BBC Sport Rugby

Rugby's allure fading in New Zealand (295)

By Sean Martin in Wellington - Could it be so? New Zealand, the country that lives and breathes rugby union, is slowly falling out of love with the game?

There was the predictable gnashing of teeth over the All Blacks’ shock World Cup quarter-final exit – it led news bulletins, dominated front and back pages, talkback radio was awash with the topic and web pages were hastily constructed on the subject.

The Foreign Minister even entered the fray to say that the referee was at fault. Heck, even the prime minister and leader of the opposition weighed in with their tuppence worth.

In fact, it seemed everyone had an opinion on why the All Blacks failed: the aforementioned referee, the rotation policy, resting players or a lack of tough matches.

While the disbelief was widespread you got the feeling it was not entirely unexpected. After all, as Kiwis we’ve all been down this road before.

It seems we’ve become somewhat immune to big-time failure.

But the reaction of many of the New Zealand public spoke volumes about how rugby is struggling to retain its place as a crucial part of our social fabric.

Many wrote letters to the editor, called in to talkback shows or wrote on chatrooms to say what was the unthinkable – get over it, it doesn’t really matter.

There was a time when the heart and soul of New Zealand communities was the local rugby club. People’s lives revolved around the game. It gave New Zealanders a sense of identity on a world stage. They were our All Blacks, they were our team, no matter where you lived. There was even an advertisement on television which had people bleeding ‘black’ blood – the implication was that we were all united by the All Blacks.

But that is changing, and it was changing before this latest disappointment, but the latest failure to capture rugby’s biggest prize may hasten that change.

Final whistle, France 20 - 18 New Zealand

Professionalism has created a divide between what used to be the ‘people’s game’ and the people. The All Blacks are no longer ‘just one of the boys’ – they are put on a pedestal, feted and praised and that relationship with the public has been lost – perhaps forever.

And rugby is losing its allure. Fewer players are now taking to the field each weekend. The number of current players in 2007 stood at 136,059 – some 5,000 less than the previous year.

The New Zealand Rugby Union is facing a battle at all levels of the game. According to a survey from Sport and Recreation New Zealand, more young boys are playing football than rugby. The NZRU has allocated NZ$25m (£9.36m) over the next three years to help arrest the slide at both age-group and club rugby levels.

And at the higher echelons of the sport the NZRU is struggling to retain its best players with foreign clubs dangling fat wads of cash, the likes of which the NZRU can’t match, in front of not only All Blacks, but also the next tier of players – thus eating into the depth that NZ rugby has for so long prided itself on.

The financial signs are not good for the NZRU either. Forget the monetary impact of failing to add the world champions tag to the most marketable team in rugby union, last year it lost almost NZ$5 million (£1.87m). And worryingly, this year it will be worse as the impact of a high NZ dollar eats into the NZRU’s bottom line even further. It does have significant financial reserves, but a good portion of this is already earmarked to help fund the 2011 World Cup on these shores.

Rugby is also facing more competition for the public’s sporting attention. The NZ Warriors playing in Australia’s National Rugby League competition captured the imagination by making the play-offs and a new professional football team, the Wellington Phoenix, has averaged home crowds of over 12,000 in its inaugural season – bigger than most crowds for the national provincial rugby competition.

Rugby remains integral to New Zealand and New Zealanders, but its grip on the nation is lessening. To win the right to host the 2011 World Cup, the New Zealand bid played on the fact that the country lived and breathed rugby.

Certainly it is hard to escape with live provincial rugby on television Thursday-Sunday and, in case you missed it, a pay-per-view channel screening only rugby – aptly named the Rugby Channel.

While the sport holds a monopoly on the back pages and the airwaves there exists a growing number who cannot be bothered with the amount of attention the sport receives. It faces a stern test to re-engage with those on the periphery to ensure the 2011 Rugby World Cup is a resounding success.

It is perhaps a sign of a nation maturing, a country more confident in itself, that it no longer needs rugby to identify who it is. It is after all, only a game.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:51 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mat wrote:

I'm a kiwi putting up with a nation in depression, heeeelp!! I love it when we win, when we lose i take it on the chin, because thats sport. Here are a couple of gems goin around:
Whats the difference between the all blacks and a teabag.......the teabag stays in the cup longer!!
Why is an arsonist better than the all blacks?...........An arsonist wouldn't waste 5 matches!! Ya gotta laugh or else you might cry, good world cup, well done france, hats off.

I think it's a combination of the nation realising that All Blacks are human and not invincible. But even more, I think other sports are marketing themselves better.

The best example I have seen was on my last trip back home in June for my Dad's 60th (I live in London). There I was in the Springlands Tavern, home of the Blenheim rugby fan and real Kiwi bloke, and what were they watching on the box and shouting madly at? The netball semifinals.

Maybe we've just realised that the Boys in Black are fallible and that we're actually pretty bloody good at other sports, too.

  • 3.
  • At 11:20 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • ieuan wrote:

I believe this is the first article on this website that has mentioned that the 'peoples game' has been taken away from the people since professionalism. This isn't picked up enough by pundits, journalists, supporters etc.

As for the ABs, they should take heart from the fact that, for once (!), the rub of the green didn't favour them. When the final whistle was blown NZ had lost four very important players to injury - collins, carter, evans and kellerher. The french should have been decent and payed the ABs some "lip service."

  • 4.
  • At 11:24 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Emmanuel wrote:

thanks Matt I was in Cardiff on Saturday and I’m not sure I would have taken the defeat on the as your lots did in the stadium I think the Kiwis have the best bunch of fan cant wait for a rematch in 2011 just don’t be to hard with us when we go down there for a few test!!!

  • 5.
  • At 11:24 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Rob "not" Andrew wrote:


Great comment - I have been out in NZ when the All Blacks have lost and there is almost national mourning. I think a winning mentality is vital but also remember no one is invincible and in a game anything can happen.

It does seem weird that for the second time in 4 years the strongest team(s) are out.

My kiwi rellies have a full sulk on and are ignoring calls and e-mails - shame as "taking it on the chin" seems to have been forgotten. If a team is good enough the ref doesn't matter.

So England / Argentina final?

  • 6.
  • At 11:24 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Jacky wrote:

For heavens sake get over it!!! It really is just a game, no need to get depressed, kick the cat etc. It is about time Kiwis kicked out the concept that the All Blacks are invincible. They are a good team and can beat anyone in the world on a good day but, like any team, they can have bad days. The unfortunate fact is all the other teams raise their game for the World Cup and the All Blacks just expect to win and then are totally surprised when a passionate team beats them. Previous form should be disregarded during the World Cup, national pride takes precedence and most teams display this, singing their national anthem with gusto (I'm afraid our New Zealand team don't even know the words to our anthem) and doing their countries proud. Perhaps it is time the New Zealand team were trained to sing the anthem and perhaps, for once, get the words right.

  • 7.
  • At 11:26 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • nickc wrote:

NZRFU-welcome to the rest of the world. It is about time they faced up to the same problems every other major nation has had for a long time. Union is in 3rd place behind Aussie Rules and League in Australia yet their RFU continues to put out strong and well balanced sides (apart from the scrum which is a different issue entirely). Ireland have football and gaelic games ahead of them and, this World Cup apart, generally do well. And how hard do you think it is for the Argentinian RFU to compete with football?

  • 8.
  • At 11:27 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

As a Welshman, i know only too well the traumas of rugby defeat, so it's a little sad to read this fascinating article. I sympathise with you New Zealand!
The last sentance was interesting, so often is it that sport is a way to express a national identity, which is a great thing, and I'd hope that in 2011 the country's passion for the sport would be re-ignited by hosting the World Cup, and as a result unite the people as was expected to happen this time.
Good luck NZ!

  • 9.
  • At 11:33 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Sidder wrote:

This is such a sad article, when I think of NZ I think of the All Blacks... I still think they are the best rugby team in the world, its sad to think that people are losing interest in the game of rugby in NZ of all places!!!
I really thought the empire won the game for The French, forward passes resulting in tries... NZ also did not play well but they're still the better team...
I'm sure they will be back in 2011, on home soil being the favourites again! Lets hope they can reach the final then!

  • 10.
  • At 11:33 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Japro wrote:

I have to agree with Paddy O'Brien, blaming the ref is absolutely ridiculous. I am a referee and assessor of 24 years experience (and I'm not English either!!) and I've watched the game several times. Mr Barnes had a good game. Granted the try scoring pass looked forward, but I double dog dare you to pick that up on the park at speed. It was a short pop pass with a great many players in close attendance, very difficult believe me. At half time I mentioned to a friend that the ABs were not free and clear and in many ways the French were unlucky to be 10 pts behind. I know it is hip to blame coaches these days, but where was Aaron Mauger and why was Muliana playing centre instead of full back. Graham Henry clearly believed he could pick anybody in any position and still get a result. He's been proved wrong. End of story.

Well, thank goodness for some mature Kiwis who must be embarrassed by some of the whingeing on certain blogs and websites. Yes it was a forward pass, but if you watch games regularly you realise that many such passes go undetected when the movement is fast. In the England-Australia game there was a blatant knock-on near the end by the Australians. Had England lost, no doubt we would have had our plethora of silly comments calling the referee a cheat, etc. If I could reiterate the comments of Matt and Jacky (1 and 2, grow up some of you!

  • 12.
  • At 11:43 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • MisterDavid wrote:

I thought that last little paragraph was very insightful - that maybe New Zealand as a nation have outgrown their 'we are the ABs' identity. I really hope so, I think it'd be very healthy.

I lived in NZ for three years (I'm British), and absolutely love the country & its people, but I could never really cheer for the ABs, even in the Tri-Nations, having seen just how much they dominate the culture and got bored/sick of it. (I don't want to see rugby players modelling underwear!!!)

Since it seems that the Pakeha kids are increasingly playing football, I'm wondering if, in 20 years, rugby in NZ will be more along the lines of league; dominated by Polynesians.

Whatever happens, the ABs will continue to be hugely important, but the country will begin to be represented in more ways than this all-encompassing one. It'll be a really good thing.

  • 13.
  • At 11:46 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Hugh wrote:

Do you think the problem is that some ABs are not Kiwis? Is it that some, deep down, know they should be playing for their Island teams in the World Cup? Is it that their hearts are not quite in it?

  • 14.
  • At 11:48 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • John wrote:

The All Blacks and especially New Zealand Rugby deserves all it gets. They have been creaming off the best players from the South Sea Islands to fill their national side for a long time now. Not only is it unfair it is also disrespectful to their real home nations of Tonga, Samoa, Fiji etc. Perhaps the performances of these nations in these championships will make their hopefulls think twice before selecting to play for New Zealand. Without them what would the All Blacks be...

  • 15.
  • At 11:48 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • joseph cowling wrote:

Let's look on the positive side and say that your last paragraph was correct. I hope it is true, but some of the childish bleatings coming from those in responsible positions in the press and the government, and the hasty way in which the coach was discarded, are not the signifiers we are looking for in a nation laying claims to maturity.

  • 16.
  • At 11:53 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

I wouldn’t push the panic button if I was a Kiwi. They'll always be rugby mad and Saturday's defeat will not change that. Having said that I was delighted to see them getting beaten. The level of cockiness from the NZ press and their lack of respect towards six nation teams is unbelievable. They were assuming the All Black would win the world cup without breaking a sweat.
Graham Henry got what he deserved. I was disgusted with the manor in which the All Blacks made a mockery of the Super 14s tournament by withdrawing most of their players from playing in order to attend conditioning camp.
New Zealand complained that the Lions were moaning too much about Brian O' Driscol. Well looks who's moaning now. To blame the referee for losing to France is pathetic. I also seem to recall that the ABs blamed the South African's for food poisoning them in 1995. If you're going to dish it out, be prepared to take it. The ABs choked again. Accept that it was your teams fault and no one else’s. Get over it.

  • 17.
  • At 11:55 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • alfie noakes the 2nd. wrote:

I feel for NZ and Australia, i guess if England had lost in the last wcup to france, Australia or wales (which could very easily have happened) we english would have been going through the same torture and blame game that the kiwis are having to endure.

No Sir Clive, no open top parade, its not difficult to imagine the c&@p that would have been flying around.

Degress and milimetres are all that seperate the top sides. Yes the underdogs prevailed at the weekend but it could have been very different.

Rugby and this fantastic competition was the winner, lets leave it at that.

To blame the referee is poor and cheap. The poor bloke must be regretting ever getting involved. so I guess there is a loser and all those who have and continue to blame him should be ashamed. It is only a game and all those who believe in it should stand up and be counted.

  • 18.
  • At 11:55 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

Sorry Rob "not" Andrew, but why is this the second time in four years that the strongest teams have gone out? England were world ranked number 1 in 2003 when they won, and this time around South Africa were the second favourites, and Argentina are world ranked number 3.

It seems to me that the main reason both Australia and NZ are out is pure complacency. NZ had a decent lead at half time and played appallingly to not defend/capitalise on it, whilst Australia assumed England would be rubbish and believed their own hype about not having to put much effort in to get an easy victory.

  • 19.
  • At 11:55 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Oliver wrote:

Some great comments made, I think a tournament such as the world cup can bring magical performances as well as huge upsets. The downfall with NZ was they had won the tournament before it had started. two teams who were down and out, England and France are now in the semi finals. No one of the professional sides can be ruled out and I would not be suprised to see a England - Argentina final!!

  • 20.
  • At 11:58 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Rodney Jackson wrote:

" . . . but also the next tier of players – thus eating into the depth that NZ rugby has for so long prided itself on."
The "depth" has been achieved by offering bursaries to promising Pacific Islanders barely in their teens. This has been so successful (RWC aside) that the Aussies followed suit.
Who knows, "my" team, the Springboks might have indeed lost last Sunday to a full, proper "first" Fiji XV. But then the SA squad is not necessarily the strongest as it, just like in the apartheid days when it was eventually rightfully banned by the IRB, is still selected according to racial factors (like the NZ Maoris?).

  • 21.
  • At 11:59 AM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Richard N wrote:

So, Rob not Andrew, for the second time in 4 years the strongest teams are out

In what sense in 2003 were England, ranked 1 in the world and off the back of a 6N grand slam and wins against NZ and Aus in the own backyard, NOT amongst the strongest?

  • 22.
  • At 12:02 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • johncathay wrote:

Before the match, most of the NZ commentators were very sure that this match would a formality.That is called arrogance.
After the defeat, all the excuses are used:the referee, the coach,the tactic,why not the wheather, but never the fact that France was better.That is called arrogance.
If the All Blacks want to remain the beautiful team we respect and admire, it's probably more useful to analyse calmly and fairly the reasons of the defeat.
The arrogance is blind and NZ must now open wide its eyes.Its what we, French, lovers of the beautiful rugby NZ has always given to the world are expecting.
See you in 2011.

  • 23.
  • At 12:05 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

To borrow an expression from Umaga. "Sook"
New Zealand, stop being such sooks. You lost. Stop blaming everyone but yourselve.

  • 24.
  • At 12:10 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • darran mather wrote:

hugh, i suspect the AB's look less AB when you have McCaw and other non-kiwi players of euro-descent looking rather foolish when performing the haka - it looks rather transparent and desperate

for the pure kiwi-rugby experience watch the kiwi's v aussies at league this sunday - now that is what you call real rugby passion

  • 25.
  • At 12:10 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Robster wrote:

So Rob(not Andrew) Twice in 4 years the best teams are out? Can't agree there

Ok Fact. Last World Cup the best team won. They topped the world rankings, they had beaten everyone home and away over the previous year and they just were a superb bunch of talented blokes who worked for each other and Won. It wasn't pretty but they won.
The AB's choked again as they have before. They are a talented bunch but only human and sometimes they lose. It's a shame but tournament sport is like that sometimes. I.M.O we needed this world cup not to be the All Blacks show and having a North V South Final is good for the world game

  • 26.
  • At 12:11 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Eves wrote:

The All Blacks are consistently the best international rugby team year in and year out. It is not so much that they peak before the World Cup Finals it is down to the fact that they choke when the big game really matters and things do not go their way. They lost to a forward pass - tough . To many times I have seen the Kiwis score from a forward pass, after putting a foot into touch and obstructing and late tackling. I have even witnessed a try at Twickenham, by England on a screen as big as an apartment block to then see it disallowed. They are small town boys ( no insult, I wish I was ) and cannot perform at the highest level.Kiwis could also take a leaf out of the Aussie fans book and be gracious in defeat .

