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Rob Hodgetts

New Zealand v France player ratings (107)

Cardiff - What a night! Two shocks in one day is too much to take. Anyway, here are my ratings for France's quarter-final against New Zealand.

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts!

NEW ZEALAND

Leon MacDonald - A bit of a stodgy old game with very little devil emanating from the back. Defending must also be questioned. 5.

Joe Rokocoko - Like his wing partner Sivivatu, found the wide open spaces closed off and had to settle for a couple of half chances. 6.

Mils Muliaina - Strong, combative and a handful every time he got the ball. Made some good breaks early on but faded a bit as the game went on. 7.

Luke McAlister - Midfield menace personified. Always dangerous and took his try well, though marred day by sin-binning for taking out a man off the ball. 8.

Sitiveni Sivivatu - Not all that much chance to impress. Came off his wing for work but shackled well by France and a brooding, if ultimately sterile, presence. 5.


Dan Carter barks out instructions to his team-mates


Dan Carter - The boy wonder is only human after all. Some lovely pick-ups and defended OK but kicking out of hand was badly awry. Limped off after 55 minutes. 5.

Byron Kelleher - All hustle and bustle and made a good barrelling run in the second half. Assured if uninspiring. Replaced by Leonard on 56 minutes. 6.

Tony Woodcock - Another perfectly acceptable scrummaging effort and combative in loose. 6.

Anton Oliver - A pugnacious presence around the park. His rapier-like throwing found his man more often than not. 7.

Carl Hayman - Solid effort from the veteran scrummager and an impressive work ethic but not too much chance to make a difference. 6.

Keith Robinson - Taken off for Chris Jack after 49 minutes. Industrious but overshadowed. 5.

Ali Williams - The stand-out individual on the paddock. A complete nuisance in the line-out, winning way more than his own share of the ball. Fiery in the loose and almost scored in left corner. Always motivating. 8.

Jerry Collins - Virtually everywhere and gave his all, including a clearance kick. Linked well for McAlister try. Replaced by Masoe late on. 7.

Richie McCaw - The beating heart of all New Zealand’s close-quarter work but indiscipline gave away a couple of penalties and by his standards has had better days in silver and black. 6.

Rodney So’oialo - Seemed to be involved in everything and linked well with backs. Industry resulted in New Zealand’s second try. 7.

Replacements:

Chris Jack - On for Robinson early in second half. Threw his all into it but to little effect. 5.

Chris Masoe - Replaced Jerry Collins on 65 minutes. Not much time to alter things. 5.

Brendon Leonard - A bristling character and added a bit of momentum when replaced Kelleher. 6.

Nick Evans - A spiky presence when he came on for Carter and nearly through after one devastating break but went off injured with 10 minutes left. 6.

Isaia Toeava Replaced the injured Evans on 71 minutes. Not long enough to earn a mark.

FRANCE

Damien Traille - Did the job he was selected for at full-back – siege-gun kicks. Missed an early drop-goal but possessed latent threat when the ball was in his hands. 7.

Vincent Clerc - Performed bravely under a succession of high balls and stout in defence including two try-saving tackles. Kicking from hands was a touch long but otherwise an accomplished day despite no real breaks. 7.

David Marty - Largely shackled by a brickwall Kiwi midfield and let through opposite number a couple of times in first half but kept plugging away and contributed to team effort. 6.


Yannick Jauzion gets a hug after scoring the match-winning try for France

Yannick Jauzion - Made some big hits early on and finished off try well after Michalak’s break. Imposed himself well but McAlister’s score must rankle. 7.

Cedric Heymans - Called off wing often early on to provide length with left boot. His hack through almost resulted in a try and was eager for work. 7.

Lionel Beauxis - Spent a lot of time looking exhausted and hang-dog expression failed to ignite backline. Slotted three kicks but hoisted a dodgy up-and-under and left France a better side when replaced by Michalak on 67 minutes. 5.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde - Not his best day with the boot but a live-wire presence behind his scrum and kept the side moving. 7.

Olivier Milloud - Some muscular stuff early on but stayed off at half-time. Replaced by Jean-Baptiste Poux. 6.

Raphael Ibanez - The skipper did all the basics well and got through his share of work. Replaced by Szarzewski on 52 minutes with a job well done. 7.

Pieter de Villiers - Tackled everything that moved in a silver shirt, sometimes twice in one go. A bullocking prop forward effort, not at all disgraced in the scrum. 7.

Fabien Pelous - The old stager was at the engine room of the French breakdown and put in hit after hit, combined with some good takes in the line-out. Replaced by Chabal on 51 minutes. 7.

Jerome Thion - Worked hard alongside partner Pelous and spent much of the game grafting with his head down. An unsung player, though over-looked in the line-out. 7.

Serge Betsen - Stayed down for a long time after big hit on Rokocoko and limped off in a daze after five minutes. Bit unfair to give him a mark.

Thierry Dusautoir - Held his own with the great McCaw and rounded off a superb French move for a try. Integral part of a formidable French back row. 8.

Julien Bonnaire - Immense for France. The number one line-out jumper, at least early on, and able to pop up all over the park time and again. Defence, like his team-mates, full of commitment. 8.

Replacements:

Dimitri Szarzewski - Replaced Ibanez on 52 minutes, hit his jumpers and generally got in the faces of the Kiwis. Stout defence at the end. 7.

Jean-Baptiste Poux - On for Milloud at half time. Carried on his good work. 7.

Sebastien Chabal - Raised a huge cheer and brought the crowd to life when he replaced Pelous after 52 minutes. Stole some crucial ball and defended like a lion late on. 7.

Imanol Harinordoquy - Came on for Betsen after five minutes and played a pivotal role. Caught plenty of line-out ball and went close to a score in the second-half. In the thick of the rearguard defensive action. 7.

Frederic Michalak - The enigma was saved for a 68-minute appearance but what an entry. He’d been on for barely a minute when his opportunistic break set up Jauzion’s try. Would have been an 8 but he almost blew it when he opted for a cross-field clearance at the death, handing the Kiwis a second chance. 7.

Christophe Dominci - Snuck on for Heymans on 69 minutes though not much chance to weave his magic. 6.

Rob Hodgetts is a BBC Sport journalist based in London.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:09 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • chris b wrote:

So the all blacks are human after all, falling the first time they had serious opposition. They were desperately unlucky but then good teams ultimately make their own luck. Still they seemed to lack ideas after the unfortunate injuries to carter, kelleher and evans.

Unbeliveable defensive effort from the french tho. And is it just me or did the New Zealanders knock the ball on in a tackle in the run up to their 2nd try? that would balance out the 'forward pass' in the 2nd French effort.

  • 2.
  • At 08:12 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Pretty much accurate, though the result does influence ratings a tad much on this site.

If Mortlock had kicked a penalty, if someone knew how to construct a drop goal attempt ... then one teams marks would go up one and the others would then go down two.

If only Lauaki had been the impact forward reserve he was picked in the squad to be (and brought in when his two week suspension was overturned as John Kirwan said).

I hope I never see AB's in grey teeshirts again.

PS Barnes will not be there to save France in Paris.

Oh joy!

  • 4.
  • At 08:45 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • PaulFSouthon wrote:

Saw both the games on TV and have read all the reports including the ratings, but one thing missing, not a comment nor ratings on the two referees? I thought that they were both immense, played significant parts in both games and deserve very high ratings?

  • 5.
  • At 08:47 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

The choker thing is probably going to come up.

The AB style is not suited to knockout games. The intensity of the game at the breakdown and that of defences is up a notch and there is less opportunity for an expansive game. Also the pressure of trying to play an open game in that environment is greater. Thus mental tiredness plays a role.

In this game France played to survive the AB assault. Then with the AB having fired their shots the French, who had kept their own powder dry, saved their attack to when the AB's were in the pressure of a competitive match (for the first time in the tournament) - down to 14 men.

The AB's were too impatient trying to overplay the game (make all the pace). They also need to know how to construct a drop goal attempt and resort to it to win a game. In World Cups, it's the winning that counts.

The more conservative northern style is better suited to World Cups. The SH teams have the style - like Brazil in football, but the better winning record belong to Germany.

  • 6.
  • At 08:50 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • BrucieB wrote:

You missed out the other man on the park, so herewith a rating for the REF: called couple of 50/50 penalties early against AB's, then gave none such against France (esp late on when at least 2 offences close to the line were missed). Harshly sent off McAlister when a penalty and warning would have sufficed. Called two line-balls forward from ABs, but completely (along with linesman, who was right there in line at the time) missed the crucial and clearly forward pass in the sprint for France's winning try. Overall rating: 3.

