentifull on these comment pages (and the rugby forums make even more lively reading), but in the mist and haze of history the ABs will be viewed as deserved winners, that's all that really matters for now - especially for ALL New Zealanders - enjoy every minute of 'life without the monkey'!!

  • Comment number 55.

    joubert was the best ref in the tournament, however he had a stinker today. France were the better side but the ref won it for nz. Several dangerous head high tackles ignored by the officials, honestly u could not make it up. Last week their defenders were banging on about player safety etc etc, this week, dangerous tackles completely ignored. Unfortunately the winners of the tournament have been decided by how a ref feels like reffing on the day. VERY POOR, but will be ignored by the IRB

  • Comment number 56.

    Congratulations to the ABs,they were the best team in the whole tournament and to the people of New Zealand for putting on a wonderful World Cup after what you've been through this year,it looked absolutely fabulous on TV.Sad that my home country loss but proud that they finally rose to the occasion after all the shambolicness and embarrassment of the last few weeks and restored honour and dignity.its all we asked for regardless of the result so merci les bleus.
    As for the ref I can see this argument going on til the sheep come home but its over the ABs won and lets salute and respect the new world champions.All this nonsense about the haka us french have got the highest regard and respect for what rugby means to the people of New Zealand and their traditions and customs.What the french did added drama and spice to the occasion isn't that what we wanted.
    To the big cheeses at the BBC break the bank to bring the 2015 WC to the BBC,its where it belongs not on ITV the less said the better Philippe/Essex

  • Comment number 57.

    52, chill pill hasnt kicked in yet?
    Dally was trying to wind up Fitzy and Pienaar, as the ABs were expected to win by 15 to 20. Does 37 to 17 remind you of anything?
    Apart from the ball, the lighting , the earthquake affected ground and the referee, anything else to bleat about.
    The WOrld Champions New Zealand managed to overcome all of these and playing their 4th choice fly half. Well done to the ABs.

  • Comment number 58.

    I refuse to feel sorry for the French. How can you feel sorry for anyone living in that wonderful country?

    Talk of IRB conspiracies is asinine. Does anyone really believe the IRB and/or the refs got together in a minuted meeting to formulate how to guarantee an AB's win?

  • Comment number 59.

    I wonder if those people who say Wales would have been thrashed by the ABs were also expecting France to get hammered today as well? Because they didn't did they?

  • Comment number 60.

    59....no because only France can bring this game to the table against the ABs.

    Wales with no experience at this level could not have competed as well as the French

  • Comment number 61.

    51 I'm afraid as a neutral and not a fan of 'Dallies' I thought he got it spot on today. AB's clearly the best team in the RWC but they did not deserve to win today. You could argue the Welsh were ultimately the masters of their own downfall but it was not a level playing field today. Have a look around at the blogging sites and 90% of neutrals are saying the game was very poorly reffed.

  • Comment number 62.

    60 - have you thought of therapy? You need to get over just beating a 14 man Wales by one point. Sorry, I should not have said one point. Dont you just hate one point thrashings!

  • Comment number 63.

    57 come on you are welsh right? I do not need a pill, it is only a game, I have a life.
    The final was there for everyone to see, if you know your rugby, you have to say the ref had a terrible game.
    Yes over the course of the tournament the ABs deserved it, on the day....no
    The french today were at the same level as the blacks, had this game not be played in NZ, with the huge public expectations and the media hype surrounding the game (how the mighty ABs will win by 40 points), the results would have been different

  • Comment number 64.

    What a shame. France were so unlucky due to a large extent to very poor refereeing. Why can ABs be allowed constantly to get away with foul play, at the breakdown and in deliberately injuring the opposition. I remember a few years ago David Rees scoring a wonderful try at Twickenham in the right hand corner. His reward? A knee in the face disgracefully late by AB flanker who hadn't even tackled him. He lost four teeth and was concussed for the rest of the match which England drew. Now Saint Richie knees Parra in the face again not as the tackler and puts him out of the game. How I wish Trinh Duc had won the game to serve him right. Wasn't Quade Cooper pilloried for doing the same to McCaw? One law for ABs and one law for the rest. No, John Kirwan, Rugby was not the winner when play like that is not penalised.

  • Comment number 65.

    Another boring game played in the middle 50 yards of the pitch. The game is being ruined by tactics. What happened to try scoring?

  • Comment number 66.

    yes you are welsh then.....Wales lost...because of welsh mistakes
    France lost because of the ref mistakes, there is a difference there

  • Comment number 67.

    Am a true England fan but must say the French team were fantastic today and deserved to win.Sympathy and the ref were a little biased to the AB´s.Too many cheap shots commited against France to say it was a fair game.France, you won my respect today.