  • 27.
  • At 12:12 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • mark wrote:

Another reason for the falling numbers playing RU in NZ is that "white" parents are frightened to let their kids play with the Maori kids. The Maori are so much bigger that this has led to some serious injuries in junior games. Hence the appeal of less contact sports such as football.
And yes, NZ do need to grow up, abit like England football fans do after we inevitably get knocked out of World Cups.

  • 28.
  • At 12:14 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Japro wrote:

Hugh, you might have something there regarding the Islanders, perhaps commitment to the cause is more monetary based than heart based...???, look what can be achieved by sheer will power in the case of Argentina and complete lack of it with Ireland who were the most disappointing of all the teams in this tournament. It used to be you got blood and guts with them with little or no quality. Now they have (on paper) a quality side but no blood and guts. Pity......

  • 29.
  • At 12:15 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Richard wrote:

This is nothing new. Rugby was already losing its dominance over NZ culture at the time of the 1981 Springbok Tour. Since that time, worshipping the All Blacks has been optional.

  • 30.
  • At 12:16 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ian Parley wrote:

One point made by Philippe St. Andre seems to be particularly relevant in explaining the shock defeats of New Zealand and Australia - the regular experience of the English and French players in knockout competitions at the top level. The English and French players have to deal with relegation in the premierships and the Heineken Cup is an ultimate knockout competition. Perhaps the All Black players coming to Europe at the end of the World Cup, and still young enough to return to New Zealand before the next, will gain a mental toughness to go with their undoubted talent. The English and French players may not have the same level of skill and athleticism as their Southern Hemisphere counterparts, but boy do they know how to "dog" out a win when it is needed.

  • 31.
  • At 12:16 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • OddShapedBalls wrote:

I think the comments written about the referee are appauling and if that is the attitude of New Zealand people they should not have the right to host the World Cup in 4 years, give it to one of the progressing Nations.

New Zealands game is BASED on flat passes, with many of them being forward and the number of high tackles commited is a disgrace and I'm sure will not be sorted until someone gets seriously hurt.

Well done France, you've taken the most arrogant Rugby Nation out of the World Cup and for that... I salute you :)

  • 32.
  • At 12:16 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Hugh, get a life. Is Mike Catt English? Is Kevin Peterson English? Lennox Lewis? Why then is Mills not a kiwi (in your view) just because he moved to NZ at the age of 3? Or do you only apply your pathetic small mindedness to NZ? Is Isaac Boss Irish? 10 of the Samoan team were born in NZ. Learn a thing or two about history and immigration trends before you speak, please.

I do not blame the referee for the result. As a Kiwi, I say the better team on the day won. NZ were out-passioned. For anyone to call NZ 'chokers' actually belittles the quality of the French team and their outstanding performance on the day.

However, there are still some serious questions Paddy and the IRB should answer. I was 80m away in the Millenium Stadium and could clearly see straight away when the pass was thrown that it was forward. The yellow card was an awful decision - never a yellow card for just obstruction. Compare that with the use of an elbow to the face of a South African by a Fijian player the next day, seen by the TJ, reported to the referee, that resulted in just a penalty. You tell me what's worse?

Barnes only did his first test match earlier this year. The only reason Paddy's bleating is because Barnes should never have been given this game in the first place. And now he's got the boot for the rest of the Cup. Tri-nations champions v Six nations champions, WC quarterfinal, and we have a refree with less than one years experience at test level. Paddy should admit his mistakes, not lambast his country.

  • 33.
  • At 12:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tim Jackson wrote:

Re: Hugh

To suggest that some of the kiwis' hearts are not quite in it as a reason for their loss is a baffling comment. They're international rugby players representing a nation where rugby is more of a culture than a sport. And you think some of them go into matches half-heartedly? Baffling comment. The point about poaching players is also highly contentious as a lot of New Zealanders end up playing for the polynesian teams and not just the other way around.

  • 34.
  • At 12:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Rob wrote:

It does seem weird that for the second time in 4 years the strongest team(s) are out.

Sorry Rob, but the strongest teams are the ones who win. 4 years ago that was England closely followed by the Aussies. This time it looks likely to be South Africa and France. Until the All Blacks and their supporters get their collective heads round what it actually takes to win an intense knock out comp, they will keep screwing up in crunch matches.

You need to be flexible and learn to win ugly. That's what 'strong' teams do when the chips are down. It really doesn't matter a damn how prettily you can fling the ball about in friendlies.

  • 35.
  • At 12:19 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • OddShapedBalls wrote:

I think the comments written about the referee are appauling and if that is the attitude of New Zealand people they should not have the right to host the World Cup in 4 years, give it to one of the progressing Nations.

New Zealands game is BASED on flat passes, with many of them being forward and the number of high tackles commited is a disgrace and I'm sure will not be sorted until someone gets seriously hurt.

Well done France, you've taken the most arrogant Rugby Nation out of the World Cup and for that... I salute you :)

  • 36.
  • At 12:19 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • ben wrote:

i think the ref had a great game and its a fantastic result for the tournament with France going through. New Zealand were overrated from the start and now we have a tasty looking set of semis. I wouldn't mind who wins from the remaining four clubs

  • 37.
  • At 12:22 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Teamwales wrote:

As a welshman, im hugely disappointed that new zealand didn't win on saturday,in cardiff too! (kiwi's...don't hate cardiff now!). The all blacks have been the best team since henry took over in 2003. They fully deserved to win the world cup from the outstanding rugby they have played and the amount of games they won since then. I felt almost as bad after the game as i did after fiji beat wales!(almost). We were all cheering for you in wales and lets hope the kiwi's keep living and breathing the best sport in the world, as we do in wales. good luck NZ, c u in 2011 for a wales v new zealand final ;-)

  • 38.
  • At 12:23 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

When are the All Blacks (and the Aussies for that matter) going to learn? You can't expect everyone else in the world to go out on the pitch and say "heck, it's the All Blacks, they have such a good playing record we'll let them win this time". You have to win the big matches too!
Complaints about the referee and the oppositions style of play just sound like whinging. Get over it and you might win in 4 years.

England vs South Africa in the final.

  • 39.
  • At 12:24 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Englander wrote:

Oh right Kev, and none of those aforementioned Islanders end up in the ABs? A third of the squad are Islanders, enhancing not detracting from the quality of NZ rugby.

  • 40.
  • At 12:25 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • English Andy wrote:

What a really sad article! If the appeal of Rugby is waining in NZ, then this has a knock on (excuse the pun) around the world...New Zealand IS Rugby Union. World rugby, if it is to grow, needs nations like NZ with their history & passion for the game. Like Football, money seems to be ruining a great sport...

  • 41.
  • At 12:25 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

The All Blacks may hold the number one position in the world rankings, but that says more about the rankings than anything else. A consistent failure to do knockout competitions doees not merit the "best team in the world" tag. Best at what? Branding?

  • 42.
  • At 12:26 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Max wrote:

I agree with post number 8. Welcome to the real world All Blacks and New Zealand. As an Australian living in the UK it is hard explaining to New Zealanders that Rugby Union in Australia just isn't that big of a deal. In Melbourne where I'm from I'm never met anyone who plays or is interested in it; the only people who play the game in Australia are a few private school kids from New South Wales and Queensland! This seems to come as a surprise to most New Zealanders. I mean, you have to spell out to them that beating a team that Australia put out really isn't that big an achievement due to the lack of participation by Australians. But ask a Kiwi and beating Australia in the Bledisloe Cup is the highlight of their sporting year!

It's similar in England (again mostly private school kids playing), South Africa (predominately Afrikaners and white people) France, Argentina, you get my point, in no country is Rugby Union a mainstream sport. And yet New Zealand STILL manages to consistently lose in the World Cup at a sport at which they focus ALL of their energies! It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Hopefully the population will join the rest of the world in realising Rugby isn't a big deal and diversify their sporting interests (like everyone else does...).

  • 43.
  • At 12:31 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • ben wrote:

Mainly a lot of bleating and codswallop. NZ lost. Grow up. One NZ try had a forward pass anyway. Its a shame, they are the best team, but it's a cup not a league, which is why it is so interesting.

2007 RWC so far has been absolutely fantastic sport, the best ive watched for years, if not ever.
2007 RWC versus the Olympic yawnfest or the FWC with the acting and cheating. Dida slapstick versus Hernandez magic. No contest.

:o) Im luvin it!

  • 44.
  • At 12:33 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • bunchofbleaters wrote:

Entirely predictable bleating from NZ - must be the proximity to the sheep. The whole rugby world knows that the All Blacks choked yet again. Blaming the referee is just being in denial. It's probably a good thing that rugby becomes less important as a part of NZ culture if it means their people (as a whole, because there are lots of honourable exceptions) become slightly more grown-up and mature. Well done to France - they kept the faith and gradually undermined that of the AB's, who couldn't change the game plan when their opponents refused to buckle. The best teams are those still in the tournament. It's called winning.

  • 45.
  • At 12:34 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Brendan wrote:

I was another disillusioned kiwi who attended the game over the weekend.. and what a game it was! I enjoyed everything about it.. apart from this horrible feeling I have had ever since the final whistle.
I am only now coming to terms with the weekend, not that we lost.. but that it was the last time we will see this team play together. They have to be one of the greatest AB sides of all time.. how could they not be?
The fact is, if you roll the dice that many times, surely the other teams numbers can come up. 7/8 against the number 2 team in the world is not bad... is it?
Failed? sure.. but I will still be wearing my jersey in the weekend.. brave or stupid? neither, just proud to be a kiwi and an All Black Supporter.

  • 46.
  • At 12:40 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Dean wrote:

Rugby isn't a matter of life or death in Australia or France, but the last 2 World Cups have generated great momentum and been very well supported by the locals. I wouldn't expect increasing popularity of other football codes in NZ to have any negative effect on the support for RWC 2011.
For me (Australian), the ABs are the best national rugby team in the world, regardless of their poor World Cup record. But they are only sportsmen and it would probably do everyone in NZ a favour if they weren't revered as gods - and a lot of my Kiwi friends agree.

  • 47.
  • At 12:42 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • dale_burn wrote:

I've lived outside NZ for 15 years and I don't often give my nationality much thought, except when it comes to the All Blacks. Absolutely nothing makes me feel prouder and more excited to be a New Zealander than when I see the All Blacks doing the haka. The disappointment of Saturday's loss was acute, but I urge fellow kiwi's to maintain your dignity and be proud to be graceful losers. I must say a snippet comment replayed on BBC Radio4 (UK) this morning made by kiwi IRB referee boss Paddy O'Brien saying he was 'sickened' by NZ's response to blaming the ref was in itself extremely disappointing. The media have cut comments from your interview Paddy and it now sounds like you are simply slating your own country - not a good look. Unfortunately it made NZ look 1000x worse and personally I felt like crap hearing it. Please choose your words more carefully next time. I heard the full interview and it sounded more balanced, but sadly your words were taken out of context (funny how the media do that)

  • 48.
  • At 12:43 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Dr Ropata wrote:

I'm a kiwi living in England. I read this mornign about the death threats against the ref and I am totally ashamed.
Is anyone that surprised we lost?
What did it have to do with the ref? We had the best team at the WC again, we didn't win it again. It's not the ref, or Henry, or Taine's fault.
Get over it!

  • 49.
  • At 12:44 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • simon wrote:

I'm a Kiwi who has followed NZ's last three world cups from outside the nation. I think that the depression you can see is a reflection of the emotional investment Kiwis put into the ABs, who are usually our one stable source of pride in a country otherwise generally lacking in confidence and self-assuredness.

What really disappoints me about the trashing of the referee, however justified, is that we begin to sound like Clive Woodward and the many failed British teams who came to NZ, are comprehensively beaten, and go away making weak soundig excuses blaming the referee. Yes, the ref was out of his depth and made some appalling calls, and yes, that may have affected the outcome of the game, but even with that, NZ still had multiple chances to close out the game and failed to take them. Kiwis don't have to give up rugby because of this - but just perhaps learn to be a little more even headed about it all, and realize that we have plenty to be proud of as a nation whether the ABs are winning or not. We'll be back!

  • 50.
  • At 12:47 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mr Charles Champers wrote:

I find it ironic all this teeth nashing and blaming of the English ref Wayne Barnes. For years the ABs have been getting away with cynical cheating and forward passes all over the field, the moment they're sunk by one it's the end of the world and death threats against the ref. It just confirms what I've felt for many years more than the odd NZ Rugby fan is no better than lager fueled English Soccer fans.

  • 51.
  • At 12:49 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

As a devastated Welshman I can empathise with the sense of doom and gloom that the NZ fans must be feeling.

However it smacks of hypocrisy when NZ fans and public figures (NZRU chairman and NZ foreign minister)are obsessing about the referee. As if the AB's have never profited from a referees mistake!

Funnily enough, I thought the ref had an excellent game overall. I know that the French forward pass is getting all the headlines but not one NZ fan (or anyone in fact) has mentioned the fact the the ref missed two NZ forward passes, both by Sivivatu.

The first one was in front of the NZ posts on the 22 in the 15th min. Two minutes later AB's score a try. The second one on the 61st minute on the NZ 10m line. 1 minute later AB's score a try.

The bottom line is, NZ failed to score a point in the last 12 minutes (and only scored 5 in the whole second half). The AB pack suffered from white line fever in the last 5 minutes. Any self respecting England or Springbok fly half would have booted a drop goal.

It's all very well running in tries by the truck load but NZ have got to learn how to win tight ugly games.

  • 52.
  • At 12:50 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Plastic Taff wrote:

New Zealand have the best players but not one of them had the intelligence to go for a drop goal with 2+ minutes left when they were camped in the French 22. Instead, they blame the ref and the coach when they had all the possession, all the territory but were clearly not concentrating on the job in hand. They could have won, they blew it, tough luck, get a life.

Here are a number of other controversial decisions that have favoured the now All Grey Sours (with a bit of Black) in the last 28 years:

Wales Vs All Blacks in 1979, Haden's lineout dive and the interesting penalty for obstruction on Oliver by Geoff Wheel.

Wayne Shelford not being sent off/penalised for retaliation against Wales in the 1987 RWC semi final for his over zealous knocking out of Wales's Huw 'Glass Chin' Richards who was attacking one of his All Black chums (Richards was quite rightly sent off).

Side Show Bob/Doug Howlett's try against Wales in the 2003 RWC group stage was created by a forward pass.

Big matches will always throw up controversial moments. The Kiwis should learn to live with it and not be such a bunch of rugby obsessed bad losers. It is no wonder so many of their population are leaving in droves to do bar work in other countries.

  • 53.
  • At 12:50 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • David Smith wrote:

I think that since the game became professional, something of the dedication beyond reason necessary to win the toughest matches has gone from the ABs. Is there a psychological shifted created when NZers are contracted rugby players playing for money? The ABs as a brand doesn't seem to be working to me. Do they suffer stiff financial penalties when they lose? Maybe we are at our best as quiet, even reticent amateurs and at our worst in this over-hyped professional rugby world.

I think the moaning about the ref etc by my fellow NZers was shameful. The fact is, with 70% possession we should have maintained and increased the score margin. We didn't, we lost and the French deserve the credit.

  • 54.
  • At 12:51 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mo wrote:

The french fought 4 national pride.wat patriotism can u expect from former islanders playin 4 the ab.u can't expect them 2 b as passionate

  • 55.
  • At 12:52 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Nik wrote:

Perhaps now is the time to crack down on the rules for selection of New Zealand players - kick them when down etc....they have punched above their weight for some time now on the basis of taking the cream of the Pacific Islands as their own....Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are penalised as they do not have the allure of the All Blacks, but what would have happened if their best nationals were playing on the wing for them, rather than the Kiwi nation? Would Fiji have triumphed against Southa Africa, Tonga against England? etc..
Stop the Kiwi raping of talent, accept that they are mortal and stop allowing a war dance before every game - or can we have the thin red line compete with bayonet as our pre-match intimidation technique?!?