  • 7.
  • At 09:31 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • cashead wrote:

In this case the ref should get -10. Debatable sinbinning of McAlister and a failure to pick up a blatant forward pass that knocked the All Blacks out of the cup. They didn't choke, they were robbed.

  • 8.
  • At 09:43 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • kwesi wrote:

interesting that you can give pretty much the entire french team 7s for that stellar performance, and laud the ugly english win by awarding the english players 8s and 9s. Where's your objectivity fellas?

  • 9.
  • At 09:44 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • John MacCormick wrote:

The French won on the day, but their individual players weren't better than the ABs as your ratings suggest. If they were so much better, the stats wouldn't say 73% posession and 60%+ territory. ABs inability to turn that posession into points is an indictment of their leadership and the decision taking of their inside backs - but their forwards don't deserve to rate below the French.

  • 10.
  • At 09:54 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Thomas Keenan wrote:

So, according to an Australian fan whose name escapes me, Six Nations Rugby is dead ?! Looking at Yesterdays two quarter finals maybe not. Good luck to England or France in the Final. Tom(Ireland)

  • 11.
  • At 09:59 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • tanc wrote:

no complaints here but if England were in the NZ position after 70 mins i reckon they would have won. a jonny drop goal again, boring but it would have won them the game and NZ had plenty of oppourtunities for one before the McAlistair one went short and wide.

  • 12.
  • At 10:02 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Alexandre wrote:

What a day and night !

It reminds me when France won against Brazil last year in semi-final. Not favorite before the match, but they wanted it more.

We give a appointement to our best enemy in a week.

At least, a european team will be in final for sure. North etmispher is not dead !

David (from France)

  • 13.
  • At 10:11 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Bottle - that what big games boil down to and the Kiwi's and Aussies didn't step up to the plate.

14 KIWI's missing in Cardiff !!

It was clear to see in Cardiff that New Zeland were by far the better team and what a coupe Luke McCallister will be for Sale and the Premiership.

But the All Blacks didn't have the bottle to exert their dominace. Richie McCaw went missing in THE game he had to show why he was the best forward in world rugby.

Perhaps Eric Cantona was right all those years back in Southampton - you can't be seen with a grey kit on, 14 of the All Greys went missing last night

  • 14.
  • At 10:15 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Peter singleton wrote:

I had a feeling that the the All Blacks might be vulnerable, and so it proved. They had periods in the game where they seemed irresistable but then in between they had periods of drift, the odd error and some examples of the kind of blatant, cynical foul play that does them no credit. Fortunately there was a good referee who rightly penalised them and what really let the French back in the game was the period when AB's were missing Luke Macalister who was sin binned. You just got the impression from the AB's that when the pressure is really on the fear of failure is greater than their wil to win. The French on the other hand simply fought like Lions for victory. The way the French national anthem was sung at the start was awe inspriing, and they played like they sung with passio and fire. Their tries were really brilliant and in resisting the late onslaughts of the AB's they were heroic. Chabal coming on also made a difference as he used all his massive strength to rip in the mauls, and make hit after hit to repulse the almost manic efforts of the New Zealanders. Bravo France!

  • 15.
  • At 10:20 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Lawther wrote:

Agree entirely with comments on the ref.
Sin bin for McAlister was the turning point in the game and was completely out of character with the game.
If England don't make the final Barnes will probably be the ref with the equally overrated Spreadbury close by!
But overall great to see AB lose and 2 North teams make it to the semis- come on Scotland - make it 3!

  • 16.
  • At 10:22 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Timaay wrote:

I personally feel that in the end New Zealand lost it for themselves. they forgot who they were playing against and it cost them dearly.it was as if they thought that they could brush off tackles and refused to exploit the overlaps and other chances they created. a couple of controversial decisions in the rucks but there always are nowadays.wel done the french though.

  • 17.
  • At 10:25 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

Shocking sour grapes from you kiwi supporters. Chapeaux to the French for a gutsy second half. Just confirms how important passion is to the game of rugby. As a neutral, it was a fantastic sporting spectacle to behold. Amazing how the All Blacks couldn't see they were getting nowhere with their multiple phases or had no plan B.
BrucieB: you need to look at the incident again. There was absolutely no other decision but to give McAllister a yellow card. The try was on, he cynically took his man out. Pity for McAllister because he was great otherwise.
Ali Williams deserves a 9 - phenomenal performance. Otherwise, the scores are pretty ok.

  • 18.
  • At 10:27 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • robert Samuel wrote:

I said all the week france win and everyone disagred and I think france got what it take to go to final england have not got a chance againest france home turf aswell so bye bye france

and I HAVE PUT A BET ON BEFORE WORLD CUP STARTED FRANCE TO WIN come on france

  • 19.
  • At 10:28 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Whittle wrote:

Australia and Kiwi teams are the poorest quality respective teams in Ossie and Kiwi World cup history. They just didn't fire

  • 20.
  • At 10:41 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • andyd wrote:

McAlister definitely blocked the run but would the try have been a certainty? not sure

Forward pass - probable but ref was behind play and it was one of those that sort of went up and drifted forward with the momentum of the attack, didnt notice where the touch judge was positioned.

however ABs led to their own downfall - in a team of (apparently) so many talents what were they doing hoofing the ball up the pitch for most of the match. late on they showed they could make big gains with close forward play, but too late...

  • 21.
  • At 10:45 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • France Supporter wrote:

What a game. Ref did make a few mistakes (both ways) but the most obvious was missing the fact that it was a punch that knocked out Betsen from AB No 4. I hope the latter gets cited as he should have been red-carded for the offence (at least that is how I saw it).

  • 22.
  • At 10:48 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Taff wrote:

I think the fact this was the first game New Zealand really had to play in led to their downfall, France had by far the tougher games in the group stages and looked just that bit more battle-hardened for it.

Poor call blaming the ref for your defeat guys, you had enough chances but ultimately France were just the better team on the pitch.

Oh, and a congrats and thanks to all the Kiwi, French (and indeed Irish) fans in Cardiff yesterday. Great time, great atmosphere. Diolch!

  • 23.
  • At 11:01 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • AndrewL wrote:

Cashead
'In this case the ref should get -10. Debatable sinbinning of McAlister and a failure to pick up a blatant forward pass that knocked the All Blacks out of the cup. They didn't choke, they were robbed.' Thats right- the world cup is designed to cheat poor ickle SH nations of a nice bit of silverware. Saddo

  • 24.
  • At 11:07 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Muiris wrote:

Before the game there seemed to be a general acceptance that New Zealand had a God-given right to win the World Cup, propogated not least by their own press and fans. This is unsustainable, and a dreadful yoke to labour under. The truth of the matter is that the world cup is won and earned, not granted. It is a great pity because the inevitable has already happening- the NZ Rugby Federation will tear the current team in half, sack Henry, and "rebuild" for further failure in four years time. This lack of faith in continuity, and unfair and overwhealming pressure on the national team has characterised NZ rugby for the past ten years and is reminiscent of the manner in which the England soccar team have been managed- a truly talented group of players ruined by pressures from without. In the final reckoning, that is what it came to- France were desparate to win, New Zealand desparate not to lose.

  • 25.
  • At 11:10 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • robin wrote:

One of the most satisfying aspects of both England and France's victories was the way all the 'expert' pundits were proved so comprehensively wrong. In the past couple of weeks buckets of obloquy were poured over England/Ashton/the northern hemisphere teams generally; and now look! Who's going home? It all goes to show that the old saying - that most sports journalists are no more than 'fans with typewriters' - has more than a grain of truth. Their worst fault is the hyperbole; so the team is either 'the worst England team ever seen' or 'world beaters pushing back the boundaries of the game'. Generally neither is true. Incidentally the BBC's Ian Robertson can be excused from these charges - he manages to maintain a rare sense of perspective. Finally let's just enjoy the sight of the Antipodeans scuttling back to their homelands....

  • 26.
  • At 11:15 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

The french had 16 players on the park.Rugby union needs to go the same way as league if theres any doubt in a try put it to the 4th official when players have been putting there hearts and souls into winning the world cup for so many years they dont deserve to be robbed by shody calls ie passes that are two yards forward.Not taking it away from the french they played well but they only won by 2 points so that forward pass meant a lot.