  • Comment number 68.

    66 = buy and take some more pills.
    adieu for now, as I may be adding to your angst.
    I think that I have made my point ,,, oops sorry for the point quip!

  • Comment number 69.

    @15: Why should they have lost to England? England were utter crap, both on and off the pitch. If the Scotland squad had been jumping off ferries and going for nights out, I'd be embarrassed.

  • Comment number 70.

    66....go away, it is clear you are wrong.....read the other comments.

    Cant wait to thrash you properly next year, and not by a point....what is it 2 wins for wales in the last 12.....yeah, we are so scared of the mighty welsh, the only team I fear in the 6N is England, our only decent opponent over the yrs

  • Comment number 71.

    @56 - The BBC kind of have a reputation for buying sports events from ITV, and then selling them so no-one can watch them...

  • Comment number 72.

    @70 - I think Scotland will be a challenge. We'll have everything to prove, I mean, look at Paris earlier this year, we really took the game to you, and could have won with a couple of refereeing decisions going our way, like they did for the ABs today.

    But that's an argument for next year, can't wait to see Rugby back on our screens!

  • Comment number 73.

    Over the balance of the last 44 days, the right team won though France finally turned up today and probably should have won this morning but...

    You don't always get what you deserve in Sport - Just ask Wales. Ultimately the French ran out of luck, a bit like England did four years ago.

    I agree with sentiments above, Joubert had a shocker, letting McCaw and Co get up to their usual tricks in the loose...But Trin Duc had his chances, great in open play but those missed kicks will haunt him.. such pressure!

    To be fair, the AB's dug deep to win today but didn't look anything special, especially when they came under pressure, hanging on grimly in the second half to squeeze home with out offering anything much going forwards.

    One thing I won't miss is ITV's commentary, banging on about 24 years of hurt - they were nearly as biased as the referee. Nobody has a right to win the WC and that includes NZ - its all about who turns up and deals with the pressure on the day and they have been found wanting in the past.

    The most amusing spectacle was seeing Donald coming on wearing a shirt he must have had nicked off a kid in the crowd - it was way too small, displaying vast areas of stomach and waist which summed up the dire situation NZ found themselves in amidst their Fly Half WC nightmare. Fair play to him for slotting the winning points - a great fairytale to tell the grandchildren

    Hopefully England will have its house in order in four years time after a truly forgettable tourney ( I won't put my house on it though). 1 NH win since 1987 is a far worse record to deal with than the 'Monkey' the AB's have had. One other request - Better reffing in 2015 please.

    To end with - Penny for French thoughts though, written off and coming so close this morning.. they took on the AB's, the Ref and the Crowd and came so close. For them, a nation with a pedegree that deserves a World Cup Final Victory, the wait goes on.

  • Comment number 74.

    What's all this garbage about the All Blacks deserving it because they played the best rugby throughout the tournament? Let's face it, each of the major nations have three important games to win if they want to win the World Cup, namely the quarter-final, the semi and the final. They trot through the pool games and are calibrated to peak for these three games. France knew they would get out of their group second behind the All Blacks (admittedly they forgot to break into a trot against Tonga) and play England in the quarters, followed by whoever in the semis then the AB's again in the final. It's exactly what happened and they very nearly overturned New Zealand.
    This way of managing a competition is built into the French rugby mentality because because French domestic rugby is set up in a similar way to the World Cup. The big clubs; Toulouse, Perpignan, Clermont-Ferrand are only concerned with getting to the play-offs and consequently, occasionally get beaten by lesser teams during the pool stage. But once in the play-offs, they play hard-nosed knock-out rugby. The team that wins the final is the champion. No points for artistic impression, or playing the most attractive rugby in the pool matches.
    But Joubert did help the AB's. In the rucks the New Zealand players were given time to roll away from the tackle or get their hands off the ball, but not the French. They were sanctioned immediately. They weren't even given time to translate the ref's instructions. It was blatant, particularly in the second-half during which France were penalised more often than NZ despite being continually on the front foot. This is very rare in international rugby.
    But Joubert's chef d'oeuvre was his penalising France for time wasting. The team behind on points time wasting!

  • Comment number 75.

    72 yeah to be honest, the problem with the French is that sometimes they just cannot be bothered to play...Italy, Tonga, I mean those were horrendous games.
    But when they can be bothered, they are just awesome, today was immense I thought. Dusautoir, well what a captain, what a game they all had, so proud of them. I think today we gained back a lot of respect from the true lovers of this great game.

  • Comment number 76.

    The organisation and refereeing in this tournament has been diabolical.

    It seems that in Test rugby the team that wins is not the best team, but the one that gets the benefit of whichever rules the referee decides he is enforcing that day.

    You have to wonder if the XV game can move forwards.