  • 56.
  • At 12:55 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • darran mather wrote:

wanna see the right way to perform the haka by proper kiwis and the consequences of expressing disrespect when its performed?

you won't be dissapointed

  • 57.
  • At 12:57 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

As an Englishman I have mixed feelings. Obviously the Kiwis are despairing and every nation (including we English) knows about sporting heartbreak. As for the game it wasn't the Ref who cost you -it was seemingly the fact that no-one had thought through the problem of what do to if NZ are losing in a high pressure situation. NZ did not work out beforehand how they could be losing and have a plan for overturning it. It was a lack of on- field leadership that other less able but winning teams usually have. To me it seems ultimately a lack of scenario planning because of AB dominance since the last WC -a victim of your success. But take pride in the fact that the ABs set the standard; they always set the standard and beating them is a great feat. NZ should take great pride in that fact because every Rugby fan can see how good they are -that they are the best. How can this represent failure? It would be a shame for NZ to switch off to Rugby and allow this to dissipate.

But next time around be more humble and try to stop making everyone else feel that each game you play is some sort of training game for the next (and implied) greater challenge ahead. That is disrespectful to your opponents and can lead as in this case to your own downfall.

Finally, play whatever part you can in breaking down this tiresome Northern versus Southern hemisphere rivalry. Rugby needs to be a global game of differing styles with the AB's at the forefront.

  • 58.
  • At 12:57 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

In the early 1990's when rugby was still amateur people were worried about players going to League, then throughout the early part of the professional era there was always the chance to go to bigger money in the UK, players haven't bothered. There is always an outflux of players from NZ after the WC, as there was a year after the 95 world cup when Sean Fitzpatrick, Brook x2, Olo Brown, Craig Dowd, Ian Jones, Michael Jones, Graham Bashop, Marc Ellis amongst others all left - they were all replaced. The NPC is loaded with young quality players, they might take time to get to international standard but they will eventually. The only place where this massive influx of players will cause harm is in Europe where local players will not get a run as all the positions will be taken up by Kiwi's, Safa's, Argies and the Aussies - look at the premiership's affect on the England football team!

One poor performance (which involved them loosing by 2 points to the team 3rd favorites to win the WC and ranked 3rd in the world) does not make a bad team. The press here will live off this because it's such a rarity they can slate them between being beaten heavily - tall poppies syndrome and all that.

  • 59.
  • At 12:57 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Roger wrote:

Interesting comments but having lived in NZ and listened to what the public want, you can´t help feel that the NZRU are the people shooting themselves in the foot. Before the tri-nations was renegotiated a lot of people wanted Argentina to join (a way could have been found). Not even the players wanted to play each other 3 times but that was what was negotiated. So tell me, which are teams that really made the RWC interesting - Argentina, Fiji, Georgia, Tonga. Instead of the 3 nations, the SH could have had a six nations tournament that attracted public attention as opposed to the same old thing again and again.

  • 60.
  • At 12:58 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mathew wrote:

I must confess I wasn't surprised to see the All Blacks get knocked out of the comp. I have watched them over 20 years and there is no doubting how great they are. They epitomise rugby union, in a way that Brazil epitomise football. However, too many times they've failed to win the big one and if I was a kiwi (which Im not) I would be asking that question.

As an Englishmen, who watched the England 2003 team deliver, there are comparisons to make with the 03 England team and NZ teams. England were awesome over 2/3 years and delivered. But to be continously no1 and people expecting you to deliver time and time again would be very hard, near on impossible. I think NZ are victims of their dominance and the pressure at home and abroad to continually win is too much.

Man for man they are the best and collectively too. Short term pressure is good and the adrenaline flows, but continous longterm pressure is a killer, you start to implode and it becomes detrimental and effects your performance.

Winning is a habit and losing " when the pressure is on" is a habit too.


  • 61.
  • At 01:01 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Warren wrote:

rugby is still our nations sport and the only thing to change that is the influx of more and more immigrants into NZ. they dont play rugby they aint hard enough. I love NZ and I love the All Blacks, losing on Saturday was painful, but I'll support them forever!

Lets be postitive and make the RWC in 2011 just for rugby teams around the world with a kiwi influence...oh that would be every team in the world!

Kia kaha

  • 62.
  • At 01:04 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

A national identity based on something as capricious as sport just creates a culture of denial and consequent lack of maturity.

  • 63.
  • At 01:06 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

After being subjected to some seriously over the top goading and attitude in Wellington High Street after the 2nd Lions Test, I've got to admit I'm loving the dummy throwing by a lot of the Kiwi's.
Whilst the Kiwi media were praising the British fans attitude to defeat, I can only assume their fans must have been celebrating by chasing sheep in the hills to take any of it on board. Sure it hurts, but you smile, take a beer and get on with it.
How a nation can be so relaxed and friendly in normal life, but so far up their own arse regarding rugby is beyond me.

  • 64.
  • At 01:07 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • JensenScores wrote:

Can't help thinking the easy victories against the Lions did no favours for the ABs. But Lions teams aren't a good barometer of the NH game. It's hit and miss. Lions teams are a temporary collection of talented players who might or might not work well together. No comparison to a national squad playing together for a few years and fired up by playing for their country, especially in a World Cup. OK so France don't contribute to the Lions but there appears to be a single view taken in Aus/NZ of the 6 Nations scene overall.

  • 65.
  • At 01:09 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Gregor wrote:

Just a note on the supposed 'poaching' of island players by NZ. A lot of these players come to NZ with their families when they are still young and grow up and are schooled in NZ. If people are complaining about this we can also bring in players like Mike Catt, Matthew Stevens - both from South Africa but play for England. Pieter de Villiers, also from SA but plays for France. There are a number of cases of this and I get sick and tired of hearing about only NZ and Aus 'stealing' island happens throughout the game. Live with it.

  • 66.
  • At 01:10 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Burnett wrote:

Isn't this all slightly over the top. The difference between the two teams was 2 points. France got on top after a dubious sin-binning, 4 crucial players were lost in quick succession and a fairly obvious forward pass went unpunished. Apply those stats to any team in the cup and your going to lose. At the end of the day 2 good teams hammered hell out of each other for 80 mins and France got the rub of the green, I just hope they can go on and win it. As for the ABs they will always be the best - the skill levels leave everyone else in their wake. I'm Welsh and personally it was the worst decision Wales ever made when they sacked Henry - he's a visionary, and a superb tactician.
You didn't see him making excuses on saturday - just took it on the chin like the true sportsman he is.

  • 67.
  • At 01:16 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • dan wrote:

the french fans showed up the kiwis in all ways. classier, funnier and warmer. the kiwis were good too but that hint of arrogance is so off putting. I am English and had a great day. I was in the Millenium Stadium and supported the French. why? Cos I just wanted to be able call the Kiwis bottlers for four more years.

  • 68.
  • At 01:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • wayne wrote:

Hi All,

Being a kiwi fan who was at the game I'm getting a bit annoyed at all these "arrogant" claims. Yes, some corners (mainly media) are blaming refs, etc but most kiwis accept they lost to the better team - Ask anyone at the stadium that night. Thats sport and it was an amazing occasion. However, having lived over here for 9 years every time NZ lose the comments are usually "overrated/arrogant/blah...". Facts are we are consistently number 1 no matter what time period and have expectations at that level which is amazing for a nation of only 4M people with 100k playing rugby. Compare that with Englands 56M people and half million adult players and you will see the gap. Yes, its our nations sport and has defined our otherwise unimportant nation sice inception. Yes, we have pacific island players but if anyone would go to NZ they would realise there are actually more pacific islanders living in NZ than in the islands themselves and it offers them a lifeline so why wouldnt they? i also note that with Englands size you still have a number of foreign players yourselves and i won't even comment on the player drain from NZ to Europe clubs/countries. As for pride, Im proud to support a team as humble as the Blacks and hope to see you all in NZ in 2011 so you can see for yourselves how "arrogant" we are.

  • 69.
  • At 01:20 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Old Rob wrote:

As a Brit, I would make the following comments:

1. The AB were huge odds-on favourites, odds were 50:1 - so why did the game turn on 2 points?
2. The ref was human and made a mistake, but as one of your respondents commented, if you're that good the ref doesn't matter (remember the final in 2003!!!)
3. Perhaps some of the NZ support is waning because there are too many South Sea Islanders wearing the black shirt?
4. If the AB don't win in 2011 then you really do have probs.

  • 70.
  • At 01:20 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • HoseyG wrote:

All this talk of arrogance is ridiculous. Everyone I know here in NZ was nervous about playing the French (based on our previous WC record) and the team definately was wary of the French, maybe too much. Possibly they tried too hard. Most people here are disappointed especally over the blatant forward pass being missed but that is irrelevant as the players didn't perform and were out passioned by the French and this is the commonly accepted here. At no point has Graham Henry or any of the players blamed the ref or any other factors other than commending the French on their performance; how this translates to arrogance is beyond me. As for the guy from Melbourne and his rant about Australia having a few private school rugby players and the rest play other sports, well Australia has about the same number of participating rugby players as there are playing in NZ (of course Aust has over 5 times the population so it just about evens out). Anyway, he can stick to his Aussie Rules, where in their ultimate showcase, the Grand Final, between 2 club teams, the winning team won by 120 points. Yes, that's right, 120 points. What a finale that must have been. Too bad I was watching a worldwide sport that nations around the world play ans seeing 4 captivating QF rugby matches.

  • 71.
  • At 01:23 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • robbo wrote:

A number of English bloggers seem to be repeating the red herring about NZ stealing Pacific Islander players, or that the latter mightnt have their hearts in it. As an unbiased Aussie, let me defend NZ, before this page is swamped by righteously indignant Kiwis.

The reason for all those Islanders in the All Blacks is economic migration, particularly from Samoa, which was basically an NZ colony after WWI. None of the current AB's grew up and learnt their rugby on a Pacific Island. Most of the Samoan and Tongan teams, however, grew up in NZ. Same applies to australia by the way - Tuqiri in Aust. since age 3, Palu and George Smith born in Australia.

Saying that these people arent really NZ or Australian, is a bit like saying Monty Panesar, Nasser Hussein, Paul Sackey or Rio Ferdinand shouldnt play for England in various sports. Or is that what some of you think?

Yes there are rugby scholarships which could be a problem in the future but its not a significant part of the current equation.

  • 72.
  • At 01:25 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • steve wrote:

It's about time people stopped using the ref as an excuse for a loss. decisions go both ways and in the past I have seen NZ get some nice tries from a forward pass.
NZ just didn't perform at their best, is it they thighten up in pure knock out rugby or is it they just get complacent?
The French stuck at it and wanted it more in the end.

  • 73.
  • At 01:27 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Devilsadvocate wrote:

I think the point is often missed here. Rugby more than any game represents true sport.

When you walk on that pitch each side has an equal right ot win. Reputation is nothing. No side deserves to win on past performance.

This NZ team reminds me of the England football team; a group of super talented players united only by thier ability to consistently underperform on the big stage. For 1966 read 1987.

  • 74.
  • At 01:27 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

There are a number of myths (some provoking debate in the comments here) about New Zealand rugby spread by a small number of poorly informed and ignorant journalists (all Kiwis know who I am talking about).

Let's reason - ABs are the most attractive rugby team to watch and represent a country so isolated and population so small that I think they should be forgiven for very occasionally losing a match - especially one ultimately decided on such an obvious forward pass.

Rugby needs the ABs - cut them some slack.

P.S I'm English

  • 75.
  • At 01:27 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • honesthappyscotsman wrote:

I think the AB's need to be very careful at the moment, the arrogance they have shown before and throughout the tournament has been shocking.

Yes they are a very strong team and on pre-tournament form were the favourites. However they are in danger of turning into the English by overdoing the "confidence"

The change in the Haka, pretty cynical attempt to intimidate the oposition shows that they believe themselves to be better or different from the opposition.

The AB's used to be everyones second team now they are not due to arrogance and the fact they no longer play beautiful rugby, instead relying more on cheap shots from Collins and McCaw, followed closely by Williams who must have gone to the same school as Danny Grewcock!!

  • 76.
  • At 01:30 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

There are 8 Island born players in the AB's.
The players migrated with their families, those claiming they were poached should cite whom and how. I have yet to see any case for it for any player in the current team. So make my day.
The idea that people raised in New Zealand with their families are not fellow Kiwis with those born here is ludicrous.
It might seem that some feel that players should be either born in the country, or as a descendant of those that were. Yet if this was so, they would not accept so readily people qualifying to play by residency (consider the England cricket team and their South Africans or de Villiers and a Kiwi born former midfield back for France).
The point the article should have made - is that as a society takes in more migrants and develops, it becomes more diverse and becomes less mono-cultural. This effects it's earlier singular aspects - community centred around, church, pub and a sport. This change is now decades old, yet perceptions of New Zealand lag behind. Otherwise amateur sport and all voluntary activity is in decline because of changes to a competitive market economy - more people working, longer hours etc

  • 77.
  • At 01:31 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Paulo wrote:

I think Saturday's result was a triumph for rugby in general. The All Blacks seemed to view the tournament as an unnecessary six week exile in France to get hold of what they percieved to be rightfully theirs. The arrogance and lack of sportsmanship displayed by them over recent years was in many ways repaid in kind by a world who is tired of the excuses. You've not won the world cup in a long time boys, maybe the IRB should start asking refs to "bias black"? Or more controversially you could get on and play the game.

  • 78.
  • At 01:32 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:


So you admit it was obstruction but don't think that warrants a yellow card? You claim to have been at the MS but seem to now ignore that the obstruction was right in front of your try line and denied France a good chance of a Try.

It was a cynical proffesional foul and 100% deserved a yellow card.

For kiwis to be bleating on about a forward pass is hilarious, the country that invented the forward pass. The AB's throw so many forward, oh i forgot- flat 'eyebrows raise' passes its not funny.

For once new zealand got reffed properly, and not for the first time lost an important knock out match. Maybe the all blacks should get a little tougher mentally and stop looking for excuses year after year.

  • 79.
  • At 01:32 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Max - I think you're being hard on NZ and its fascination with rugby. To be fair to them (I'm English) they have a population less than Scotland, yet have constantly dominated a major international sport. Australia, and especially England and South Africa, have a huge population base in comparison to NZ, so its not surprising they don't have a whole range of teams dominating major sports. That they excel in one is amazing for a country of their size.

And I do mean excel - they're brilliant, and I for one love watching the All Blacks when they visit the UK - the reason they don't win the WC every time is not because of Pacific Island-born players wanting to play elswhere (stupid comment) or their arrogance. They have simply lost against excellent opponents in a knock-out competition. It happens. It'll go their way one WC soon.

  • 80.
  • At 01:37 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mac Eddey wrote:

I was very happy to see France win - not as a thing against the All Blacks but because of the way they hung in there and played rugby.

The yellow card WAS deserved - deliberate cynical obstruction is a yellow card offence. Yes, the pass may have been forward but the reason so many Kiwis were able to spot it is that forward passes go unpunished - along with head-high tackles, spear tackles and sundry other forms of violence in the super 14s every week.

Part of the problem for Southern Hemisphere sides is that the standard of refereeing they enjoy in such competitions is poor. Every attempt is made to 'let the game flow' and to hell with the rules or the ugly, doggy bits like scrummaging. Straight put ins? Don't make me laugh. Rugby League scrums more like.

Yes, there are some wonderful SH backs but the beauty of Rugby football is that you can play if you're big or small, fast or slow, there is a position you can master. There is more to it than throwing the ball around like Sevens.

I love to see Rugby played well - by any nation, even the Welsh! I hate to hear supporters of any nation moaning about the result, the refere, etc. Rugby is a sport. One of the endless fascinations of sport in general is that it can be unpredictable and throw up unexpected results. If the accepted 'best team' won every time, the other teams wouldn't bother going across the whitewash.

Every team must be able to believe they have a chance. The ones that don't and put out weakened sides, like Scotland - are actually being quite cynical.

Australia and NZ felt they could win by just showing up. Fortunately England and France had other ideas. I only wish the Fijians had been able to sustain their brilliant effort. Good luck to the teams left in. Let's hope that those going home - as they believe - too early will have learned a valuable lesson in humility. It only remains for one-eyed AB fans to embrace the same lessons.