  • 27.
  • At 11:25 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Derek Mathieson wrote:

Oh well in 1995 the All Blacks lost because of the 'food poisoning' and this year because of the forward pass.Its comforting knowing that its somebody elses fault and not because you were beaten by a better more savvy team.Anyway nice bit of karma
after that spear tackle on Brian O' Driscoll in 2005.

  • 28.
  • At 11:31 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

That last push by the Blacks was fantastic to watch... If they had scored from that, It would have been my try of the tournament so far... But hey! they didn't... Bring on the French. Tim.

  • 29.
  • At 11:36 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • kayvee wrote:

There were some dodgy ref decisions (er - how does playing advantage work again...?) but that doesn't detract from the fact that, once again, the French turn up for the big game against the AB's - truly awesome defence!

  • 30.
  • At 11:39 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Loic wrote:

Two great quater finals. The underdogs are still the world champions even with recent poor performances. They are in semi so watch out.
The AB might have been the favorites but the only team to stop them for the title could only be the French.
It s gonna be a great semi.

Loic (France)

  • 31.
  • At 11:40 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • KarlGlendo wrote:

Am I alone in thinking that Murray Mexted's biaised commentary was an embarrassment? Easy to focus on the things that Barnes 'missed' or 'got wrong' when the outcome didn't suit the Kiwis. There was a definite forward pass in the build up to one of the Kiwis tries also (I forget which one), but did we dwell on that? I don't think so... The Kiwis have been scoring off marginal forward pass calls for years. Also, Mcalister was bang to rights with his obstruction!

As for Laporte, what a genius. Banning the phrase 'All-Blacks' from the players vocabulary. Also brave tactics in the first half to keep kicking the kiwis more possession. This meant that New Zealand didn't have any turnover ball to work with which they normally thrive on.

  • 32.
  • At 11:42 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Benjamin wrote:

Typical! We have to blame the ref. McAllister's sin binning was clearly the right decision - the All Blacks are past masters at taking guys out off the ball.it's a little ironic that one should blame the referee for the determining the outcome of the match. How many times have New Zealand benefitted from fortuitous decisions ? Too many to count

  • 33.
  • At 11:44 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Declana Gallagher wrote:

I share an office with a Kiwi guy. Nice guy, but he has been murder to be around during this World Cup. Can not wait until Monday morning!! He has lost so many bets. Well done France and England. Come on the 6 Nations and I hope one of you win the tournament.

An Irish Fan

  • 34.
  • At 11:45 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Matty wrote:

The ratings are average across the piece - the AB had the bulk of possession and did nothing with it, the French won little ball but scored with what they had. I note the AB fans being scathing about the Ref (when players don't make mistakes Refs won't) but that is irrelevant really. Every time there is a Kiwi commentator the Refs get a sledging for just about every decision being 'one-eyed' doesn't even compare to such bias. A graet game, good for RWC, sympathy for the ABs and their fans, but most all very worried that Franch beat the AB with only 25% possession. I am a staunch England fan (through thick and thin) but if we do lose the romantic in me will be happy to see Franch in the final. I was in France for the football (in '98?) when they won and it was awesome. I was disappointed with the rounds but the 1/4s have brought this RWC alive - come on Scotland let's have an Eng vs Sco final. So NH rugby is rubbish?

  • 35.
  • At 11:47 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Denis The Menace wrote:

What must be remembered above anything else is that rugby is always a game of two teams. Have a safe trip home again New Zealand. See you in 4 years.

  • 36.
  • At 11:48 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Bruce at 08.47 -

"The more conservative northern style is better suited to World Cups. The SH teams have the style - like Brazil in football, but the better winning record belong to Germany."

sorry??

Brazil 5 wins (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002); Germany 3 (1954, 1974, 1990)

get your facts right before trying to make excuses for the kiwis and SH rugby in general: as much as i like watching the ABs, the term 'chokers' unfortunately can be used when every recent WC comes round and they fail to perform.

  • 37.
  • At 11:52 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Lawther wrote:

The axe hangs over the coach!
THe Welsh coach is fired!
THe Australian coach is quitting!
And Eddie O'Sullivan gets a new 4 year contract.
How many Ireland players were crying after their defeat.
The AB and the Australians were gutted- and the Irish continue to pick up their pay cheques without a care in the world.

Fantastic Rugby. Wonderful efforts from England and France.
The player ratings should probably be closer. Each game was won by only 2 points.Underdogs in World Class Rugby are never that much under. It seems that Australia and NZ believed all the hype [ some self created] and just did not give England or France enough respect. Both Southern teams looked stunned, shocked and unbelieving that they had real opposition. It probably means that Argentina and South Africa are now more worried about their opposition today. If they are they will probably win. Patterson has not missed a kick - Argies beware!

  • 39.
  • At 11:58 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Loic wrote:

Two great quater finals. The underdogs are still the world champions even with recent poor performances. They are in semi so watch out.
The AB might have been the favorites but the only team to stop them for the title could only be the French.
It s gonna be a great semi.

Loic (France)

  • 40.
  • At 11:58 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • KarlGlendo wrote:

Am I alone in thinking that Murray Mexted's biaised commentary was an embarrassment? Easy to focus on the things that Barnes 'missed' or 'got wrong' when the outcome didn't suit the Kiwis. There was a definite forward pass in the build up to one of the Kiwis tries also (I forget which one), but did we dwell on that? I don't think so... The Kiwis have been scoring off marginal forward pass calls for years. Also, Mcalister was bang to rights with his obstruction!

As for Laporte, what a genius. Banning the phrase 'All-Blacks' from the players vocabulary. Also brave tactics in the first half to keep kicking the kiwis more possession. This meant that New Zealand didn't have any turnover ball to work with which they normally thrive on.

  • 41.
  • At 12:02 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • liz wrote:

I am truly shocked to think this world dominating team didn't even reach the semi finals, this is abmismal!!

  • 42.
  • At 12:21 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • rich waring wrote:

What I love about the rwc is that the lesser rugby nations can chance their arm against the best in the world. There's been talk of dropping the number of teams in the tournemant to 16 but I think results have shown that that would be a mistake. Unless sides like Tonga, Australia, Fiji, and New Zeeland have a chance to run out against the better sides, their players will never learn.

  • 43.
  • At 12:47 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Locky wrote:

re: point 20, agreed that the ref didn't have the best. Let's remember 2003 World Cup Final, England had to play against one of the worst refereeing performances in recent memory (what i would call a "homer") yet still found the necessary reserve to win the game.

There seems to be a continuation of 03 in this competition where a very weak scrum which constantly collapses still wins the penalty, just bizarre!

End of the day, the French just about showed enough in the tank, NZ didn't and were rather disappointing. For me Graham Henry has been preening for four years showing that he has two full size 15's which could beat any other team, rather than concentrate on his absolute best 15, will the lesson finally be learned for 4 yrs time?

  • 44.
  • At 12:52 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

Well done to France. The All Blacks can consider themselves well and truly mugged!

Bruce, dreadful knowledge of football, by the way. Germany have won 3 World Cups (as West Germany) and Brazil have won 5. Call me old-fashioned, but it seems that Brazil - not Germany - have the better winning record.

  • 45.
  • At 01:09 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • laurent wrote:

We must also pay respect to Mr Henry. He came in France's locker room after the game to congratulate les Bleus on their big defending performance.
I believe that's a feature of great team and a great manager to behave that way.
Allez les Bleus! But bravo les Blacks also!

  • 46.
  • At 01:21 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Rods wrote:

To Benjamin (post no. 32):

How can you rubbish the idea that the referee robbed NZ of a victory last night, and then proceed to claim that NZ has been helped by fortuitous decisions in the past? You're contradicting yourself in a single breath.

Although the French defended marvellously, they were, for most of the game, on the back foot. Better teams can be losers. I think that Graham Henry's stoicism is justified, and that players and coaching staff should not be sent to the gallows for this unfortunate result.

  • 47.
  • At 01:40 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • matthew wrote:

shows how overated the two sides were, england and france roled both the southern hemisphere sides over, and they didnt want any of it.
Great for english rugby, onyl one thing we need now, and thas big martin johnson as head coach!

  • 48.
  • At 02:04 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Ed wrote:

Amazing that some kiwis should blame the referee. If every New Zealand forward pass was picked on they wouldn't have qualified for the cup let alone got this far. The sin binning was blatant. Barnes was already playing advantage from an earlier offence when MacAllister cynically shoulder barged Jauzion. Thats two penalties inside five metres in thirty seconds-repeated foul play in sight of the try line. Just because dear Murray says it was wrong doesn't make it so.