    I have just done a refereeing course and was shocked by the large number of infringements that we are supposed to pick up on that Test players get away with all of the time.

    The refereeing is a real and serious problem for the game.

    France absolutely deserved to win, the refereeing was a horror show. Joubert should be ashamed of himself.

    The All Blacks did not deserve to win it. I honestly feel sick with the game right now. If this is the highest level, there is a serious problem.

    Joubert should be ashamed of himself.

    I lost count of the high tackles, offside and breakdown infringements by New Zealand. As Lievremont said France are actually a very clean team. New Zealand are just filthy.

    France should be proud of themselves, they would have been worthy winners.

    As for NZ, they are the least deserving team ever to win the World Cup. They gave themselves 24 days to play 4 group games compared to 19 for Canada who were also in their group. Wasn't home advantage enough?

    Worthy winners? What a laugh.

    New Zealand may be celebrating, but no-one else is.

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    Goodness me. Normally I wouldn't get into this banter, but reading through some of these comments I have to put in my two cents.

    I'm amazed how influenced people have been by the ITV commentary. Sure there were some 50/50 calls that went the All Black's way, but there were also some that went the other way. It comes back to the same old argument - play to the whistle. Was Joubert penalising one side for an offence that he was allowing the other side to get away with? If so, I didn't see it.

    One thing I found bizarre was when the ref allowed the game to play on with an injured player on the pitch, and when he didn't. I really couldn't see his logic. I also couldn't see why Parra could be replaced, then come back on, but maybe the blood replacement rules have changed and you don't need to be bleeding anymore. I don't know.

    We all know that big decisions by the ref can decide a game, but I don't think Joubert did this. It's all swings and roundabouts, and the best team won on the day.

  • Comment number 79.

    This was a very poor World Cup. I hope the IRB do a performance review.

    Shocking tournament with a shambolic finale.

  • Comment number 80.

    It was interesting to see the AB's employing 'northern hemisphere' style rugby to make sure they win........
    'Running rugby for show, forward rugby for dough' a mantra that has taken 24 years for them to learn.

  • Comment number 81.

    Don't understand the comments that the contest shouldn't have been held in NZ. One of the most fervent of rugby pklaying nations so what's wrong with that? Consistent refereering has become an issue (I accept it is 8l**dy difficult) so perhaps better guidelines need to be issued by the IRB on the use of the TV official -without every decision being challenged. Yes I'm Welsh so am conscious of the "missed" Hook kick and the gut reaction of the ref to the Warburton tackle. (but how can Warburton be sent off for a tackle that resulted in Clerk landing on his back and shoulders but when two Aussies hit Shane Williams with little attempt to hold him causing him to land in a very similar manner on his back and shoulders no offense was committed?)
    As to the french comments that the ABs would have anihalated the Welsh just remind the poster that the French only just beat Wales with a player advantage for two thirds of the game.
    All in all I thought it was a good tournament - albeit with a few lessons to be learned for future games

  • Comment number 82.

    76......well I feel NZ had to win, no other way....Shamed they needed some help from the ref because yes ultimately they are a great rugby nation....Joubert, well....how come we did not get more penalties.... I am no rugby ref...but it was so obvious, they need to sort out reffing, big time

  • Comment number 83.

    "the best team won on the day."

    err.. no they didn't!

  • Comment number 84.

    Daylight robbery - the best team most definitely lost on the day - from the ITV coverage you'd be forgiven for thinking the French weren't there at all - also not a single mention from McCaw or Henry congratulating the French post-match - blinding arrogance. All Rugby media should be forced to re-watch the game and question their pre-match tripe about NZ superiority.

  • Comment number 85.

    84.....yeah I was surprised by the AB reactions, not a word towards the French...I mean at least acknowledge your opponents, especially when they pushed you to the limit

  • Comment number 86.

    Boring final. Watch 2008 NZ v Aus Rugby League World Cup Final if you want excitement.

  • Comment number 87.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the RWC as a whole and thought this mornings game was entertaining (even if low scoring!), on the evidence of the whole of the WC the AB's should have been (deserving) winners. However winning a RWC is all about the final and I can't help but think the better team lost today, regardless of their performances in the pool stages France showed that they have the quality (if not the consistency) to compete with the best.

    Joubert who is usually a very good referee (and deserving of officiating the final as the best ref in the tournament) had an absolute shocker today! He made some very interesting decisions (peanalising the French line-out when the hooker was getting treatment), High tackles and his scrum time management was poor. I do feel he handed the victory to the AB's which is a shame because I would have loved to watch them get the Webb-Ellis after a real champions display!