  • 81.
  • At 01:37 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • IRISHLAD wrote:

Poor old Kiwi's - Not sure if I agree with this Blog though -

I think player numbers are reducing because of the inherent risks in playing. And as for the interest in the AB's - THEY HAVE JUST BEEN KICKED OUT OF THE WC!!!

Bottom line - NZ had 10 minutes to get a score - which they should have been able to do - BUT they failed and are out.

They have consistently been head and shoulders above the rest of the other rugby nations particularly since Henry took over 4 years ago.

One word - choke - I know, I'm Irish!!

  • 82.
  • At 01:38 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Gazza wrote:

Respect to Brendan and Warren, i agree with you guys 100% and im a South African. Your All Blacks side was definitely one of the most potent i have ever seen and my heart literally skipped a few beats when i saw you guys get knocked out, i was really hoping for a NZ vs SA RWC final. 2 nations that love rubgy implicitly,what more could you ask for. I think France defended really well but im sure the result would have been different if you hadn't lost so many key players in such a short space of time. I feel horrible for Richie McCaw,he played some incredible rugby during the tournament and deserves alot better. I hope you boys back the Bokke

  • 83.
  • At 01:45 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • I.M.Fedupwivit wrote:

re comment 63. Graham Henry had plenty of success with Wales before taking AB's to world domination did he ?

  • 84.
  • At 01:45 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Re the Islander v NZ native controversy...

Yes, I understand that NZ attracts and welcomes many migrant families from the Pacific. The economy of the South Pacific islands is so very limited that the attraction of a vibrant country with genrally welcoming population is very great. That is still so even though the vast majority of the immigrant population then lives in the worst housing and social conditions, just as elsewhere in the world.

I think that, ignorance aside, the NH perspective is clouded by the idea that those of Island heritage then CHOSE to play for the ABs rather than their 'own nation'. And there IS truth in that.

These are all perfectly understandable choices - Michael Jones chose to play for the ABs cos it made the most of the huge talent he had, just as much as doubtless it was a wise career choice. The NZRU are doing nothing wrong by offering these guys places in sides either. has lead to there being some little part of truth in the assertion that NZ is South Pacific (A), and Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are left with best of the rest.

By the by, I am married to a Kiwi girl who was there when Barry John scored against the Universities in 197?2 Mostly she now supports Wales but I do what I can (England....)

  • 85.
  • At 01:46 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • willywonker wrote:

13. At 11:46 AM on 09 Oct 2007, Hugh wrote:
Do you think the problem is that some ABs are not Kiwis? Is it that some, deep down, know they should be playing for their Island teams in the World Cup? Is it that their hearts are not quite in it?

Did you really see any actual evidence of this? To blame a few "none Kiwis" for New Zealands defeat is massively insulting to the players that would have worked incredibly hard, as hard as "proper" Kiwis,in preparation and in performance. Your statement is verging on racial slurring!

  • 86.
  • At 01:49 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • BAIR wrote:

Sat 6 Oct. Pub in London. Eng vs Aus. Lots of passion and banter from both sets of supporters for 80 mins. Eng win, Aussies - albeit disappointed - gracious in defeat, as they were in 2003.

Four hours later, same pub. France vs NZ. Lots of passion and banter from both sets of supporters for 80 mins. France win, Kiwis anything but gracious in defeat.

NZ lost to a better team. That happens to all teams in all sports. I suggest NZ take reassess their self-labelled 'best rugby nation in the world' tag - it will be 24 years come 2011 - and realise that there are other nations out there who are better. Fact.

  • 87.
  • At 01:52 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • KiwiPom wrote:

What a brilliant advertisement the past weekend has been for Rugby Union.

As a kiwi who has lived in the UK for the past 10 years and having been 'force fed' football from all corners here, you have to say that football will never come up with a double header like that where the 'underdog bares all its teeth'!

Congrats to the England and French teams for their resolute defences and courage under fire !

I must admit that with the memory of the All Blacks demise in 1999 still fresh in my mind (only because I gloated rather too loudly about how much we would win by on the Friday, only to be laughed at extremely loudly on the Monday back at work), I made it very clear this time around to my friends and work collegues, that I wouldn't be surprised if the AB's had another nail biter and finished up on the wrong end of the result. Lets face it, the French can be breath taking on any day of the week, I can still see Serge Blanco now, cutting the AB's to pieces from one end of the park to the other not that long ago!

As for the Ref, he actually had a great game and the forward pass and yellow card moments could of happened either which way, and great teams always prevail, no matter what is dished out. The All Blacks have had more than there fair share of calls go their way when they should not have over the years and these things tend to 'even out' over time. No kiwi fan could argue with that. The way the Ref spoke to the players that I could hear on the coverage seemed to me as if he had an excellent grasp on the control of the match and players too. Lets hope he controls a few more top class games in the future. I am sure he will prove his quaility at this level.

As for all the Kiwi Fans out there, lets all be honest - The best team won, for the AB's to have close on 70 per cent of the ball and not win, well that does show you which team was committed the most!!

Lets all show some humility and salute the French as I am sure they would of done had the result been the other way.

Lets now all hope the remaining 3 matches provide us with as much excitement as the past weekend.


  • 88.
  • At 02:00 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Thundercat wrote:

After being subjected to some seriously over the top goading and attitude in Wellington High Street after the 2nd Lions Test, I've got to admit I'm loving the dummy throwing by a lot of the Kiwi's.
Whilst the Kiwi media were praising the British fans attitude to defeat, I can only assume their fans must have been celebrating by chasing sheep in the hills to take any of it on board. Sure it hurts, but you smile, take a beer and get on with it.
How a nation can be so relaxed and friendly in normal life, but so far up their own arse regarding rugby is beyond me.

  • 89.
  • At 02:02 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Susan Taylor wrote:

Surely the events of the weekend are exactly what makes any decent sport so enthralling to watch. There are no absolutes, no foregone conclusions and sometimes the mighty are humbled. France beat New Zealand and England beat Australia and that, my friends, is a fact! Both were great games and in both the best team, on the day, triumphed. France simply outplayed New Zealand and England outplayed Australia. As Mr taylor frequently says to me "Take that!"

  • 90.
  • At 02:08 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • honest tim wrote:

why do so many of these blogs - including this one - bleat on about teams that have been knocked out of the tournament?

concentrate on the teams who are still involved and worry about the losers in another 4 years time.

  • 91.
  • At 02:09 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

"It does seem weird that for the second time in 4 years the strongest team(s) are out."

Thoroughly confused by this comment considering one of the pre-tournament favorites ended up winning in 2003. You don't get to be a favorite by being a weak team.

  • 92.
  • At 02:13 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Timbo wrote:

Re Max's comment (Post 40) - Rugby in England is NOT the preserve of a few 'private school kids' by any means. Having spent a few years coaching juniors at a small club, you can take my word for it that young players come from any and all sectors of the population - there were quite a few in my squad who were obviously not that well cared for at home - hardly the thing you'd see from 'private school' parents.
And as for rugby losing its appeal in NZ, it probably has to and then the AB's have a mission they can focus on: to bring the nation back to the game.

  • 93.
  • At 02:13 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Frank wrote:

For all these guys that is saying the 4 strongest teams are out surely forgot about one side........ namely the Springboks.
The Boks have been the 2nd favorites after the AB's and now that they have left the RWC the Boks are the new favorites. Yeah the ref's do make mistakes however the AB's just had a very bad game against a awesome display of the French (178 vs 36 tackles; much higher ball posession and territory % for AB's) and they just could not beat the French. The game plan was not good and the guys started to panic after 25+ phases just could not score. Also keep in mind the penalty against!!!!! I was hoping for a NZ vs SA final, however not to be .....maybe in 2011. For now go Bokke (England vs Argentinia final you wish) SA all the way!

  • 94.
  • At 02:14 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ivan wrote:

Max (comment 41) suggests that Rugby Union is principally a sport played by private school pupils (referred to as 'public schools' here in the UK).

Rugby is also the sport of choice in a number of state schools, particularly Grammar schools, and is then carried on in 'Old-Boy' junior Rugby clubs where the game is often introduced to locals living in the locality who did not play Rugby at school.

As for Rugby Union not being mainstream, the RWC is now the 3rd biggest sporting event in the World (after the Olympics and Football World Cup).

Irrespective of who wins this tournament, although I will urge on England, I hope the IRB will ignore the calls to cull four teams from the 2011 and instead concentrate on helping the so-called minnows.

The way Tonga, Georgia, Samoa et al performed with so little in the way of resources was humbling and I believe the IRB should at least provide a decent level of accommodation for each team represented and force clubs to release players for training and matches for all competitions.

Additionally each of the relatively-rich top 8 countries should be made to take at least one minnow under their wing and help the game to flourish everywhere.

  • 95.
  • At 02:18 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

One more comment.

The best team won on the day, no doubt about that.

However, comments like "How a nation can be so relaxed and friendly in normal life, but so far up their arse regarding rugby is beyond me" or "they are not the best in the world" is ludicris.

England, your top sport is not rugby, its football. Many an english football fan are so far up their arse its beyond me.

Its the same thing people!

Who would argue that brazil is not the top footballing nation in the world? yet when they don't win a world cup they are are simply not world champions, however they are still the top footballing nation in the world.

Its the same thing people. Rugby is new zealands everything, football is englands everything, everything is australias everything, the USA have gridiron.

Why can't we all just get along?

  • 96.
  • At 02:19 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Martin Connor wrote:

I dont personally think there is just one reason behind yet another AB failure at the Rugby World Cup. There could be many reasons but if i had the answers then im sure i could make a quick call to the NZRFU and make myself a small fortune. The AB's have been ranked No.1 in the IRB world rankings since June 2004, and deservedly so. They havent just became a bad team overnight and because of one narrow defeat. Is it psychological? Did they just expect to turn up in France (or Wales) and walk off with the prize with minimum effort? Who knows? They lost a rugby match, it happens. They have won the Bledisloe Cup more times than Australia, they have triumphed more in the Tri Nations, with 8 wins, than their two opponents combined total, Australia and South Africa with 2 wins respectively. Yet the big one, old Bill himself, has eluded them since they won it in the inaugural tournament (in NZ, the venue in 4 years so who knows) and then had to hand it over to their near neighbours and fiercest rivals in 91. I dont see why all the doom and gloom. They are still in a very exclusive club, only 4 countries have won the cup thus far, and pretty decent teams they were as well. Could become 5 if the French manage to keep their heads. Its not bad company to be in. So dry your eyes boys, and girls. The mighty AB aura has maybe taken a little dent but remains intact. Im Scottish, how do you think i feel?

  • 97.
  • At 02:24 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • byebyeaussies&nz wrote:

I can't decide what has been more enjoyable: seeing Australia and NZ dumped out of the WC or the post match whinging of our former colonies! So much fun! It really must be hurting. Ha ha ha ha!!!!! In all seriousness we now have Aussies and Kiwis saying the rules need to be changed!!! It's just priceless.

Never mind what's happened currently has anyone seen the list of players who aren't ever going to win a World Cup medal? check this out, it's painful!!!!

  • 99.
  • At 02:36 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Help OZNZ wrote:


For any Aussies and Kiwis struggling to cope with the events of the disaster that has unfolded in France two special helplines have been set up:

Aussies can call 10-12-20-17 ask for a Mr John O'Neil

Kiwis can call 1987-2018,ask for a Mr Wayne Barnes

  • 100.
  • At 02:36 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Lets not fool ourselves this is the 5th tournament in a row that the kiwis have put away weak teams and then bottled it against a sterner opposition.

What is interesting is the childish "we were cheated" approach they take. There have been claims over the years of referees getting gold watches, the all blacks being poisoned, referees cheating them and purposely creating dummy court cases against their players.

Their attitude was shown last time when they said the RWC should play second stage to the NPC. Wake up and smell the coffee! No one team has a devine right to win a tournament and its dedication over the long haul that succeeds. We all love running down hill but its the up hill run that sets the men apart from the boys.

  • 101.
  • At 02:38 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Micky wrote:

Re: foreign-born players
This link is very informative:,21043,13089_2760268,00.html

Importers amongst the major teams:

Italy - 15
Samoa - 14
Scotland - 10
New Zealand - 8
Australia, Wales - 7
England, France, Ireland - 4
Argentina, Fiji, South Africa, Tonga - 1


New Zealand - 27
South Africa - 16
England - 13
Argentina, Tonga - 8
Fiji, Samoa - 5
Australia, France - 3

Hopefully now people will stop moaning about who's foreign and who's not. This coming from a Bok supporter who cheered for France all along (until they run into SA that is).

  • 102.
  • At 02:40 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • James wrote:

KiwiPom - I salute you.

On the islander issue, nothing that New Zealand, or anyone else, does contravenes the IRB's regulations and so there is no point in anyone else complaining about it. The rules re. qualification are different from those in football where a player has to have at least one grand parent born in the country that they represent. However, the examples thrown back aren't any better - in the cases of Mike Catt, Matt Stevens, Kevin Pietersen and Nasser Hussain at least on eof their parents is English, and the others named (Paul Sackey, Monty Panesar and Rio Ferdinand) were all born in England and have always been British citizens.

  • 103.
  • At 02:41 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • lee wadsworth wrote:

after reading this i'm a little dissapointed, as a welsh man this weekend of rugby was the best i've ever veiwed without wales being involved!!! englands gameplan - spot on, frances pure passion and desire to over turn a rusty? lathargic? favourite - excellent, a fijian comeback to rock sa, almost inspiring, a tactical argy side turn over a slightly lacking scottish performance - beautifull!! i don't care what anyone says the best tournament teams are in the semi's!!! especially the french, lose their opening game and go on to score hatfulls of tries in the group, while a good opening kiwi performance then a few lacklustre ones, history tells us this cup is all about momentum, the french had it and so did the argies and english!! hope the semis and final are half as good as these WORLD CLASS quarters!!!

  • 104.
  • At 02:42 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • sean wrote:

This is a stupid article. The love of rugby has nothing to do with maturity. In France they accept this passion as the stuff life is made of, whereas your reporter is advising a PC school teacher style approach to supporting the game.

There are tragedies happening every day that puts this loss into perspective, and a game is insignificant in comparison to them. but all in life is a futile endeavour and things only have the meaning that we give them. to support my team with die hard fervour is how i prefer to do it. if your school teacher/reporter prefers to say "never mind, as long as i can sit in my 3 bdr home with my consumerist possessions" then in my opinion it is he who needds to re-address how he approaches his life.

  • 105.
  • At 02:45 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • kwajimu wrote:

The best teams are the ones that win world cups, which NZ has done but once.

I was surprised that England had the better of the match against the Aussies, and I was surprised that France looked so much better than NZ.

But that's the way it was, in truth, when all was said and done - anything else is just bleating.

I have watched NZ rack up an enviable record in internationals between world cups, only to lose consistently in world cups to the very teams they beat in between.

The answer is that other countries are using many of the international matches to experiment and blood new players. They dopn't care about the result of these matches, because they accept that the reults don't really matter. These countries may lose the 'in-between' tests against the likes of NZ, but they win world cups, and they sometimes win six nations championships and tr-nations titles (and, yes, I know that NZ has won many a Tri-Nations title).

But NZ's apparently impressive record between world cups is not as impressive once you look at the players making up the sides of the countries they are beating. Other countries are using these supposed 'Test Matches' against the more naive sides like NZ, to give the players they will rely upon at the next world cup the international experience they will need to win.

And they are also carefully taking the measure of sides like NZ who rashly and ill-advisedly play their top players in every game.

Some NZ pundits have now spotted this practice, and are complaining about the devaluation of Test rugby.

I'm not sure I agree.

'Test' rugby should be a description reserved for competitive games only. Everything else is a 'friendly', and will be used by the smarter coaches for the try-out purposes described above.

NZ produces (and subsumes!) some very good rugby players, without a doubt. But this world cup is giving the lie to the All Blacks' apparently fearsome 'Test Match' reputation. It - and the team - are just not as good as they appear to be.

The world cup consistently demonstrates that.