  • 49.
  • At 02:36 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Ed, McAllister did not shoulder barge Jauzion, he made no change to his course (on drift defence) and was run into by Jauzion. The defending player has the right of momentum on his course and also the right to stop and turn. This is all McAllister did.

And are you seriously saying that the team rated number one in the world was only there because referees would not call their forward passes?

  • 50.
  • At 03:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

I thought ref did a great job. No one could expect the ref tocall the forward pass it was nearly hand to hand no way he could se it. Mcallister yellow card was completely fair, ref didn't give a penalty try which commentators here in OZ were talking aout which would have been wrong but a definite block on purpose to prevent a possible try. What else would you do in that situation. DEFINTE YELLOW CARD

  • 51.
  • At 04:01 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

To use a basketball analogy - if the player is already in place in front of a player, he has NOT moved there to make a deliberate block and it might even be a charging foul against the player for DELIBERATELY running into them. In sport this is called trying to con the referee.

As for the forward pass - everyone watching it, bar the referee and linesman, saw it.

If the player receiving the ball is in front of the other, the referee could have assumed it was forward, even if they had not seen the pass itself. Which is why this is called offside play by the player receiving it.

  • 52.
  • At 04:02 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • RedhedGW wrote:

Interesting to read some of the comments about the ref particularly the ones scoring him as 3/10 and -10. Bit monocular! The calls were fairly even for both teams with both getting away with the odd knock on, forward pass etc. Was surprised the ABs weren't penalised for holding on the deck more though. Was glad to see the scrum reffed properly for the majority of the game, however, Woodcock should have been sin-binned for persistantly stepping sideways in an attempt to wheel the scrum. He was only pinged once! The man went sideways more than he went forwards. It looked like he was on rails!! To score him 6 is a joke, no way is he better than a five. On that note, in the last 4 years everytime the ABs scrum has been reffed properly they have struggled to win/close out games.

I think the ABs can count themselves extremely unlucky not to win on the day but to be fair the French played out of their skins.

  • 53.
  • At 04:04 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Al wrote:

Am still trying to recover from yesterday and seeing the Wallabies and All Blacks sent packing. All this rubbish about the superiority of southern hemisphere rugby was put in place. The Wallabies cannot scrummage to save their lives and have been protected by referees for years. How Al Baxter can command a place in an international side is beyond me. As for the All Blacks - well there is just so much baggage attached to that lot. Going back in time to the Colin Meads tackle on Graeme Hodgson after he had made the mark at the Arms Park, Andy Haden's jump out of the line out in order to win a match winning penalty kick, John Ashworth's cowardly raking of JPR's face and the condoning of it by the management by picking Ashworth to play against the Barbarians a few days later, Sean Fitzpatrick's raking of deGlanville's face in a ruck, the spear tackle on Brian O'Driscoll by Tana Umanga and Kevin Mealamu, I could go on.. They got what they deserved yesterday. They too have been protected by referees because of their so called status. And as for that Haka, it's nothing more than a blatant attempt at intimidation now. If that was attempted in any high street around the country after opening hours the whole lot would be carted off to the local nick. What a joke it has deteriorated into.

My best souvenir from yesterday evening, apart from McAllister being nailed for blatant obstruction of Jauzion (how on earth could the ex All Black Murray Mexted, the ITV commentator critcise the referee for sin binning him?) was the sight of Sean Fitzpatrick, in the TV studio, almost choking on his restrained tears and Thomas Castaignede finally having to apologise to him for his nation beating the mighty All Blacks. The truth was there for all to see - to be a good winner you first of all have to learn how to be a good loser.

  • 54.
  • At 04:35 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • chris b wrote:

So the all blacks are human after all, falling the first time they had serious opposition. They were desperately unlucky but then good teams ultimately make their own luck. Still they seemed to lack ideas after the unfortunate injuries to carter, kelleher and evans.

Unbeliveable defensive effort from the french tho. And is it just me or did the New Zealanders knock the ball on in a tackle in the run up to their 2nd try? that would balance out the 'forward pass' in the 2nd French effort.

  • 55.
  • At 04:53 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Big JW wrote:

I thought the officials were poor, as has most of the refereeing/touch judging in this tournament. There were two forward passes in the French try surely one of the TJs should have spotted them? But that didn't really make the ABs lose, that was their inabililty to alter tactics when the French were easily defending. Paddy O'Brian admitted that TJ had been poor this year, watch any game in this world cup and watch how much foul play that has gone unnoticed by officials no more than 5 yards away. Sorry Paddy, there has been no improvement Kaplan missed two deliberate trips in two games....his reward for inaptitube? TJ in a quarter final. AB authorised their own demise, yet all players on the field deserve officials who at least see obvious forward passes. All the ifs but and maybes aside, the French try should never have been awarded

  • 56.
  • At 05:31 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • BigJW wrote:

I think people are assessing the ref on their NH or SH bias. The simple fact is the officiating at all games, to my mind, has been flawed. Everyone has a view on the sin binning, and it is a view, Mr Barnes had a view and a card was issued. But what is fact is that the French try contained two forward passes, and in this respect the players deserve officials that can actually see what is going on. I thought it bizarre that Mr Kaplan, who had previously failed to see two deliberate trips in two seperate games was rewarded for this ineptitude by a high profile TJ game, and he misses the two forward passes. Aagin having just watched Fiji/SA, Fiji could have been awarded a try from a pass that must have gone 5/6 metres forward! The IRB really need to look at how it assesses the performance of their officials. I don't even subscibe to the notion 'the ref can't see everything'...there are three of them, they should see everything, and should be punished, and not rewarded, when they miss any breach of the rules of the game that could have a significant outcome on the result of any game.

  • 57.
  • At 05:53 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"The AB style is not suited to knockout games. The intensity of the game at the breakdown and that of defences is up a notch and there is less opportunity for an expansive game. Also the pressure of trying to play an open game in that environment is greater. Thus mental tiredness plays a role."

Quite an excuse there, pal... as if it isn't the case for both teams?

  • 58.
  • At 06:13 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • redbat wrote:

The All Blacks had 80 whole minutes to beat France and prove their superiority but according to some comments the game hinged on one single moment and a forward pass. What happened in the other 79 and a half minutes? Come on, you'll have to do better than that!

  • 59.
  • At 06:13 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"The AB style is not suited to knockout games. The intensity of the game at the breakdown and that of defences is up a notch and there is less opportunity for an expansive game. Also the pressure of trying to play an open game in that environment is greater. Thus mental tiredness plays a role."

Quite an excuse there, pal.....

  • 60.
  • At 06:18 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Matt, London wrote:

While sat at home watching the game I'm at a loss to think we will ever win a world cup again. Not a lot of interest in changing things up during the game and kicking away the ball for the first half was nothing short of bloody silly! In the 2nd half the backs would have only see the ball when the French were running at us with it.

Key thing in this game was that France wanted it more than us. End of the story and something we will just need to just live with. The ref done his job and without them we have no game so I look down on those who blame the ref as people not being able to face the fact that we were not up to the game on the day. Hell, we could play France in the next 4 weeks 4 times and win each one. But in the knock out rounds of the World cup we are pants!

  • 61.
  • At 06:26 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Being a Cardiff lad, I'd bought a couple of tickets to this game in anticipation of supporting our celtic friends against the tournament favourites and (still) the best team in the world. As it happens, I got particularly lucky and ended up with tickets to what many thought would be the final.

Well, I'd decided to support France given that they were underdogs and set about spending some drinking time in and around the centre of Cardiff. By about an hour before kick off, I was so fed up with the Kiwis I had met that I decided to really get behind the French and (no doubt beer induced) set off to return to the pub with a French flag cape and some fetching face paint!

I was amazed at the audacity of the Kiwi fans. I can live with confidence, but the sheer arrogance and rudeness of the people I met was astounding. There was a definite feeling that this game was a foregone conclusion and some of the insults I heard about the French were disgusting. They also, couldn't understand how a netural fan might support anyone other than the mighty all blacks. Their attitude was typified by one particularly silly lady sat behind me who saw fit to drape her flag over me every time the all balcks scored. That, I didn't mind of course (I had afterall baited them somewhat!), but I just didn't understand the refusal to stay silent for the French anthem or to applaud any of their scores. The young lady wasn't so pleased when I offered her my plastic french flag after the game and wished her a safe trip home!