    Overall though I think this RWC has shown that the IRB has done a good job at funding lower teir nations and that the gap is closing and therefore the future of our games looks exciting. Bring on a couple of competetive 6 nations and then a Lions tour (always something that excites me!)

  • Comment number 88.

    There does seem to be a general consensus in this thread that may be summarized as well done to NZ for winning the RWC, probably deserved based on overall accomplishments, and definitely deserved had the winner been decided on a league system. But since it was based on a knock-out system, NZ were second best today and Fance were denied, in my view, by subtle refereeing inconsistencies that inevitably led to a NZ victory.

    I have to say that I was reminded of André Watson's performance in the England v Australia final in 2003, when the referee continually penalised the superior English scrum. Luckily, on that occasion, England were sufficiently superior to Australia to carve out a win. What is it with SA referee's in southern hemisphere finals? Ah! I think I may have answered my own question.

  • Comment number 89.

    I think the one thing that we've learnt from this absolute shambles of a World Cup, is that the Six Nations is going to be extremely tight, [and probably a lot better] which is a good thing to look forward to.

  • Comment number 90.

    Also the team that finishes top will be the deserving one, without question.

  • Comment number 91.

    It's really comforting to feel that future refereeing will be in the hands of someone like ScotsSevensNutjob (76 and 79), who sees conspiracy everywhere, regards the tournament as "shocking", reckons that NZ schedule their matches rather than the IRB, and believes that no-one but the Kiwis will be celebrating today's win.

    I'm not a Kiwi, and I'M celebrating. The All Blacks were the best side in the tournament, and have been the best in the world for years. In what way does that make them the "least deserving" winners of the cup? France have been wretched for most of the competition, with the exception of a dynamic spell against England, and a magnificent performance today.

    A few of Joubert's calls may have been tough on them, but, as I'm sure ScotsSevensNutjob is finding, refereeing is an imperfect science. You don't have to be in the pay of Graham Henry to get a few calls wrong.

    The idea that somehow this French side commands, or merits, the moral high ground is stretching it a bit. The Blacks deserved the cup, and well done to them. I now look forward to a feisty Six Nations - plenty of scores to settle all over the group....

  • Comment number 92.

    Is it over at last?
    12 weeks of mind numbing mud wrestling, how long can 4 half decent sides drag a tournament out for?
    ITV should invest in and televise midget throwing, England have some decent players apparently.

  • Comment number 93.

    #92

    Are English midgets favoured by short-sighted referees?

  • Comment number 94.

    Credit to the All Blacks for their efforts throughout the tournament and well played France for doing what everyone knew was possible - putting in a performance totally at odds with what they have done the last 6 weeks! For all those complaining about the referee, leave that to ill-informed, bitter footbal fans. Rugby deserves better and hopefully where lessons need to be learned from some of the decision-making throughout all the games then in can be done in the right manner; not by accusations of bias undermining the achievements of the New Zealand rugby team.

  • Comment number 95.

    All I can say as a Frenchman is that I am glad to see the French team finally turn up for a match.

    Biased referee? Maybe due to the pressure on the day but have you seen a soccer match lately? All in all he got 95% of the decisions right, that's not too bad, no?

    Overall a good match and I am proud of my team. They lost? So what, they played like winners to me and that's all that matter. I just hope they can keep their new-found spirit together for the 6N and if Wales can keep theirs, it should make for an epic game.

    This tournament did show something though. The South hemisphere does hold any superiority over the north anymore.

  • Comment number 96.

    Just because NZ played the best rugby throughout the tournament doesn't mean they deserved to win the final. The French were superior today, Macaw got away with murder as always! what is that about? The ref was a nightmare wake up IRB...games like this are killing the RWC!
    High tackles??? legal in Black! Wales would have beaten both these sides.........Looking forward to the Six Nations for some decent refereeing!

  • Comment number 97.

    Fabulous article, really sums it all up, from a very happy and emotional kiwi living in london. What a fantastic day but if ever there was a day to feel homesick its today!

  • Comment number 98.

    If it wasn't good enough to see France lose by a solitary, agonizing point in the final, some of the comments on here whinging about the referee, or the "best" team losing make it all the more delicious. France, were a joke throughout the tournament and beyond lucky to even reach the knock-out stages. When they finally brought their best game, it still wasn't good enough. Glad that the best team of the tournament, and on the night, won and hope they enjoy their party - they thoroughly deserve it.

  • Comment number 99.

    98

    yes glad you are pleased, at least we were there....France was great today, and we are proud of them,

  • Comment number 100.

    Today France played the better rugby but the better team won and no team which loses two games in this competition deserves to be World Champions. France had a good game today because they had nothing to lose and the ABs were oh so tense but overall France were a disgrace and only made it to the final courtesy of a shocking decision by the referee in the semi-final.

 

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