  • 106.
  • At 02:46 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

NZ hasnt learnt fom 2003. and probably wont learn in 2011. To win some 99% 0f games over the previous years don't count.In the World cup you need to win 3 on the trot, and experience, experience, experience measured in tests played and familiarity in the position as well as with those around you,(Cf Australia and Dad's arms) Where was Mauger, Howlett and dare I say Weipu (Nonu would have been handy on the bench)

  • 107.
  • At 02:47 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • rob wrote:

AS always there is a lot of rubbish spoken on this site...the facts are that forward passes are unacceptable and the do make a massive difference if a try results form one being missed.Every nation has suffered at the hands of a missed fwd pass or a missed knock on etc, NOT JUST THE ALL BLACKS. WE need to make sure that we use everything at our disposal to make the game fair...HOWEVER, you cannot complain about the missed pass if you don't complain also about the lack of strict refereeing at the breakdown, players in front of the back foot and making no real attempt to tackle(just flying shoulder barges!) Now if these infringements were penalised I think the likes of Tonga, Samoa, NZ would probably concede more than any other team and the resulting penalties (lets say half of which would be kickable) would amount to more than 5 points a game(do u see what I'm driving at AB fans?)

  • 108.
  • At 02:50 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Patrick wrote:

If Kiwis are bored by endless scrums and lineouts; rate scoring tries as being more important than winning via drop-kicks and penalities; consider the ability to catch and pass a rugby ball as being fundamentally important in a rugby player (as oppossed to an optional extra) and dislike forward passes, then I suggest they do what people who take rugby seriously in Australia and England do: watch Rugby League.

  • 109.
  • At 02:55 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • MattDanford wrote:

Instead of just laughing and making fun, I feel the need to point out the disgusting generlisations of some people on here - it's every part of what is pushing people like me, away from the game.

Taking a pot shot at the rugby team is one thing, taking pleasure from seeing a nation of people down because of a rugby result, is another thing, but labelling generalisations across a country of people because of your little prejudice, is quite poor. I was there on Saturday with my parents who had travelled round the world for their retirement and we were gutted post loss - but that's what happens. I was proud of the fans and our attitude to defeat, yet the odd person gets the hump with the ref and the whole nation gets the blame? We are all arrogant & evil people if you read alot of whats on here.

Somebody pointed out the british were good in defeat talked about the goading - there's always a few mate, why you choose to generalise against a country is beyond me. Sport seems to be doing nothing but creating enemies if you choose to live by the media and a few glass half empty souls who love to post hatred on the internet. To the welsh, aussie & english guys who we watched the rugby and spent the day with - our invitations remian valid - anytime you are in our part of the world, you have a bed, a bottomless beer and the chance to chin wag about rugby.

That's what we are about - a WC loss changes nothing.

I challenge all of you people who post behind pseudonyms to make your claims at least respectable by having the balls to reveal your identity.

  • 110.
  • At 03:00 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • 2003wcchampion wrote:

The failure of NZ and the Aussies at this RWC is a function of their continuing arrogant nature and failure to recognise that the game of rugby can take many many forms. Simply because they wish to play a soft, pretty the ball over the line style does not automatically guarantee success or afford any right to win. The scrum, the ruck and the maul are all integral parts of the game. A game which is played as much with the heart as it is with any other part of the body. Continue the disrespectful attitude and you will wait a very long time to recapture the WC.

  • 111.
  • At 03:13 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • goatfell wrote:

As a Scot fan I love watching good rugby and the All Blacks have enthralled me time and time again--- howver my major recurring image of the All Blacks is the horrendous and cynical 'off the ball' spear tackle made upon Brian O'Driscoll during the last Lions tour of NZ.

  • 112.
  • At 03:22 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Geoff wrote:

Oddly, I think that if the public profile of rugby, and the open worship of the All Blacks', was to decline in NZ, then the team might stand more of a chance of winning - having the weight of a nation's expectations on your shoulders can't be the most liberating way to play sport - look at the way England's cricketers wilted and withered in the Ashes 06/07 under not just the relentless pressure of the Aussies, but also the huge weight of expectation that they would not just give the Aussies a game but actually beat them.
Another, perhaps more contentious point, is that the Kiwis continuing policy of farming Fijian, Tongan and Samoan youngsters early and bringing them into the Kiwi game might actually not help much in the long run.(Incidentally, if it's true that NZ have never played Fiji in the South Pacific as I read in the UK Sunday Times, that's SCANDALOUS). Fewer and fewer Kiwi parents are letting their kids play rugby because, at age group level, they are massively outweighed and outmuscled - I know Aussie kids play uncontested scrums at school, and look where that's got them. It's been a great tournament, even if it is only a game

  • 113.
  • At 03:24 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Alexander Lewis Jones wrote:

Is the problem the Tri-Nations? In the Six Nations, each team plays each other team once: if you lose just *one* game, your shot at the title becomes dependent on other results and your chance of a Grand Slam is over. Every game is a "must win" game. By contrast, the Tri-Nations, with its home-and-away format, allows teams to lose a game, sometimes more, and still win. England and France (and Argentina, who have to treat every game, even the "friendlies the same way) have much more experience of playing in pressurised games - and grinding out results in them - than Australia and New Zealand.

  • 114.
  • At 03:28 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tim Jackson wrote:

2003wcchampion: no one's claiming that the scrum isn't an integral part of the game. I'm fairly sure the aussies and the all blacks appreciate this. You seem to be arguing against yourself.

  • 115.
  • At 03:33 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

To comment 66. I'm all in favour of migration and as an English man living in London I’m more than happy with the multi cultural society that exists in this country. What people do have a problem with is NZ staking out the islands and offering people a life in a more financially prosperous country based on whether they can play rugby or not. Imagine if the English FA went out to Africa and did the same thing!!

  • 116.
  • At 03:40 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • simon wrote:


Your comment..."to win some 99% of games over 3 and 3/4 years is nothing. To win a world cup you must win 3 on the trot"


Too much emphasis is placed on the world cup and coaches now know their existance will be based simply on world cup performance. This devalues rugby as coaches try to experiment far too much.."for the greater good"

Test matches are now being devalued by this but to say they mean nothing is utter rubbish. Does your beloved six nations mean absolutley nothing? Of course not.

  • 117.
  • At 03:40 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • hugh wrote:

I sit next to a Kiwi at work-he has spent the last 4 years telling me how rubbish Northern hemisphere rugby is and how the All Blacks are the greatest. I know if the ABs had won he would have been rubbing it in for another 4 years.

I can't help believing that his attitude is endemic within NZ including their team, and is the main reason the ABs choke. South Africans may take the p*ss a little, but they know if they just turn up they will lose. For a kiwi even to entertain the possibility that someone can beat the ABs is virtually treason. Unfortunately the facts rather fly in the face of their logic

  • 118.
  • At 03:48 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • buck wrote:


you are talking a load of rubbish. basically the two teams that beat australia and nz have been out of form for the past three years. you say they are happy to experiment to peak for the world cup...I think you are forgetting that two weeks ago they were almost out of contention of even making the play off. basically nz, australia were outplayed by on the day...that is all.
nz chokes, but is still the strongest team in the world 95% of the time

  • 119.
  • At 03:52 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ronnie wrote:

The AB's got what they deserve. They thought that France would be a walk over. They have to learn that anybody can loose. In Afrikaans we say WHELA KAPELA. Meaning it serves you right.
Springbokke for the worldcup 2007.
Go Bokke go

  • 120.
  • At 03:53 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Will wrote:

Jacky's comments that the AB's don't seem to sing their anthem with pride and gusto maybe down to the fact that not all of them are from New Zealand, afterall they are a multi island side!?

  • 121.
  • At 03:58 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Crowdedbus wrote:

To all those complaining about the ref missing the forward passes - how exactly was he supposed to give them? It was a quick break that he couldn't possibly keep up with, and from the angle he was positioned (which was entirely correct in the circumstances) totally impossible to spot. Therefore its ridiculous to blame the ref. Maybe the touch judge, but again its not reasonable to expect him to be as fast as Michalak. Maybe there should be three refs on the pitch at once? Or maybe players shouldn't be able travel faster than a walk so the ref can always keep up?

  • 122.
  • At 04:27 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Timbo wrote:

Professionalism to blame? I seem to remember it was the Kiwis and the Aussies who heralded the era of the professional rugby player. You reap what you sew....

  • 123.
  • At 04:35 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

You cant blame the REF.........even though the Referee did not in my opinion have a good game, it happens. The Pass WAS forward, not the last pass but the obvious pop pass, the French played the ball on the deck all day and weren't penalized once, and Macalister certainly didn't deserve to be sent off.......but you cant blame the REF, because these things happen on a rugby field and in reality other things probably occurred that evened that score up.

What was more of a concern is that we once again played our best full back at it any wonder that in the last 3 cup exits, we have played a FULL BACK at CENTRE. Cullen in 99 sticks in the mind especially given he was the best full back in world rugby at the time, and Mulialina this time might well have been the same. What on Earth was wrong with Miles at the back and CONRAD SMITH at centre? top games you have to play specialist players, and centre is a specialist position. Without penetration, and distribution that comes from it the outside backs dont get a whiff....which is why the three quarters never saw the ball all day, and the All Black match winners in Rokokoko and Sivevatu didnt see the ball all day, in factr they only touched the ball when they cut inside .

When will NZ coaches stop playing this dreadful positional ping pong, and go for Specialists in positions. Surely this experiment has been put to sleep once and for all.

  • 124.
  • At 04:42 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Well, the IRB certainly don't think the ref was very good. I see he won't take any further part in the RWC. Also, I think a thinly disguised Frenchman doing the Final is totally wrong. He may be 'Irish' but of French descent. We saw on Saturday how they can be affected by their heart and passion so they're en for further criticsm depending on results this weekend.

Those who still ignorantly bang on about PIs and "their heart not being in it". Have a look at these supposed 'non-Kiwis' - Roks and Mils, to name two, were in tears at the end of the match. I don't think they were crying over missing out on their RWC winners bonus.

The French move deserved to lead to a try, just shame their win has been tainted as their heart in defence was supreme. Yes, rugby is losing ground in NZ and we need to get that sort of passion back into it. But I think it suffers from overkill.
However, if it dies in NZ then the world will lose the All Black magic. Will France be as passionate this weekend? I think not. Facing the Black shirt seems to lift all players in the other team to achieve something they don't seem capable of. And to those wanting to ban the haka - the French know what it's about. A challenge they manfully accepted.

Now go the Pumas!!!!

  • 125.
  • At 04:43 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • American Kiwi Player wrote:

Well I have a lot to say about this issue.

First off, NZ does not "steal" players form the south sea islands. Immigration from the south sea islands to NZ is huge, tons of islanders immigrate to NZ every year. While these polynesian players play for NZ and may not be "Kiwi," they still learned to play rugby growing up in NZ - in my eyes giving NZ the right to claim them as All Blacks. Stop saying NZ steals Island Players - they dont.

Second, I played in Auckland for the last rugby season - and in the auckland rugby union I think about 80% of the players are polynesian. Granted, I think most of the polynesian population in NZ is in the Auckland Rugby Union area - but there is still a lot more pakeha (white and other) than polynesian. Why arent the white kids playing the game anymore? Why are they all moving to football? While I was in NZ last year this was all being discussed.

Thirdly, Graham Henry was too confident. He even made the same mistake as his predecessor - playing a fullback at outside center. Mitchell did it in 2003 with Macdonald at outside center. Henry was too confident that it didn't matter who he played and where - he thought everyone could play at the standard required in practically any position.

I hope the game continues its stranglehold on the NZ culture - but NZ is growing. While I was there I would find people who didn't give a crap about rugby. I guess maybe a problem with NZ is it is soooooo international. The only international identity that NZ has established for itself is rugby, and it's hard to establish your nation on sport. It just puts so much pressure on your players who can lose from a poor referee decision or the bounce of a ball - because after all, rugby is only a game.

  • 126.
  • At 04:48 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Timbo wrote:

PS - Kiwipom - thumbs up to you mate.

I was in NZ for the disastrous Lions tour, where we were blitzed off the park. The only counter-argument we had was that one of the four home unions held the Webb Ellis trophy - but we all felt NZ would take it - if they could hold their nerve. Unfortunately, they couldn't.

The problem is similar to England's - for years we have watched England teams get turned over by (in theory) inferior teams. That is because when a Welshman / Irishman / Jock pulls on the jersey and lines up against England he DESPERATELY wants to win. And we have had some miserable days at Murrayfield, Wembley and Cardiff along the way. But that is what makes the sport compelling - the fact that a "good little 'un can beat an average big 'un".

NZ are still the best side in the world, they just won't be the Champs....yet. I am sure they just need to focus on playing rugby, throw away those 4 year management plans and get back to what you do best - being noble sportsmen and women.

GOOD LUCK NZ - see you in 2011

  • 127.
  • At 04:49 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Elkin wrote:

Just to point something out to one of the guys who asked in a sarcastic fashion was Lennox Lewis English? Well if you take into account that he was born in East Ham, London then actually he is. So yes he is part Jamaican but he was actually born in England. The point about English sports teams drafting in sportsmen of different origin is noted however.

  • 128.
  • At 04:50 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Rich wrote:

You cant blame the REF.........even though the Referee did not in my opinion have a good game, it happens. The Pass WAS forward, not the last pass but the obvious pop pass, the French played the ball on the deck all day and weren't penalized once, and Macalister certainly didn't deserve to be sent off.......but you cant blame the REF, because these things happen on a rugby field and in reality other things probably occurred that evened that score up.

What was more of a concern is that we once again played our best full back at it any wonder that in the last 3 cup exits, we have played a FULL BACK at CENTRE. Cullen in 99 sticks in the mind especially given he was the best full back in world rugby at the time, and Mulialina this time might well have been the same. What on Earth was wrong with Miles at the back and CONRAD SMITH at centre? top games you have to play specialist players, and centre is a specialist position. Without penetration, and distribution that comes from it the outside backs dont get a whiff....which is why the three quarters never saw the ball all day, and the All Black match winners in Rokokoko and Sivevatu didnt see the ball all day, in factr they only touched the ball when they cut inside .

When will NZ coaches stop playing this dreadful positional ping pong, and go for Specialists in positions. Surely this experiment has been put to sleep once and for all.

  • 129.
  • At 04:54 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • henry wrote:

Four more years New Zealand
Four more years Australia

Up north we all realise 2007 doesn't matter and you guys only see it as a build up to 2011

Four more years indeed.

  • 130.
  • At 04:55 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • sean wrote:

All Blacks have failed in their quest for Bill again. A nation mourns again.
I have to say living in NZ for the last 5 years, rugby is more then a game, its a relgion to some people.Everyones a expert. Its a sport that is woven into life of this country, similar to football in England (and we know how the english people want their team to win the soccer world cup!!)
I'm sure the NZRFU were praying that the all blacks would bring home the bacon. It hasn't happened and now comes the fall out.
Whos to blame,

players, management (and their so called recondtioning plan),

the NZRFU itself,

the ref (seems to be the top of most people's list down here),

the media (for hyping up / spin what every you want to call it, the greatness of this All Black side,)

NH clubs ( for poaching away the players, offering vasts amount of money thus leaving a vaccum which will now take a number of years to fill.)
And the list goes on

Whoever is to blame, (and no matter what happens out of this so called enqiure that is been sent up to find out what happened)Rugby will still be played here from the 8 year boys to grown men.
Maybe this is where the NZRFU needs to look into. They seem to have forgotten the heartlands, let the ball slip you might say, concentrating on the elite players for what? the WC and all that brings with it?
4 more years to wait is a long time for this country. 2011, just have to wait and see what the rugby world throws up.

  • 131.
  • At 04:56 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • henry wrote:

Tri Nations 2008...

You can't do worse than third guys...podium finish...not bad!

  • 132.
  • At 04:56 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • paddy T wrote:

New Zealand are out of the World Cup for 3 reasons:
1. They forgot to watch the tapes of past world cups where they would have learned that drop goals decide the big games.
2. France choked in Game 1.
3. Ireland were rubbish.

New Zealand would have hammered Ireland or Argentina had things gone to plan.

I am Irish so I know what it feels like when this world cup rips your heart out and dances on it. It can only be replaced by having many beers and supporting the team with the better looking female supporters in the remaining games.

  • 133.
  • At 05:03 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • kaz wrote:

I went to the game after quiting my job in NZ, where I had my heart broken, a part of of New Zealand within me died, The hardest point was facing up to the french supporters post match, as we had no accomadation and had planned to celebrate, all night, this hurt more than anything else that i have experienced.