As for the All Blacks team, I don't think I reslised until yesterday just how much pressure they were under to perform and to live up to the hype that surrounds them. Yesterday, they had so much ball they should have won comfortably. I had a similar feeling at half time as when Wales came back to beat France in 05. When a team comes out 10 points down for the second half, knowing they should be dead and buried, often you get a complete turnaround (Fiji almost did it too today!)

I thought towards the end of the game, the All Blacks were clueless. How many chances to take the drop goal did they need? The no.10 definately went missing. The French defence was magnificent and their hard work led to the All Blacks looking for a plan B that didn't exist.

I thought the reffing was pretty consistent. He did not get all the decisions correct, but there were many both ways. There is no doubt in my mind that the All Blacks are the most cynical of players and they get away with murder. Before the yellow card, there were at least 3 incidents of blocking chasers that went unpunished, so if the 4th was debatable, frankly I don't care - the card was a long time coming. Around the breakdown, the infringements were numerous, as always. All Blacks fans need to realise that just because you get away with it most of the time, doesn't make it any less illegal, and when you do get picked up on it, you should at least have the good grace to take your medicine. That said, with the amount of ball they had, they should have been so far ahead (if they were as good as they thought they were) these decisions wouldn't have mattered.

I think the strangest thing I saw after the game was the sight of AB and French fans selling and buying tickets to the Semi finals and finals! It appears that a huge amount of AB fans had tickets to both games. I wonder how many of them will go to those games as true rugby fans, like those Irishmen I met yesterday.

Long will I remember Fields of Athenry being sung at the Millenium Stadium, loud and clear mid first half!

  • 62.
  • At 07:38 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • beancounter wrote:

It is clear that losing at the rugby world cup is almost too much to bear for any kiwi. In many respects it is a shame because this team played truely magnificant rugby in the run up, however the manner in which most kiwis have taken their defeat is frankly embarassing. I never thought i would say this (as I am not an aussie) but compare it to the reaction of Gillchrist Warne & co when they lost the ashes. The australians took their defeat like the great champions they are- with dignity and humility- and came back with a bang at the world cup and next ashes.

The rest of the rugby world would love you more if you could lose with dignity. More humble pie and less sour grapes on the menu

  • 63.
  • At 08:50 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I have to admit my countrymen aren't great losers when it comes to rugby: any other sport it's all but expected, but it pains NZers when the All Blacks lose. So apologies for any sour grapes and arrogance.

Does anyone else find the whole NH/SH debate curious, and is it just a media construction following the tri-nations and results of first few World Cups?

I, for example, don't think of myself as a SH fan: I'm an All Blacks fan and whatever S Africa or Australia is of little consequence to me.

PS: France played out of their skins and deserved the win. I'm picking a France/S Africa final. And has anyone noticed how quiet the S Africans have been: let everyone else boast and brag and they'll come in at the end and do the business.

PS: It may tickle others to learn that the NZ Herald has published advice from psychiatrists for AB rugby fans to deal with the loss.

  • 64.
  • At 08:51 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • anon wrote:

Despite the results yesterday, I still believe the standard of rugby in the SH is of a higher quality than that played in the NH. Yesterday proves that on any given day any team can win.

I am an Irishman who supports the AB's, but they lost the game yesterday, not the referee...26 phases of ball and not a point to show for it...simply not good enough.

As for post 53...you must have precious little to occupy your time if it is spent listing supposed AB transgressions...rugby is a physical game and all teams have had times when they have not played as clean as they should...but according to you the AB's are a bunch of thugs in rugby strips...sorry, don't agree...get a life and some perspective. There was a time when rugby players celebrated the "hard" men...but that seems to have disappeared with professionalism.

As for our aussie friend, I believe Henry and the AB's did show grace when they lost...their fans, not unlike my fellow Irish fans are venting their frustration.

Finally, I do not think it is necessarily a good thing for rugby that the SF's have shaped up the way they have...but that is the way the ball bounces.

I will be cheering for Argentina this afternoon, apologies to my Celtic cousins, and for the rest of the tournament, although I doubt they will get past the Saffers.

  • 65.
  • At 09:15 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Only one rating number is important: 20-18!

ABs dominated most of the game, and this is one time where stats are truly reflective of the domination, but not the score. What the stats don't show is the leadership provided by Ibanez and the backs-against-the-wall defensive effort by France. What else explains the win? Not sure if this match is played 5 more time whether the result is the same. But that doesn't matter, the match is in the books.

Player rating numbers shouldn't be much different between the sides. We did see a big difference at 10. Not overly surprised to see Carter ineffective when all else was not going well around him. But France bring back Freddie M. from the old age home, and….....instant life. This shows true ability under adverse conditions. Chabal was immense after coming in as impact player.

Refs were fine. let's not start that "we wuz robberd" whinging stuff. Thats just arrogance and poor class coming to the fore.

Good win to France. Se you in a week.

Swing low, baby.

  • 66.
  • At 09:21 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • dave wrote:

The format for me is a problem it hardly allows any team to build momentum yet punishes them ever so harshly for a bad day in the office. The Rugby Worldcup unlike its football equivalent is still growing and the big draw teams have to be protected so as to keep the fans watching and attract more fans to the code. I propose a league format just like in the early days of the Jules Rimet rather than the current winner take all system. This will allow, the big guns to face off against each other and the luck of the draw will no longer be a factor. Argentina could have been World Champions without playing any of the big Southern Hemisphere giants. The IRB have to workout something to protect the future of the world cup which is slowly loosing fans rather than winning them over. Playing the mundial in the height of the european football season was not too clever. As for the all blacks it all has to do with the players. Something mental or tactical is a miss just like the brazilian teams off the past suffered due to their tactical naivety when it came to facing European teams. That however is history just to point out to one blogger who talks of Germany having a better record.Did they ever? If they ever did it no longer exists where Brazil is concerned thanks in deed to the exodus of brazilian players to Europe.

  • 67.
  • At 10:27 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Lloyd Bailey wrote:

I read Zinzan Brooke's report Saturday morning on the forth-coming quarter final matches. Scathing and arrogant of the English and French was not the word. Oh please do not be humble next Saturday. Please, please put it is SA for the taking!!!!

  • 68.
  • At 10:31 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

A Punch knocked out Serge Betsen? What were you watching? Rokocoko's forearm caught him (not swung), and then the serious blow was from his own player's knee!
McAlister's yellow card was ludicrous. How often do you see a defender continuing through to block or tackle a player after he has kicked it? Several times a game. How frequently is an offence even called, let alone a sin-bin? Almost never. A French player did somethng almost identical in the second half (though not as close to the try line) and it wasn't deemed to be an offence.

It certainly didn't prevent a try - he had kicked the ball too far.

Credit to France - they did the business on the day, especially shutting Sivivatu and Rokocoko down, whereas several of the ABs didn't really show up for the game.

As an aside I was chatting to a guy in Rarotonga last week, and he said that he hoped that Stuart Dickinson and Jonathan Kaplan wouldn't be refereeing - if they did France would be bound to win. Well, they didn't referee, but they were both touch judges. Kaplan was in the perfect place to see the forward pass too!

  • 69.
  • At 10:35 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Hooligan wrote:

The rugby world cup is not about who is the best..it is a knockout competition..like the 7's..you take the bounce of the ball..the in-off the post, the sideways bounce into touch..its not about who is the best..as can be seen from the crap standard of rugby that is played..and dubious referees decisions..the sooner the video ref is brought in to police the field the better..captains appeal with a three point penalty if not upheld..i think the only sides i have seen that have played better have been argentina and fiji in this competition..how else can we get what we (the fans) deserve..that is fair rugby at the highest standad that is good to watch..three games left and its all over ..already!

  • 70.
  • At 10:44 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Crazy Al wrote:

I think the French defended very well but I don't think they were the better team on the park. I must say they should fine the refs a part of their match fee for poor refereing. That is in general to all ref's, why are their two touch judges when they are worth nothing.

Use the TMO more in the world cup to avoid robbing teams of poor decisions that the on field ref's make.

Go the Springboks!!!!!

  • 71.
  • At 10:50 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Brad wrote:

The biggest problem the All Blacks had was as being favourites in going into most world cups they get the softest pool games opponents. Didn't help when Scotland put forward a B Team.

Big ups to France tho - they played superbly to knock Kiwis out and we knew if they were to loose it would take a herculean effort like theirs. Especially when the All Blacks didn't play that bad and the stats show this.

We can argue about the ref - I thought the desisions for McAlisters sin bin and the missed forward pass in Frances try were terrible ref decisions in the context of the game, but the All Blacks allowed themselves to be in the vulnerable position in the first place and didn't have what it took to crack the french defence often enough when it counted.

It should be a France V South Africa final, but I think Argentina will be tough to beat so I am gong with them to knock SA out and carry on to be undefeated throughout the tournament.

  • 72.
  • At 11:47 PM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • BrucieB wrote:

Let's be clear: I was NOT "blaming" the Ref, I was merely rating his (and the touch-judges) performance - and it was very poor. As many other objective views here agree.
It simply isn't good enough to put relatively inexperienced officials (ie Barnes) in charge of what in reality was probably THE game of this Cup. (Should really have been the final, but for a cruel draw.)
A champion team rises above poor ref'ing and does the job regardless. The AB's almost did ... but sadly, could not. If France keep their passion going, they will win it all.

  • 73.
  • At 12:01 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Francois Dekker wrote:

I stopped watching tennis the moment Jim Courier said: “home cooking”, when an obvious Wayne Ferreira winner was overruled after a Tim Henman hissy fit during the 2002 Wimbledon tournament. Not because I was sour, but because the rules was not adhered to. A sport is only a sport because it has rules that determine the winner. The rules are not there to be interpreted, or bend or obfuscated when needed. They are there to be adhered to. It is these rules and regulations that decide who the winner is – not passion, not luck, not wishful thinking and definitely not a referee’s mistakes!!!!

I do watch tennis again. Now there is HD and players can challenge the calls … and hawk eye … I love it!!! Even in cricket (Is it only in ice dancing where judges can cheat more?) we can ask the third umpire to make a decision. (LBW, let’s be wary). Why on earth can there not be a third umpire in rugby that can sound a hooter to indicate to the referee that an infringement or forward pass was committed? Don’t we have the means to communicate to the referee from off the field?

So, if the rules were obeyed, France did not win the game; meaning the referee awarded the game to them by mistake (as have happen in so many sports and games before).

Get your house in order rugby!!

  • 74.
  • At 12:43 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Brian Langworthy wrote:

What a great weekend for the English & French fans and players. Well done.

I have tried to analyse why I continue to watch the AB's when come World Cup time they seem unable to display the qualities that have made them a wonderful team to follow since I arrived in NZ many years ago. I have come to the conclusion that I can live with not winning the World Cup as long as for the other 3 years and 11 months I don't have to sit and watch the boring rubbish that is served up in the six nations each year. Sorry guys but many of the provincial sides in NZ would beat the teams that front up for the six nation.
And as for cynical, what about the B teams that get sent this way from the NH. Isn't that another reflection of the nature of NH rugby.
Sorry guys but in my opinion its not OK to lose for 3 year and 11 months and then crow about being World champions while serving up garbage that is supposed to attract people to watch and play rugby. At least I know I will see some more stunning rugby (super 14, tri nations etc, etc) in the next 47 months. I know what you be watching and you are welcome to it

  • 75.
  • At 12:49 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • dave wrote:

Allez les Bleus,
the french 22 showed passion spirit and a little bit of tactical nous, they followed their coaches instuctions and played with pride for their country.
As did the All Blacks all amazing players who gave a 100% effort yesterday was an amazing match, sadly it does not matter how well you play sometimes but the result is key. this is one thing that england have been good at playing ugly and winning france through Laporte have learned that but thankfully still have the panache to score some scintillating tries.
Sadly whilst henry and co have been gracious in defeat I feel many of their countrymen have gone a bit gagga.
The knee jerk reaction to sack Henry (unlike the Welsh they have given him until the end of year)is not the way forward, this exactly what they did with John Mitchell (another amazing coach) and guess what they didn't win the world cup. Henry is an amazing coach should have been allowed to help the All Blacks through this tough period, it was one loss but his overall record during his tenure has been impressive and he helped rebuild that aura around AB that had at least lost it's polish. Now they are going to be rushing around looking for a new coach who will have to be bonkers to take on the job (I hear Clive is open for offers) who spend year stamping their authority (if they're allowed) paranoid about what will happen if they lose the next RWC in their back yard!!!

PS as someone who trained as a referee Barnes did amazing well in the biggest match of his career yes he got few decisions wrong for both sides (these even out over 80min). But the main ones he got right Mcallister was a yellow card, and he did something few referees do well he marshalled the ruck well and stopped alot of illegal practice that players like riche mccaw are famous for as is serge betsen.
PS with the forward pass the act of passing was going backwards but with players momentum and the balls own momentum the ball can end up going forward, but sadly not all referees can do physics at such speed, unlike some referees barnes did a brilliant job and whole allowed an amazing game of rugby not be lots of whistling.

  • 76.
  • At 01:04 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Amy wrote:

re post 61:
Andrew, I'm not sure which Cardiff you were in on saturday, but it sure wasn't the same one i was visiting! I'm English, but have many Kiwi friends and found all the Kiwis I met over the weekend to be gracious in defeat, only devastated by what I felt were some shocking mistakes by the referee and touch judges already discussed in great length on this page. Rugby is a huge deal to Kiwis, and the ones I know have been unable to comprehend the loss, as confident as they were in Richie McCaw and his team - a feeling I imagine i would have had myself as an English fan, had results been different in 2003. Despite this however, the Kiwis sitting around me in the stadium made a point of shaking the hands of French supporters after the game. The only disgusting and insulting comments that I heard throughout the game came from a variety of Irish groups who were supporting the French team.
I recently spent time in New Zealand, and found it to be the friendliest country I have been to, where people are knowledgeable and passionate about the sport they love. I also learned how much pressure the team is under from the nation as a whole, and having watched interviews with some of the players today, can't even begin to imagine how devastated they are. Regarding the Haka, I think that it is an amazing spectacle and one of my favourite parts of international rugby - I think the sport would lose a lot if it was got rid of. Although the french aren't so popular with me right now, I loved the way they responded with the flag - not something most teams could replicate though, without a lot of creativity!!!
I was gutted that the ABs lost yesterday, but enjoyed an awesome weekend in the company of so many Kiwis. Can't wait until the next world cup!

  • 77.
  • At 01:13 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • kiwicam wrote:

what a gut wrenching day it was for all AB fans. I was in a state of disarray, but not really surprised.

There was a fantastic display of rugby in some periods of the first half by the ABs. However as soon as France decided to compete at the breakdown and the AB backs were getting slower ball they lost their structure and looked lost. Poor old Leonard didnt know where his backs were half the time when he jumped on. The French defended superbly in the second half and the ABs deteriorated in the back quarter. Trying to play glamourous rugby isnt going to win you games on the big stage (world cup). The tactical kicking, actually I'll rephrase that, the kicking by the ABs was appalling. If Carter been injured is an excuse then why the hell were we playing him?? Carter can be world class but he hasn't proved that on the big stage ....Italy/Scotland B side/Romania certainly don't count. Evans is a pretty damn good substitue. I would have rather had a johnny wilkinson in the team than Carter for this match. Evans did well for the 10 minutes he was on. There may have been some poor refereeing decisions but to be a world champion side you cant let this get in the way. You must adapt to the game.

In the past 3 and a half years there is no doubt the ABs have been the most successful team. Yet when it comes to crunch time and pressure on the world stage they proved how mentally weak they are. World Champion teams are not mentally weak.

I only hope we can rebuild after the exodus of players, not go into the next world cup as tournament favourites (after the latest result they shouldn't do!!) and be placed into a pool of death!

Well done France, you played better rugby when it counted.

Go Argentina!!!

  • 78.
  • At 01:24 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • poppa wrote:

Congrats to both France and England...

As an Ab's supporter was hard to take, but such is life.....

NEWS JUST IN : Wayne Barnes to receive knighthood in this years honours list, for

"his magnificent contribution to rugby"

I mean, to say that the French never infringed once in the second half, they played the perfect 40 mins of defensive rugby ( no hands in the ruck, no coming into the rucks from the side ) puh-lease

Im sure, for all the English and French supporters, that if their teams were never awarded a single penalty in the second half, to lose to a blatant forward pass, would they not also vent their frustration...

I do not mind losing, and this is not a case of sour grapes, but surely the spectacle of the world cup should not be denigrated by ineptitude from the whistle blowers ( as has been happening the whole tourny, think samoa vs sth africa, kiwi ref no less ).