  • 134.
  • At 05:06 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Arm wrote:

136,000 players - hardly a disaster. Plus there is a sustainable pro domestic game...NPC through to S14 generally works, whatever you think about their suitability as a training ground for Test rugby.

In Scotland we only have c.6,000 regular players...yet still we can put 15 guys on the field who can get to the same stage of the WC as NZ (albeit in a less than enthralling fashion).

NZ will continue to be a strong rugby nation...perhaps a reduction in pressure/focus on the ABs may help them to be more successful next time round.

  • 135.
  • At 05:10 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Pigsy wrote:

Good point from Crowdedbus which everyone seems to forget about. The reason many teams get away with forward passes is that the refs can't keep up with professional athletes sprinting at full speed. A ref can only give a forward pass if he is absolutely sure that one occured. In addiiton I thought the yellow card for Mcallister was a bit harsh, but the ABs should have been yellow carded for collapsing the French maul that occured a little earlier in the move anyway.

  • 136.
  • At 05:11 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ashley M wrote:

Comment No. 13 from Hughe cannot go unchallenged. What a subtle attempt to string your racist views into this blog. "Some all Blacks are not Kiwis and would rather play for their island nations" I watch the tri-nations year in-year out and every AB match from here in the UK and they are just proud and passionate about playing for the All Blacks as Sackey and Robinson are playing for England or Nyanga and Bertsen are turning out for France. The team has lost and you so desperately want to look for reasons why but, having found none you want others (who share the pain of the team's loss)to share your bigotted view. Shame on you! We lost because France scored more points!

  • 137.
  • At 05:21 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Ray Phillips wrote:

Kiwipom - nice post, thanks.
Unlike many of my Welsh compatriots I am not in love with the NZ rugby team. Throughout my long experience of watching rugby I have been deeply impressed with the levels of skill, speed and commitment shown by NZ sides year in and year out. But I have also seen a level of gamesmanship, cheating and thuggery that no other country came close to. So no bleating please; there is something seriously deficient in your sides that they cannot win three on the trot when it most matters and when they cannot win a game with 70% possession.

  • 138.
  • At 05:26 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

I am an NZer who was at the Cardiff game and I was gutted at the result, but what annoyed me more was how the Allblacks just left the field straight away, they didn’t show any respect for the thousands of fans who support them. A lap around the field could have done no harm and would have shown maturity and respect to their dedicated fans.

  • 139.
  • At 05:32 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Martin wrote:

For the All Blacks to blame Wayne Barnes is a bit hypocritical; how many times did So'oialo commit obstruction, or Kelleher but the ball into the locks at the scrum?

  • 140.
  • At 05:35 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • LeoninYorkshire wrote:

It would be a great shame if interest in rugby union waned in NZ to the extent that, say, cricket did in the West Indies. Like Brazil and N.Z., W.I. are almost defined by their national sport such is the culture of passion and sacrifice. However, 10-15 years ago their young lads started to drift into soccer and basketball and they now have a truly awful test team which provokes ritual head shaking and tearful laments from previous greats.

To hear the great Sean Fitzpatrick talk so disparagingly of an All Blacks side in the same way that Viv Richards and Michael Holding talk of the current West Indies side would be a very sad day. And I'm English!

If this waning interest is truly an issue for concern then it needs to be addressed now, not in 4-5 years time when it could be too late.

Remember Graham Mourie, All Blacks captain for 6 years and a fine player?

He once said : "Nobody ever beats Wales at rugby, they just score more points". Mourie was responding to complaints from us Welsh about refereeing decisions and All Blacks 'cheating'.

As a Welshman, his remark made me squirm because it had a definite ring of truth. We were looking for someone and something to blame for the failure of our team to beat New Zealand.

There's a lesson in Graham Mourie's comment for some present-day All Blacks supporters.

  • 142.
  • At 05:43 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Patdartagnan wrote:

I hope All Blacks will win their own world cup in 2011. After the defeat against Argentina, I was desesperated. All about Argentina was disgusting, it's totally idiot, but it was like that. Today, it's a hard time for New zealanders, I respect them ,but the show must go on. No Arrogance, but humility, who knows maybe I will accept a defeat against England, because englishmen respect us and even more than anyother nations. I was fed up by NZ's victories (but respectuous and a bit jealous), now they are humans, welcome kiwis to the frustration's club, they are seats for anyone, but the important is the fraternity, life is too short, In Rugby somebody will never walk alone,(hmm...i wonder if my english is readable) et vive la fête!

  • 143.
  • At 05:45 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Jean wrote:

The ref is at fault because of a forward pass... Oh wait! AGs also scored a try following a forward pass but that can't count. Oh wait! It's not just the ref... We forgot Global Warming. It's a whole conspiracy against those good guys from NZ. And yes.. It's just a game.

  • 144.
  • At 05:53 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • simonhill wrote:

It's one thing to look pretty between World Cups but it's a whole other thing to choke in five, yes FIVE successive World Cups. History will remember World Cup winners.

Somehow I don't think we'd be reading this article if NZ had won on Saturday. It's just the usual wallowing that happens after an All Black loss. When they remember that life goes on and there will be another World Cup in NZ in 2011 the interest will soon return.

Blaming the ref? Oh dear, what bad losers you are. My advice would be suck it up and find a team that doesn't bottle it when it really matters.

  • 145.
  • At 05:56 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • mike, somerset wrote:

Can a team win a major tournament playing in grey? Maybe the All Blacks should stick to playing in all black.

  • 146.
  • At 06:03 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • graham wrote:

Well ok, I am getting kind of tired of all the kiwi bashing, before 1981 New Zealand was very passionate Rugby Country,after the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand a lot of the people here
were less interested in Rugby, Then it went professional, taking it away from a lot of the public that used to support it, I myself have noticed so far that professionalism in Rugby Union has not really made it any better.
in my own opinion all of the Rugby World Cups so far none have been the great celebration we as Rugby fans should be expecting.The current one is improved, such as the minnow nations singing their national anthems with such emotion is great for the game, however ref wise we were promised that all refs would be reffing the same rules the same way, this has not happened, each game I have seen so far has been reffed differently, according to the refs interpretation on the day.When they have an inexperienced ref controlling an important game this is not the professionalism that the IRB promised. Instead of demoting that ref they should help him by giving him more games.
So The All Blacks lost very sad for
me being a kiwi fan.
Bright side cause there is one, I can acknowledge it was only by 2 points,France played like they wanted to win, Win they did.
and i actually enjoyed the game.
As for the All Blacks being stuck up they actually commented that France was the better team on the day where is the arrogance in that?
As for the Island Players a lot of them are either born here or come to live here from an early age.
Those of you who are kiwi bashing, must be listening or watching to much biased media reporting, an All Black loss is not the great day of Shame in New Zealand that it once was. In That way the above article is pointing in the correct direction
New Zealanders are not the hard core Rugby Union loving people they once were, things change as time goes by.
The All blacks are still a great team Graham Henry is still a fantastic coach, Good luck to France.

  • 147.
  • At 06:04 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Nigel Wood wrote:

My major gripe about the All Blacks is the way they have systematically recruited the best players from the Pacific Island. This has had a dual effect. It has stunted the development of Pacific Islands rugby and made the All Blacks appear to be a win at all costs team of mercenaries, rather than a truly representative New Zealand team. Perhaps this is why they are losing their gloss at home.

  • 148.
  • At 06:20 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Specialist wrote:

Rugby is losing it's alure to the general NZ public, just as it has done in the only country who once supported the game with such fervor; Wales. Wales have not been world beaters since the 70's and now football enjoys most of the limelight in the valleys. NZ have not won the World Cup since 1987, it is only natural for the NZ public to diversify their interests. It will always hold a special place in both countries hearts though.

I do question those pundits who are calling NZ players and supporters arrogant. They had a right to expect to at least get to the final after a period of utter dominance. Henry's reign had a success rate of 83%, far more than any other country during that period. However they failed to cope with the pressure and a negative game plan from the French which was always going to test them in a knock-out game such as this. 4 more years indeed.

As for the comments regarding the national make-up of the all black side, I can attest that it mirrors the make up of the New Zealand rugby playing population. NZ IS a pacific Island, the populations of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji are intertwined with NZ in a revolving migratory pattern. To suggest poaching belays a lack of knowledge of pacific island culture.

  • 149.
  • At 06:27 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

Why is it that everybody jumps all over the referee but nobody has mentioned that if an AB player had not committed a schoolboy error around the ruck, there would have been three points less for France?

And were there no missed tackles? Missed touch kicks? Dropped passes? Running on the wrong line? Cutting infield instead of towards the wings?

Players lose games, not referees! You lost-get over it!!

  • 150.
  • At 06:47 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Alcibiades wrote:

Picking over the entrails of last weekend I am struck by what bad losers the Aussies and, even more so, the Kiwis are - blaming their losses on everything except the teams they played. Death threats to a referee should result in a nation receiving at least a 50 year ban on international competition. As the All Blacks look to reinvent themselves (they only have 4 years left to do that) they may want to start by ditching their stupid war dance - after the 50th-plus time the Haka starts getting pretty old, and didn't seem to have much of an effect on the French last weekend.

  • 151.
  • At 07:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

I was delighted when France won on Saturday night. Also enthralled by the highly competitive nature of the contest which lasted until the very end.

However, I do not agree with the posters who have remarked that "players lose games, not referees". Not because I do not think that France deserved to win the game. On balance, they did. But, would France have won if the referee had spotted the forward pass and awarded a penalty to New Zealand, thereby denying France seven points ? Answer: probably not.

So, if we could amend the earlier poster's comment it would be to state that "games are lost for a variety of factors, including the inability of players to react correctly to the pressure situations in which they find themselves, and - occasionally - the inability of referees to make the correct decisions during crucial moments in the game.

So if New Zealand were a truly great team, they would have reacted to the final French try by responding with either a successful drop at goal or a try of their own, thereby negating the impact of adverse refereeing decisions. But, having lost two fly halfs and without Mauger, they seemed to lack direction and leadership towards the end of the game.

  • 152.
  • At 07:18 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Swahili wrote:

I have always great respect for New Zealand rugby. Loosing is part of the game. Don't blame the ref, you lost for other reasons. You will get over it All Blacks and come back to show what your really made from.
English rugby fan with great memories of the All Blacks throughout the years.
That's from 1960 to this day

  • 153.
  • At 07:37 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Murray McRobie wrote:

To 149 Nigel Wood
That NZ has systematically recruied the best of the players from the various Pacific Islands - this IS simply NOT true.
Where is the evidence?
How many of the present All Blacks were recruited in such a way?. Most All Blacks of Pacific Island blood were either born in NZ or came to NZ at a very young age.
What's more the reverse is in fact true. NZ born Pacific Islanders are returning to the Islands and boosting their respective teams.

  • 154.
  • At 07:42 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • geoff allen wrote:

Maybe allowing the pumas into the tri nations would bring a bit more life to the competition,and the argies might teach everyone how to handle a bit of pressure,even though some of them are still amatuers.

  • 155.
  • At 07:42 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Owen wrote:

Hello all from a 'mature' English lady who upon her return to the North shore of Auckland was staggered at the lack of rugby posts, they had been replaced by soccer. The advertisements at the bus stops talked about players I'd never heard of - soccer players, not rugby foorball. I phoned in to the Murray Deeka (don't know how to spell it) to express my major concerns on his radio show, which I did. According to Murray 'live' on his show I and all the other concerned people have nothing to worry about the loss of our national game - they pick the boys up at secondary school, he told me. What! I thought when the other kids playing are then 'built like brick out-houses' I don't think so. Also what are those kids missing out on, the traditionals going back generations of being picked up by the coach - if your family can't get you there. Being giving 'cast-off' boots if your family can't pay the cost of a new pair - The tradition. Also what of the kids who can't afford the soccer fees there's no one in thaat game giving out 'cast-offs' I'm VERY CONCERNED for our future in the game, if the boys are not there at grass roots what hope have we got???

  • 156.
  • At 07:44 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Steve M wrote:

Can't remember if it was the Ozzy or New Zealand press who printed a picture of Johnnies boot under the headline "Is that All You've Got" during the last world cup.
Hey All Black moaners it was all you needed this time. Please remember Arrogance doesn't count as a Plan B!

  • 157.
  • At 07:52 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Henri wrote:

So far the articles that have appeared on the various blogs have been good natured, insightful and, with the exception of a few, some tongue in cheek cross fire banter that you have come to expect when nations compete in a big event like the Rugby World Cup. One comment that threw belligerent insult into the face of a nation is one written by a Mr. Rodney Jackson.

Sir, if you are a victim of the apartheid era in South Africa I offer my deepest sympathies and truly hope you will find a positive means to move forward with your life. However, the statement you made about the Springboks is completely false, ignorant and show that you have not found any reconciliation.

The Springbok team are made up of players that are there solely on merit and not because of racist selection. To state that the team is not "full strength" due to selection is a grossly ignorant remark. All those players come from a selection made during the domestic games where the teams have been racially integrated for well over a decade. May I remind you that players like Ndungane, Pietersen and Habana have earned their place in the side like every other Springbok. There are some terrific players that did not make the squad, and I assure you, it was not due to the colour of their skin, they were simply ousted by more experienced, world cup valuable players.

In a country be-sodden with bad politics rugby has stood out as a game that showed more unity than any other sport. To insinuate that the Springboks are made up of racist selection is a massive slap in the face and the biggest show of disrespect to the great ambassadors of Springbok rugby like Chester Williams and Breyton Paulse. Thank goodness the great president Nelson Mandela had the vision to keep politics out of rugby and as a result the nation had one of its greatest moments in the 1995 World Cup.

I am afraid sir, it is people like you that brings bad politics into the game. After this World Cup the Springboks will never be the Springboks again. I can only hope that the changing of the name to the Proteas is not the start of something more sinister in the form of political selection of players.

  • 158.
  • At 07:59 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Billy Player wrote:

A long-lost, almost forgotten, friend came home on Saturday; Spirit of 2003 back in my living room. I shed tears as we hugged. God how I'd missed him.
We’d no appetite to crow over the Anzacs (and their Polynesian recruits), especially the Aussies who took defeat so well. Rather, it was time to salute them for the way they’ve played their rugby over the last four years. They should have know however that the English, when it comes to the ultimate crunch and the crown is in danger or once they’ve been prodded and poked too often, will stand and fight to the very last. And this Saturday our warrior race will brace its self again to fight on French soil, while the Boer looks on, sensing he will have to be ready for the final battle.........

  • 159.
  • At 08:04 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Cain wrote:

In message 151 David made a very good point, and one which not many seem to appreciate.

Having refereed rugby, coached and assessed referees for many years in my youth, the failure of players and spectators alike to recognise that errors made on the park by the players themselves - knocks-on, passes failing to go to hand, missed tackles, silly penalties e.t.c. - have far more effect on a game than any error made by a referee still astounds me.

In the professional era, every move made by a player is caught and codified by the coaching staff. It would be very interesting to compare these player stats with the referee assessor's stats. I am sure you would find that referees make more errors than the pundits realise, but that player errors in critical situations far outweigh them.

But the bottom line is, it's only entertainment. Would you make this fuss over the "wrong" person winning "Big Brother"?

  • 160.
  • At 08:21 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Lots of interesting comments. The one bit I don't get though is the common charge of "arrogance" leveled against the ABs and kiwi fans in general. Obsessive, sure, but arrogant? In defeat Richie, Graeme and the team have been gracious to a fault. Win or lose, they always are - despite all the pressure, and a fair amount of the type of goading we're reading in the comments above.
The one thing I kind of regret is how the previously sacred Haka has been built up, exploited, done-to-death - I'm perhaps a rare kiwi who feels uncomfortable with its aggression and violent symbolism. I don't think the ABs did themselves any favors with the throat-slitting variation...maybe that was a case of arrogance...

As for the spectacle of we kiwis being so cut up about a sporting match, yes I feel a bit silly about it, but better to get worked up over something so relatively harmless. Give it a week, and we'll move on.
Bottom line: the French really wanted to win too, and good on them for beating such a great Blacks side.