Heres hoping Barnes gets to ref the final, would be great to see another team lose the way mine did....

  • 79.
  • At 01:34 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Rod King wrote:

Why did the All Blacks try to play the French at their own game. Graham Henry had said last week before naming 'The Team' that the French would use the high ball. So why not run it back at them instead of kicking it back all day. Also where was Plan B when it was needed ?

Not a great NZ game and not worthy of a win whatever the referee and touch-judges did or didn't see. Never mind there is always 2011.

  • 80.
  • At 02:32 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Micky wrote:

The kiwi comments on here are just as arrogant after the fact. It is not your right to be crowned world champs, it has to be earned. Blaming the referee is very similar to the excuses I hear from children every week. For the Kiwis that are complaining, if think that the refereeing is so poor, get of your fat arse and become one.

  • 81.
  • At 02:43 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"Regarding the Haka, I think that it is an amazing spectacle and one of my favourite parts of international rugby - I think the sport would lose a lot if it was got rid of."

It IS an amazing spectacle (for me, John Timu was the best leader they ever had for them - eyes bulging, veins popping), but it has no place in the game. A chance to psyche yourself up and intimidate your opponents just before the kickoff, while all they can do is stand there and take it? And if they do anything at all in response, you scream racism and disrespectfulness?

Not just NZ, either. My enduring image of one of the England pool matches (against Samoa, I think) was of their haka finishing and one of their players pointing at Andy Gomarsall in a very ugly and very obviously confrontational manner - the message and statement of intent was clear. How was Gomarsall allowed to react? He wasn't, for fear of sparking an incident in response to clear provocation.

Don't get me wrong, as a front row man during my playing days I have no problem with the physical side of the game... but this sort of nonsense has no place in any sport other than boxing.

Of course, NZers are going to scream blue murder at me and complain that I don't respect tradition, etc., but imagine if a team went to the IRB and said: "Hey, we want to perform a little ritual just before kickoff where we work ourselves up into a frenzy and threaten to kick the living bejesus out of the other team while they stand there and watch. Is that ok?"

No, I can't see it happening, either.

Also, there's plenty in rugby without it - you have the tries, the kicks for goal/position, lineouts, scrums, rucks, mauls, tackles, support play, garryowens... y'know, the game itself. What it's meant to be about, not wardances and cheerleaders (cf. NEC Harlequins).

  • 82.
  • At 03:04 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • John navera wrote:

the all black selectors just picked the wrong players and everyone knew that. then the referees were watching another game or something because mcalister got blocked off for the same thing he did and the pass that got france the try was foward. but then again the all black selectors are corrupted. picking for who they know not for the skill they present. who picks andrew ellis over piri weepu? then theirs keith robinson over chris jack? aaron mauger over ma'a nonu. who do you expect to break the line? you dont see any of the ABz backline getting breaks. the only three people in the backs that showed what they were there for was nick evans sitiveni sivivatu and joe rokocoko. that has to be the most useless backline ive ever seen. the ABz picked un-experienced players to take on the world rather then players that have stayed with the ABz for 4-5 years. the selectors should be sacked. and yet again the all blacks still havent learnt there lesson since the 2003 world cup.

  • 83.
  • At 04:46 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Colin Meads' comments on why Graham Henry should be/was sacked were spot on- ABs werent competition fit. I wonder if a Mr W Barnes - with more games under his belt- will be reffing in NZ in 4 years.

The ref in RU is the hardest of any sport, and tv replays just highlight how hard it is. Perhaps a panel of former ABs should adjudicate from the tv box instead of the ref. All sounds like American Football to me.

I saw 1 forward pass- in play, at game speed, without the aid of a tv replay- and that was AB wing to FB in their own 22. Even the one-eyed kiwi commentators here in NZ spotted it.

In the Lions tour the ABs scored a few key tries from forward (in my opinion) passes. My kiwi mates explained that the ball could go forward and still be OK. Didnt quite get it then- and now they say rude words to me when I ask for the explanation.

Happy days.

  • 84.
  • At 09:01 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • richie rich wrote:

I've never been able to understand quite how South pacific island culture became so connected to rugby. The link below to wikipedia does not seem to show rugby was invented and developed by maoris, and I can't see quite why rugby union is the forum for respecting maori culture:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_rugby_union

France faced the haka well, and this was the start of the defiance. I thought the referee had a good game, and coped very well. He wasn't in position to see the forward pass, and Mr. Kaplan didn't signal it. The sin-binning was debatable, but this is an area where the ABs are known to be cynical. They so this all the time. When Richie McCaw is forced to remain onside he is nothing like his offside version, and that showed in this game. The ABs were the better side on the day, but they failed to convert awesome pressure, territory and possession into points. I think they attempted to avoid the drop goal because they've spent the last four years moaning about England doing it.

  • 85.
  • At 09:10 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Brody wrote:

I am a NZer and still belive that the ABs have the best squad in world rubgy. In the past few years they have beaten every top team in the world and played some very classy rugby in doing so. This is the reason for the favorites tag and the arrogant fans. Does this mean that the WC was a forgone conclusion, of course not. We have rankings to give us some idea of the relative strength of teams but anyone of 7 teams imo were capable of winning the WC. And if you think the ABs were taking the game against France lightly you were wrong, France have always been a team that can at trouble the All Blacks. I think the pass was foward but thats life and as for the English taking so much glee from the NZ defeat I expect nothing less from you people. I will continue to watch the WC and hope that the WC is won with tries, so I am supporting anyone playing against the English. Have fun and rememeber its only a game.

  • 86.
  • At 10:55 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Not the best All Black display but would have been good enough on the day, despite losing a halfback and two flyhalves, were it not for the dubious refereeing. Memories of South Africa v France 1995. Demeans what should be a glorious sporting event.

  • 87.
  • At 11:06 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Treders wrote:

once again new zealand have peaked before there time but if the french want to win they will outstanding performance by all good bye antipodians good bye

  • 88.
  • At 11:50 AM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Tony Duignan wrote:

Good on France. NZ are a very dirty team and have got away with murder over the years. They thought all they had to do was turn up and their opponents would turn over. The English ref was very fair to both teams. NZ are trying to find fault elsewhere than within their own ranks. Henry was crap with Wales and has now failed to deliver with NZ. Chickens home to roost. Most NZ players are over rated anyway. I bet many neutral rugby supporters around the world are delighted that this vastly over rated and over hyped team and their 'dreadful, Hakka are gone. Northern Hemisphere rugby is not that all bad now is it?

  • 89.
  • At 12:04 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

There was a forward pass early in the build up to the second NZ try (on about the 10 metre line), McCaw was penalised for being of his feet at the tackle and for handling in the ruck (both offences last time I looked), McAllister took out Jauzion (watch his eyes)and it followed the pulling down of a French maul, as alluded to by Mr Barnes, so it was at least partly because of persistent NZ offending. He certainly didn't get everything right by any means but to suggest that the defeat was down to the referee shows a pig headed refusal to acknowledge the fact that NZ had no plan B and were ill equipped to deal with a phycial onslaught, something that we see in every World Cup. The NZ game is well suited to putting bog scores on ordinary opposition (like the 2005 Lions) but is utterly ill suited to the blood and guts of a World Cup knockout game and until that is addressed both in the Super 14 and in the way that the national side play then the litany of world cup failures will continue and the bleating about the referee, the waitress, the change of shirts will grow ever louder.
On a final note, I know many New Zealanders and have also been lucky enough to be in amongst their supporters at Twickenham in the past, and I have found them all to be humble and good company, not in the least bit arrogant about their side. Some of the posters on this blog sadly don't seem to share these characteristics.

  • 90.
  • At 12:06 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • StuEd wrote:

The post-mortum NZ focus on the refereeing is somewhat ironic given their complete dismissal of the O'Driscol incident in 2005. Having followed that tour and witnessed first hand the arrogant and unsporting NZ public, I was turned from a all black supporter to a supporter of anyone who plays the all blacks.

I am clearly biased, but in my opinion the yellow card was justified (anywhere else on the pitch would have been a penalty, but that close to the line was a yellow), and technology did show that the pass went forward, so strictly speaking the try should not have stood. Having said that I do think that it was momentum that carried the ball forward and not the direction in which the ball was thrown. Apparently there is a subtle difference which the SH teams have been exploiting for some time now.

Cheerio Chokers.

  • 91.
  • At 01:03 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

How could New Zealand have ever thought they were going to breeze through the world cup when they don't have a decent goal kicker. Dan Carter can't kick.

  • 92.
  • At 01:47 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • kelvin wrote:

The commentary by Murray was disgraceful- Betsen being felled by a punch in his eyes was a tackle.

  • 93.
  • At 02:16 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

The AB's are undoubtedly the best team in the world currently but only have themselves to blame for their defeat.
In the 2003 final England were subjected to abysmal refereeing at the scrummage which let Australia back into the game. In contrast to the AB's, England continued to play their game in the face of adversity and our leaders (Johnson, Dawson and Wilko) took responsibility and engineered the position for the winning drop goal.
New Zealand failed miserably to show clarity of thinking under pressure by failing to set up a chance for the drop goal. As talented and exciting as the AB group of players are, they will not be remebered as a great team as great teams find a way to win, even in the face of refereeing adversity.

  • 94.
  • At 02:19 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

As a sad Kiwi fan who was at the game, its all good and well to blame some of the decisions, and i wish the french try wasnt a forward pass, it would be one less thing to dwell on. At the end of the day the Kiwis didnt take there opourtunities, and the french wanted it more. But what you have to appreciate is that when your from a nation that only wants one thing its going to be disapointing, not quite like a family member dieing, more like your favourite childhood pet getting run over. But hey at least 7 year olds dont get stabbed or shot in NZL and we dont have foot abnd mouth, so there is something to be happy about... i think...

  • 95.
  • At 02:43 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

Why is it such a surprise that the ABs lost? They only won the first World Cup because it was at home and their players were the only ones with a professional league.

They are well known for choking at the world cup. England knocking out Australia was a much bigger upset.

  • 96.
  • At 02:45 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • sampe wrote:

Re Toni's comments (88) on the hakka, I actually thought the haka was brilliant on Saturday and set the game up for the enthralling spectacle that it was. Good on the French for standing up to the challenge. Why would you want to get rid of it?

France took their chances and fought through to win - its black and white really (or is it silver coloured with black stripes on the shoulders, side panelling and collar!!).

The fass was porward but what can you do? France won. We lost.

And you can trash talk all you like about Mr McCaw but I still know he's a legend and an exceptional rugby player (one of the best I've seen). As far as I'm concerned you can hold your head up high Richie!!! Come home mate, we still love you!!!

I'm sure, once again, the All Blacks and NZ public will scrape ourselves up off the ground after yet another devastating WC year and will be cheating our way with dirty tactics and forward passes to many more victories in the future (inbetween WC, anyway).

Kia Kaha.

  • 97.
  • At 02:53 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Jay Njwelige wrote:


Told all buddies two weeks ago at Qbar where we watch every weekend, Kiwi where at climax early and they lost it there, being in a weak group and settle by cricket points didn’t do them any good either, the opposite we see England in semi. In a ferry to Zanzibar on Sunday Aussies and Kiwi guys couldn't talk to me as I was wearing my English shirt, they didn’t know I have lost my voice the nite before.

  • 98.
  • At 03:26 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Marburg wrote:

re Richie Rich's post about the Hakka

It has always seemed to me odd that the South Pacific sides are allowed to 'perform' their Hakkas etc. which presumably pump them up just before the game and perhaps give them an edge at the start. I do accept that they add colour etc. but they do seem to favour them (or they wouldn't do it) and I seem to recall that their words when translated are rather lurid.

I have three solutions, to suggest:

(i) they have to perform their Hakka an hour before the game;

(ii) As (i) above but in traditional costume;

or my favourite

(iii) that the non S. Sea side is permitted to reply with their own national dance. I await with interest the Hakka being answered by a Morris dance with Andrew Sheridan using a pigs bladder on a stick to bang the maori heads with.

  • 99.
  • At 03:26 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • hjsm wrote:

Strange what I read here is not like rugby ,the fight is on the pitch.I play the game and know full well that you just dont comment on ref.if so any game can be replayed!!!(if you want perfect dont get involved with humans in the first place) Stop watching start playing you might get the spirit! money and sade supporters are changing what made me play in the first place this great game, ''respect''.Respect the players they gave all the could on the day!Support is more important in defeat and all to easy to give in victory .NZ and there staff are incredible but the crowed need some to blame and burn it's just an empty cup without the spirit .

  • 100.
  • At 03:45 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Billy Doyle wrote:

NZ kept trying to mull forward from scrums or rucks when needing a score , or passed to a very flat 3/4 line obviously going nowhere. No other variety such as having some big forwards take the ball running in the middle of the field. They wasted valuable time with these tactics , and McCaw was incapable of doing anything as a player or especially as a captain to change anything. Also Carter was definitely not match fit and should not have played. Well done France, put 30 pts on England !

  • 101.
  • At 04:13 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

Not the best All Black display but would have been good enough on the day, despite losing a halfback and two flyhalves, were it not for the dubious refereeing. Memories of South Africa v France 1995. Demeans what should be a glorious sporting event.

  • 102.
  • At 05:09 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • NZMole wrote:

McAlister an 8?!?! Are you mad? Sale can have him. Drop goal from 50m??? He showed that he is a complete headcase when the going gets tough. No composure, keeps everyone (inculding his own team) guessing to the detriment of the ABs. Kelleher the same.
Unless we get rid of these guys that can't keep their head we will continue to be the World Cup chokers.
Can't blame the ref either. He was average but no drop goal when in the opposition 22 when only 2 points down? McCaw and McAlister needed to recognise the situation and what was needed. Amatuer at best.

  • 103.
  • At 05:33 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • KiwiMole wrote:

McAlister an 8?!?! Are you mad? Sale can have him. Drop goal from 50m??? He showed that he is a complete headcase when the going gets tough. No composure, keeps everyone (inculding his own team) guessing to the detriment of the ABs. Kelleher the same.
Unless we get rid of these guys that can't keep their head we will continue to be the World Cup chokers.
Can't blame the ref either. He was average but no drop goal when in the opposition 22 when only 2 points down? McCaw and McAlister needed to recognise the situation and what was needed. Amatuer at best.

  • 104.
  • At 05:50 PM on 08 Oct 2007,
  • Marc Heritier wrote:


I replayed the Betsen incident at 1/4 speed. He was punched by the oncoming AB 4 as he was attempting to get up. It was about as cynical as I've seen for a long time and I hope he is cited for it. Presumably Betsen will be out of the next game.London

  • 105.
  • At 04:07 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Julia wrote:

Wow and I thought tall poppy sydnrome was an Antipodean thing!

Has everyone forgotten that the AB's only lost one game? sure it was important but nevertheless it was one game..

Yes there are annoying ABs supporters, but lets be honest - every country has its horrendous fans. And 99% of AB fans who aren't arrogant and have the capacity to enjoy a good rugby game are hurting so leave them be!

I would like to thank the All Blacks for providing us with ground breaking rugby and for pushing the envelope for over a century. They may not have great success with the World Cup but they have never been far from the number 1 spot (hence the image of which there are so many complaints on this wall), so as an AB supporter I am happy to support an always exciting and down to earth team.

Good luck to all the remaining teams, and GO SOUTH AFRICA!!!! (one can count on them to actually score tries!! )

Ka kite

  • 106.
  • At 09:30 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • mr vn wrote:

I'm sad for NZ's loss, France wanted it just that bit more. lets not blame players or refs (albeit IRB must use more experienced refs for the big matches & perhaps use 2 video refs to speed up try decisions abit more maybe, use 2 extra touch ref-increase chances of spotting offences made)

NH/SH rugby, personally speaking SH rugby gives so much more enjoyment & is exceedingly more entertaining than current NH rugby.

Would be great if IRB imposed some new rules to significantly limit or even ban kicking in rugby eg into touch-as it is extremely hair pullingly boring to watch as a spectator and does not allow for a fluid game of rubgy.

  • 107.
  • At 09:37 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • mr vn wrote:

I'm sad for NZ's loss, France wanted it just that bit more. lets not blame players or refs (albeit IRB must use more experienced refs for the big matches & perhaps use 2 video refs to speed up try decisions abit more maybe, use 2 extra touch ref-increase chances of spotting offences made)

NH/SH rugby, personally speaking SH rugby gives so much more enjoyment & is exceedingly more entertaining than current NH rugby.

Would be great if IRB imposed some new rules to significantly limit or even ban kicking in rugby eg into touch-as it is extremely hair pullingly boring to watch as a spectator and does not allow for a fluid game of rubgy.

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