One more thing: lets have more meaningful rugby tests BETWEEN World Cups. I'd love it if northern hemisphere teams sent down competitive sides and gave us a run for our money or even beat us, like the English in 2002 (I think) or French in 1994. Except for once every 4 years, rugby internationals have lost their aura, which is a great shame. Here's a thought: Would it not be a bad idea to see mini tournaments every 2 years, instead of holding the international calendar hostage to a 4-yearly cycle? (The tri- and six-nations could then also be held every two years, making them more meaningful too). I know you'll think I'm only saying this because we can't win the big one, but wouldn't it be more fun for the northern and southern hemisphere sides to square off more often and more meaningfully?

Enjoy the rest of the world cup everyone.

  • 161.
  • At 08:26 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Tristram Duncan wrote:

Congrats to France who were deserved winners on the weekend. As a Kiwi living overseas I thoroughly enjoy the game of rugby, the passion on the field of play & the friendly banter between supporters watching the match either from the stands or the pub. I hope the aspect of respect amongst fans & players is retained & the game of rugby doesn't go down the road of football, where it's at times open warfare between rival supporters.

There's been alot of talk of NZ's arrogance & the whinging directed at the ref, fair play people I've read some articles & haven't seen anything from the coach Henry or captain McCaw attacking the ref & the decisions. The NZ media & a couple administrators & some oddsods in NZ have had a crack at the ref, but I feel respect to Henry & McCaw they stood up after the game offered no excuses & plainly said the French were the better team on the nite - class!

I hope the great game of rugby does not disintegrate into all the nations focusing on only the World Cup & the spectators being fed the drival of 'friendly' matches over 'test' matches. I've been to couple of these friendly football international matches Holland v Argentina springs to mind & each time I swear never again, as the game is dull, dull, dull.

Good luck to the remaining teams in the cup, heres hoping they continue to entertain the masses.

Finally, spare a thought to the players, whether they're from NZ, Aus, Japan, Tonga or anywhere else. They've all thrilled us with their play, but as in any game there's gotta to be a winner & a loser. The winner goes on (for a while at least) & the loser departs to lick their wounds & hopefully have another crack in the future.

Can someone enlighten me about how the younger rugby works in NZ? I have heard it is dominated by Polynesians and that it is done by weight rather than age to make it safer.

Before the defeat of NZ I recall a lot of people (me included) were saying we don't have the right structure in place in the NH to win- players too small, not fit enough, not up to scratch tactically......

.....great to be proved wrong.

To all the NZ fans I think the lack of an appearance after the loss to thank you for supporting the ABs was insulting and a sign of what is wrong with them. It also demonstrates an arrogance which everyone picks on.

  • 163.
  • At 08:44 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Interesting article. rugby has been on a downwards slide in NZ for a number of years. Ever tried to get a ticket to a test match ? near impossible, most tickets are allocated to corporates, so the public cant go. The club scene is full of huge Island boys, so unless your built like Lomu, forget it.
The Super 14 is now boring. Needs an Island team and Argentina (or Japan) team to spark some life into it.
It will be interesting to see, after this WC result whether rugby gets a huge handout from the govt. Or other sports are given more cash, like rowing or football.

  • 164.
  • At 08:47 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Interesting stuff, some very valid points here, I would like to concentrate on one theme in particular....arrogance. Yes, the Kiwi press are very arrogant and not only at world cup time. Despite not having won a world cup in twenty years they still perpetuate the myth that the ABs are the best team in the world. Two days after the deafeat to France they were crowing again "ABs retain no 1 ranking in world rugby", so! We all know that on paper they are, but games are played on fields...not pages of a book! After the ABs lost to Aussie in the 2003 semi final a certain rugby TV commentator in NZ said of the up coming England v France semi, "I hope that France smash that Woodward and his arrogant team". Very professional dont you think? Oh, yes and Sir Clives crime, terrible realy..he said' we are here to win, not just make up numbers'. The cheek of the man, Sorry Kiwi's that realy is the pot calling the kettle all black.

  • 165.
  • At 08:52 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • incredulous wrote:

Re Comment 102:

I also saw this article. I think you miss the point. When you look at the list of players in that article, none of the players that New Zealand have exported would have made their squad, let alone their first team. It can't be said that they have lost out.
When you look at the players that they imported, all were not qualified for New Zealand when they were born. They were born in the South sea islands to south sea island parents. All those players would have made the squads of the countries they were born in. How much stronger would Samoa have been with Collins, Muliana, Masoe and So'ialo in the squad !

The reason that these players play for NZ is that they have better financial prospects. It is also difficult to get a professional contract for a S14 team if you are not going to play for your host country.

I have no doubt that these players give their all for New Zealand. However the inequal distribution of resources in the Southern Hemisphere and the continuous refusal to include the South Seas in the S14 means that this situation will only continue.

The real reason their players lost is that unlike the English and French players, their players weren't used to matches that really mattered. The Heineken Cup is intense, the Six Nations is intense. Super 14 and the Tri-nations is very pretty, wonderfully attractive rugby but the result doesn't really matter most of the time. If you lose a game, there is always another one. It showed on Saturday.

Another statistic AB fans may wish to dwell on. In World Cups you have played Australia, SA and France 8 times, You have lost 6 of those matches.

Four more years.

  • 166.
  • At 09:05 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • french_33 wrote:

"But, would France have won if the referee had spotted the forward pass"

There was a forward pass during the action that led to the 2nd All Black try as well (61'50 i can post the vid extract) all this hysteria in N-Z about the ref is a shame and a great disappointment for the french like me who admire and consider the blacks as the reference in rugby. The feast is definitly spoiled, the anglo saxon fair play is such a joke!

  • 167.
  • At 09:09 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Rob Murray wrote:

ABs, we still love you.
To me you will always be the epitome of Rugby.
The best teams in the world in any sport can lose a game on any one day.
Keep your heads high and God bless you all for all the glorious memories you have given us...
Rob Murray, Toronto

  • 168.
  • At 09:26 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • incredulous wrote:

Re Comment 102:

I also saw this article. I think you miss the point. When you look at the list of players in that article, none of the players that New Zealand have exported would have made their squad, let alone their first team. It can't be said that they have lost out.
When you look at the players that they imported, all were not qualified for New Zealand when they were born. They were born in the South sea islands to south sea island parents. All those players would have made the squads of the countries they were born in. How much stronger would Samoa have been with Collins, Muliana, Masoe and So'ialo in the squad !

The reason that these players play for NZ is that they have better financial prospects. It is also difficult to get a professional contract for a S14 team if you are not going to play for your host country.

I have no doubt that these players give their all for New Zealand. However the inequal distribution of resources in the Southern Hemisphere and the continuous refusal to include the South Seas in the S14 means that this situation will only continue.

The real reason their players lost is that unlike the English and French players, their players weren't used to matches that really mattered. The Heineken Cup is intense, the Six Nations is intense. Super 14 and the Tri-nations is very pretty, wonderfully attractive rugby but the result doesn't really matter most of the time. If you lose a game, there is always another one. It showed on Saturday.

Another statistic AB fans may wish to dwell on. In World Cups you have played Australia, SA and France 8 times, You have lost 6 of those matches.

Four more years.

  • 169.
  • At 09:48 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Smug Eddie wrote:

I thought the Ref had an appalling game. He missed two forward passes in the lead up to the first AB try and also ignored the AB forwards flopping all over the ball in the lead up to the second try. If I was French and lost that match I would have serious concerns.

Problem with the ABs is that they are turning into the Harlem Globetrotters of Rugby. By being part of a tri nations competition that is closer to basketball than rugby means they are seriously undercooked when it comes to a tournament style competition. Being the best team in the world due to meaningless friendlies is rather hollow. History books will show this.

Heres to two more great games at the weekend.

  • 170.
  • At 09:54 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

New Zealand isn't falling out of love for the game at all.

Player participation took a dive this year, but only because it has been climbing at a steady rate over the previous few years.

In a nation this small, where total participation in sport is struggling to grow (like all nations worldwide) there are only so many people you can get to play the game. Especially when competing with so many more hobbies and entertainment sources nowdays.

New Zealand is still infatuated with this great game. The constant emigration of born and raised Kiwi's for migrants of other nationalities and cultures (and not Pacific Islander, who love Rugby very much) has diluted the hype of rugby in the major metropolitan areas.

But, in the provincial heartlands the game is still very strong. An example is the Manawatu team, who finished 12th in this seasons provincial competition and still had an average crowd of around 7,000 fans from a city of 70,000. Not bad for a 3rd Tier rugby competition!

This game will continue to be New Zealands major sport. The team will continue to consistantly beat the bigger (and smaller) rugby nations regularly. The fans will continue to have high expectations regarding results. A massive fallout will always occur when the All Blacks lose a big game!

  • 171.
  • At 10:36 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • trevor wrote:

As a kiwi watching the aussie/england and france/NZ games on the weekend, I can say they were both great games. Fact of the matter is the best teams won on the day. There may have been forward passes etc but as every schoolboy knows you play to the whistle. The ABs are not blaming the ref - I think it isa few in the media and RU.
Also rugby will not decline as part of NZ. We do get over defeats - plus we have had successes at other sports - triathlon, yachting,netball, running, golf motorsports,, ocassinally cricket etc etc. and last of all NZ is a multicultural society - Pacific Islanders are born and bred here, emigrate here as do Europreans , Asians etc. They are kiwis like the rest of us. Its been a great tournament so far - Bravo France!

  • 172.
  • At 10:45 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

i am glad new zealand are out from an english perspective as they are so much better than France on their day, they just had two decisions go agaisnt them which cost them dearly, the sin bin to McAllister and the unnoticed forward pass. new Zealand are still interested in rugby, no contest, just i think they are over-confident on too many occasions, which is there downfall in world ups. There is a difference between thinking you are the best than actually being the best.New Zealand need to learn that to have any chance of success in the future.

  • 173.
  • At 10:50 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • bokkieUSA wrote:

All Blacks

I still think you are fabulous.

The only arrogance I have seen lately is from English fans. Seems that all the other teams somehow are "brainless" or "arrogant". An example is SA fielding a 2nd team against Tonga. This was not a sign of arrogance, but an attempt to rest some key players. In no way was this meant to be disrespectful to Tonga

SA won the world cup in 1995 due the strategy of having a "gold team and a green team". Holding back some players to rest them may still end up being a good decision.

to the arrogant English fans, You have had but ONE good game, but also remember that Australia played pretty badly too. You may be eating crow come Saturday evening.
At least your rugby team is not arrogant, even if you fans are

  • 174.
  • At 11:13 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Sam Olsen wrote:

I am a New Zealander trying to get over another disappointing loss in the world cup. I have been reading all the comments about bad refs (NZ did get the short straw), french passion (def outdid us there no doubt), grey jerseys (what the!!) and a million other reasons why NZ lost. I think it was a combination. Sure the ref didnt help and neither did the injuries but basically NZ choked. Simple. They had a ten point lead at half time and France made it into NZ half maybe three or four times in the second half scoring pretty much every time. NZcould not do that and it cost them. Smart rugby was not on, what nick evans thought he was doingthrowing the 50 50 pass when he had a nice break and momentum going forward i dont know!
The thing that has hit me hardest is the garbage about arrogance and over confidence from NZ. I think they were confident, maybe even arrogant, but to hear columnists particularly english ones gettting on there high horse about it really gets to me. NZ coming into this world cup had beaten every major nation fairly comfortably over a four year period, They had just finished beating a strong Sth African side at home, smashed france in the last 4 games against them and had won every trophy they had played for in that period. Surely this gives them grounds to be a little confident about themselves! Maybe even think they had a good shot at winning. People say that NZ supporters are arrogant about the ABs but to be honest we do kind of get used to winning rugby and I think the 75% odd historical winning record justifies this, it also makes it that much harder when they choke on the big stage. I personally think they should prepare for each knock out stage as a final, like every team who plays against us in the world cup does, I think we keep getting caught thinking about ´next week´ when there may not be one.
But to get this junk about being arrogant and cocky and over confident, especially from the english really annoys. I read the english media and one day the english football team are not going to qualify for a tournament, the next they are the favourites to win. After one win!! Same with the Ashes, they win once and all the pundits in the papers are saying they are the best. The football team hasnt won anything since 66!! The rugby team are not that good at the moment and will not win the cup, give them a few more years though I am sure they will be back though. In the meantime however I hope the All Blacks start losing more in between world cups, I think it will take some of the pressure off the team because the expectations will not be so high!
Finally my hope. Argentine v France final. End the way we started this fine tournament! And let Bill go to a country he has yet to go!

  • 175.
  • At 11:19 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • AGF wrote:

It is certainly questionable whether it was the right thing for the All Blacks to be rested from the super 14 competition.

  • 176.
  • At 11:48 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • HoseyG wrote:

Reading a lot of the gloating, good riddance to Australia & NZ, you are all arrogant comments; maybe John O'Neill did have a point after all?

  • 177.
  • At 11:57 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • JL wrote:

I am English and live in NZ and what most rugby fans from other countries do not realise is that the NZ public is constantly fed bullshit from the media and government about how famous etc the ABs are (people are really shocked when you explain that rugby is a minority sport in Ireland, for example.)

With the exception of a few teams which play in Australian leagues, sport in NZ is still ammature and regionalised - rugby being the exception. However, the NZRFU has pretty much sacrificed the NPC/Air NZ Cup and the Super 14 competitions to ensure that the ABs win the RWC (which, as we all know, didn't happen.)

Imagine if Cheslea couldn't pick any current internationals for its Premiership games, or Man Yoo having their inetrnational players withdrawn from the first 7 rounds of the Champions League.........

  • 178.
  • At 11:59 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Macca_nz wrote:

Forget the loss on Saturday, we weren't good enough on the day and a below par performance against a team that had everything to play for as hosts of the world cup, we were out passioned. It proved a valid point to my son who I've told many times, 'On any given day those that turn up to play, will find a way to win'. From a personal point of view, I think we as a nation are too obsessed with the world cup, I would rather that we just took each test game by game and play our best 22 week after week. Forget reconditioning and rotation, as an old rugby player you need to play, no substitue for match harden. Let's not start preparing for the world cup 3 years out, as us as fans are getting short changed.

It's the arrogance of the NZRFU that really upsets me more than the loss to France. They spent $50 million to capture the cup then went out of it without firing a shot and this after they rested the All Blacks for most of the season. So really there has been little in the way of good rugby in New Zealand this year. Also they want us to pay millions to upgrade the stadiums around the country so they can host the cup in 2011. Now I know what it feels like to be a Tottenham supporter, $50 million spent and nothing to show for it. At least they don't ask their supporters to pay for their stadium as well. We should have let the Japanese have it, they wanted it.

  • 180.
  • At 12:06 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tim Childs wrote:

Nice to see the perspective of others overseas, Interest in not waning in our national game.
The conscensus here is that there was such a build up to the world cup, by mainly our press and the A B's sponsers and combine that with a pretty much faultless team performance over the recent past, how could we not retake the W E trophy?

NZ's loss was a combination of factors, we all know what they are... and really all that can be said to the guys is, you did the country proud, good on you. You did your best.

  • 181.
  • At 12:13 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • paolo wrote:

i think people are overeacting way too much on this and i also belive way too much emphasis is put on world cup nowadays,i even see some people are saying tri-nations,6-nations and test series are not important any more which i think is nonsense.the rugby world cup is a relatively new phenomonen this only being the 6th won,for about 100 years previously the only true matches that mattered were test series and 5 nations events,they were the true test of your ruby prowess,ask yourself this in football is the premiership based on your consistency not way more important than the fa cup where a few shock results can happen to anyone.I am an england fan and whils i was delighted we won last world cup what impressed me more was that for an 18 month period we truley were the best tteam in the world having seen off all comers,i hope we can retain cup but i have a feeling the boks might snatch it,however i do not believe for 1 minute just because we got 1at least 1 round further than the all blacks that we suddenly are a better team than them and i would put money on it that we would easily be way down current pecking order if there was a league format between all the teams.Look how hard we have found it after becoming world champions and world no1 to live with the pressure we completely fell apart so just imagine what like it is having to have the burden on your back that the all blacks carry year in year out where they are expected to win every match.I say cut them some slack they have been and always will be the bench mark for skill and consistency for years to come and i have a feeling that once they get this monkey off their back and win the cup again a few more might follow quite quickly,having said that just like our press when it comes to football the kiwi press is way too arrogant about rugby and i think that cockiness does rub off onto the players.

  • 182.
  • At 12:20 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • felix wrote:

To bokkieUSa (175)...
We won, the All Blacks lost and we're just enjoying telling everyone how good it feels to be an english rugby fan again.
Funny how English fans stick by their team through thick and thin, whilst they get slated across the World, then as soon as we get our first good result for 4 years, and celebrate it, we're arrogant.
I can only imagine how shameless the boasting would have been from Kiwis if they'd pulled off a miracle and actually failed to choke at the first hurdle.
We won, they lost.

"Losers never get called arrogant"
Will Greenwood

  • 183.
  • At 12:41 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Rodney Parade wrote:

The world cup in 2007 is a different planet from the first one 20 years ago. The All Blacks are still as hopeless at winning tournaments but the standard of the other countries just gets better.
We have a tournament with 12-14 competitive teams, apart the from football WC, this is the biggest team competition in the world.
There are "world cups" in which no ex commonwealth teams compete and a "world cup" played with 3 decent teams, in which we know who the winner will be before the event even starts.
The failure of the AB'S is a small price to pay for the rest of the world getting better.

  • 184.
  • At 01:00 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Stop Press:

Never fear. I am actually in Wellington, New Zealand right now and I can say that New Zealand is just as much in love with Rugby and the All Blacks as it was 50 years ago.

Once New Zealand had more sheep than one could count in a sleepless night. The sheep have drastically dwindled in number as will the rugby die hards. New Zealand has a changing culture where people have found real life does exist beyond the rugby fields and that they can get out and enjoy the beautiful country side.
Rugby is just a game that can be exciting and fun, forget all the injuries that are caused every week, plus the cost. Little boys being made into hardened men by 'The game' supported by over zealous parents.
After all the title 'New Zealand AB Team' - well how many of the team were actually born in New Zealand - money can buy the people size that counts and the profesional game is all about money and entertainment. I agree with the previous comment by Macca - we are getting short changed.

  • 186.
  • At 01:54 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • evan wrote:

Firstly , its seems quite apparent that your northern hemisphere readers are quite out of touch with reality, and the truth of matters.
1) All of the polynesian players playing for the All Blacks have grown up in NZ, and learned to play rugby in New Zealand. Also a high portion of players playing for the pacific islands grew up in NZ and learned to play rugby in NZ too. It is a players choice who they play with it!!!
2) You would have to be blind to think the ref was not a factor. Anytime the referees performance decides the result of a match then in my view they have failed. And besides the wrong decisions, how about the decisions he never made. Have another look at the game....are you gonna try and tell me that the French did not play offside once or used hands in the ruck once in the entire second half??? not once??? The refs performance undoubtedly had a bearing on this game...FACT.

3)any NZer can also admit the ref was not the only was quite obvious the ABs were underdone for the game due to sleepwalking our way thru the pool stage, and our lack of cohesion can only be blamed on the 1st xv not playing together enough. Dan Carter was obviously unfit to play, and Muliana at centre was a bad selection (imho)

4) The NZ reaction is a media beat up, so dont think you know whats going on in NZ just from what your media tells you. Of course we are all very dissapointed...but its not as bad as they would have you believe, one or two nutjobs doesnt define a you Brits might agree when it comes to football hooligans.
5) Most NZers will be first to congratulate the French on their victory, their defence, passsion, determination and gameplan all did them great service in a very close match.

it'd going a bit far to say they deserved to win but they did, and for us its over. cest la vie!!
looking forward to having you guys on our patch for the next one, until next time
viva le france!!

  • 187.
  • At 01:56 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Nic wrote:

The problem I have with all of this is that the All Blacks will start next season and beat all of the other international sides. Why, because they focus on one game at a time and not the net result at the end of a tournament like the world cup. Maybe just for once rather than hurling axes in all directions here in NZ on whos accountable, we should just for once keep the current coaches etc and let them go to the next one. They've tasted losing now and will not want to again. We've sacked every losing coach 5 minutes after the cup and ended with the same net result next time around. You talk about maturing as a nation then this is one way we can.

  • 188.
  • At 02:05 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Ron wrote:

To much hype within New Zealand surrounding the All Blacks.They all drive the latest Holdens,the brand is over the top.Nothing to do with sport and pride of playing, all about the Dollars banked.Gee and all the hangers on trying to make the big bucks.The main sponsers trying to cream every last cent from supporters. Get a life New Zealand you lost, hope the lessons will be learnt, dont rely on arrogance, and the media and commentators it wasnt a for gone conclusion was it.Pity you were not gracious in defeat instead of blaming others.

  • 189.
  • At 02:09 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Deanb wrote:

(from a kiwi)

In these dark days of rugby despair, does anyone remember 1997?
In 1997 the All Black captain was Sean Fitzpatrick, the team was pretty much the same for every match, and it had names like Christian, Zinzan, Josh and Jonah in it. In 1997 the All Blacks were undefeated. That’s right, undefeated.
They played the Aussies, the Springboks, the English, the Welsh, the Irish and a few more and never lost a match.
Then something changed in New Zealand.
On the 6th of December 1997 Jenny Shipley ousted Jim Bolger and became our first woman Prime Minister.
The next day the All Blacks managed a lucky draw with England.
The next year the previously undefeated All Blacks lost every
Tri Nations match. That’s right, every match.
New Zealand has had a woman Prime Minister ever since.
And ever since, when it counted, the rugby has been pretty much downhill as well.
The mentors and role models in our primary schools are now ninety percent women.
Our children are taught that all accidents are preventable, all risk should be avoided, losing is OK and aggression is a crime.
Now some people might think there was some connection between the feminisation of our society and the decline in our rugby.
I couldn’t possibly comment on that.
All I know for sure is, Fitzy never cried, he never had too.

  • 190.
  • At 02:34 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • a kiwi wrote:

Rugby has suffered plenty of knocks and there has been for a long time more young people playing soccer (not football please note football is rugby) rather than rugby but at the higher levels it hasnt affected rugby a zot and it wont. Many good Rugby players were originally Soccer players For a start in NZ we are useless at Soccer and the game always seems to be in some kind of turmoil but that aside kiwis will get over this and move on
Soccer will never have the kind of passion in NZ that Rugby enjoys. Soccer is a great game but its not our game

  • 191.
  • At 02:38 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Eunice C wrote:

Why IRB allowed France to challenge All Blancks culture and tradition? Those are nothing to do with a fair competition but do disturb players mental condition. NZ captain tried to coop with the ref after 2 wishtles against him...then, they seemed worn out by both France flair and the ref...The 'wind' caused by the ref could blow so critical than anything is easy to stand up and play with the 'wind'....but a team can hang on there when the 'wind' is not on their way....well, good material for me to teach my sons...maybe I blow some harsh wind to my most patient son...

  • 192.
  • At 02:39 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • a kiwi wrote:

As much as it hurts I can see that a French Victory is probably good for World Rugby and there is no doubt this World Cup has advanced the Rugby Gospel around the world
The Tongans Fijians
Argentinians and others have made this for me (even though we lost) an awesome world cup and the best yet.
I was up in the wee hours this morn watching Fiji and for a time there was this possibility that Fiji could do it but it wasnt to be..What I love is that they give credit to their God no matter what and my hope is as theres and ultmately lies in Jesus not in a football match..
NZ will move on and we will look forward to an awesome world cup in NZ 2011 whatever the result.. Come on over its a great country!!

  • 193.
  • At 02:52 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • a kiwi wrote:

42. At 12:26 PM on 09 Oct 2007, Max wrote:
In Melbourne where I'm from I'm never met anyone who plays or is interested in it; the only people who play the game in Australia are a few private school kids from New South Wales and Queensland!

Fairly localised then like Aussie Rules and Rugby League
Fair points you make but Rugby though no where near as big as Soccer as you will have seen from the Rugby world cup is gathering momentum.I heard a news report that 18 million Frenchman watched the ABs V France game which it said was more than the Soccer world cup final..
Sure maybe thats only in France but it says a lot for the games growing popularity
Cheers God Bless have a great day

  • 194.
  • At 03:04 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Julien wrote:

I'm french, my national rugby team is stade toulousain. My anthem is the aka.

I understand Kiwi are devastated by the all black lose.

France beat new zealand once every 10 years. The all black are the rugby team love all over the world. And they will remain the best team. Rugby is a hard game played with strength and mind, the opposite of soccer played with skil and skurt.

It's not the end of the world the black lose.
the more important in this world cup is that the Fiji made it to the quarter final and argentina to the final.

If argentina continue hopefully they will join the triseries.

Love the rugby for the game not for the money TV show Nationalistic fanatism.

Love this game and Keep playing rugby until 80 years old .

It's hard and it's about solidarity and respect.

  • 195.
  • At 03:34 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Anudder AB fan wrote:

As with many other NZ males I have followed rugby since I was old enough to know what it was, to me (and I suspect most of my fellow NZ rugby fans) watching the AB's play the game is a thrill each and every time. It's more the way they play that I get a thrill out of. I guess most non-NZ rugby people like to see the AB's lose while at the same time can really appreciate just how good they really are. In my one eyed view I believe the AB's consistently take the game to places that no other team ever has and their record speaks for itself. The AB's are the most successful rugby side in the world. Now comes the tough bit - why can't they win the RWC? Maybe we can ask the Poms a similar question - why can't the English win the WC Soccer?? Who knows and to some extent who cares, Poms love their soccer and Kiwis love their rugby. We both play our respective games well and both teams entertain their respective fans. I'll be watching the AB's with every bit as much interest the next time they play, to repeat - I love the way they play the game. And rugby is just that, a game. As long as the men in black play as hard and as well as they always have then I'm a happy chappie. The AB's will be back in four years time, until then they will probably flog the Pom's and the Frogs and most other teams with great play and great players - then we will probably have to go through this crap all over again...

  • 196.
  • At 03:39 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • LNZ1711 wrote:

At 12:47 PM on 09 Oct 2007, Mr Charles Champers wrote: It just confirms what I've felt for many years more than the odd NZ Rugby fan is no better than lager fueled English Soccer fans.

As a Kiwi I have to agree with that. Most New Zealanders aren't rugby fans; they're chauvinistic All Black suporters. They get their rocks off over New Zealand putting cricket scores on amateur teams and arrogantly wonder who we will be beating in world cup finals when the pool stage isn't over.

The commentators we have had for this world cup are appallingly biased, childish and stupid. Hamish McKay is a joke, his comment right before the Haka "this french team is obviously spooked by the all blacks". They spent the last 10 minutes complaining about the referee.

The haka is performed too often. I would like it saved for special occasions. Maybe only home matches, or world cup matches. And if we can perform the haka so well we can't half the team even sing our national anthem (even if it does have silly lyrics).

  • 197.
  • At 04:17 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

Should we let NZ win the RWC next time so as to stop the alleged decline in popularity?
Losing is part of sport
As a 36 year old Welshman in my living memory I have seen more defeat than notable victory (the sweet Grand Slam of 2005 being the only major exception)
One day NZ will win the RWC again and the victory will be all the sweeter for the years since 1987 that you have "failed" to win the RWC.
Wales best RWC was also in 1987 (third place) and even then we got caned in the SFs by NZ.
I think that the Kiwis would have a better chance of wining the RWC if the fear of failure was less crushing. It must have been a terrible burden on Graham Henry and the players to know that anything less than winning the RWC would be considered a "disgrace".
Blaming the ref is a heat of the momment thing and I hope that over time the NZ fans will all come to accept that they simply lost to the better team (on the day).
Graham Henry in fairness has been very magnaminous in defeat.
The french have always had an ability now then to pull it out of the bag when no one expects them to win. They are great for world rugby because of their unprecitabilty just as NZ are for their consistent excellence. I think the QFs were all fantastic matches for the neutral.
Having the RWC in NZ in 2011 will be great and I am sure that will give the game a massive boost there.

  • 198.
  • At 04:34 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tommy wrote:

I am a proud and patriotic pakeha Kiwi and I agree with the comments where the patriotism and passion (or in the AB's case lack of) are mentioned. Not knowing the words of your national anthem! Disgraceful! They are all happy to do a Maori haka but don't have a clue how to sing "E Ihoa Atua.." and what it means. And then they call themselves New Zealanders, which for many is just by the virtue of a fresh passport!!! There are more and more Samoan and Fijian imports in the team to whom the notion of "I'm a New Zealander" is totally foreign. They are just rugby mercenaries playing for the highest and most glamorous bidder.

  • 199.
  • At 05:05 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Kiwis need to understand two things - your failure to perform in sudden death while claiming to be the "best team in the world" together with your childish denial of reality as well as your inability to understand what sport is all about makes you a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. If you have to sulk, go home and do it in private - nobody is interested anymore.

Your threats against the referee should cause the IRB to raise serious questions about holding the next World Cup in New Zealand. Everybody knows your police are incompetent - can't do murders, won't do burglaries- so there is no way they can guarantee security for the match officials.

So - accept the inevitable. You lost. Sport is capricious, which makes it exciting entertainment - not war by another name. If you want to pin your national identity on fifteen fat alkies kicking a weird shaped ball around, then don't expect much from the rest of the world. We have moved on. Come back when you have grown up a little.

  • 200.
  • At 05:28 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • fergie wrote:

NZ blaming the ref and everyone around them,I thought you guys did'nt like "sooks" eh?

  • 201.
  • At 05:34 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • colin boag wrote:

One of the things that sets the great game of rugby apart from football is that the players accept the referee's decision without question - no histrionics, swearing, jostling, etc. Similarly, supporters mix without fear of trouble and, once the game is over, the game is over and we have a beer. Some of the NZ supporters have besmirched a great sport with their football-like attitudes. Sadly (and wrongly in my view) they are being permitted to host the RWC in 2011 - will referees want to travel to NZ, will supporters want to bother visiting a nation that has shown it has no idea of how to accept defeat, and can the RWC ever be the same again after the damage done to it by death threats and systematic whingeing - do NZers understand just how much damage they have done to the sport that they purport to love?

  • 202.
  • At 06:09 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Colin Lewis wrote:

It does appear that the best team in the world cup has now gone home, but I feel that we need to look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves why are the all blacks so good at rugby and the answer is:- They have the pick of all the southsea islanders, Samoa, Figi, Tonga, take these players from the side and how good would they be then?

  • 203.
  • At 08:03 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • tomthepom wrote:

143. At 05:43 PM on 09 Oct 2007, Patdartagnan wrote:
"After the defeat against Argentina, I was desesperated."

Pat - even though I couldn't see it in the dictionary, I know what you mean.

Wayne Barnes hasn't been sent home, he is officiating - in a minor role - at the SA/Arg semi-final. With only four games left in the tournament, three of which could involve England, the english officials weren't likely to see much action - no surprise that of the four remaining refs, three are from eliminated countries. I hope the retiring Tony Spreadbury gets a TJ appointment for the final weekend, hopefully the play-off which will mean England aren't in it!

Finally, has anyone mentioned that silly dance the All Blacks do before the match?

  • 204.
  • At 08:22 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

All this talk about New Zealand poaching Islanders is rubbish. Most of our Polynesian All Blacks have lived in New Zealand for most of their lives. Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world. Our sports teams represent our entire population. Critics think that just because they don't have English sounding names, they aren't kiwis. Look at the ethnicities of a few of the English cricketers. I believe Panasar, for example, has every right to represent England. Our best table tennis players are of Chinese decent, did we 'poach' them too?

And it is two way traffic. For all the islanders who succeed in the All blacks, you will find dozens more competing in our provincial competitions, gaining experience and skills that one can only get from playing in a high quality competition. The islands could not not sustain competitions of this quality. Look at the rosters of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa and you will find players who have played for years in our competitions. Without the islanders, perhaps the All Blacks would not be as good. Without New Zealand, the islanders would certainly not be as good.

As for the ref, we lost by two points. Considering his shocker, it is fair to say we should feel cheated. Why was someone so inexperienced put in charge? My pick? Anyone but England. I'm half English, but i just can't back such a pathetic team.

  • 205.
  • At 08:49 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • michal wrote:

More to the point, sort out the useless RWC.

NZ's surprise loss points to other, more compelling issues than the mere fact the world's best team (by far, according to IRB rankings over the last 4 years) lost a single game of rugby & the RWC therefore lost its top drawcard.
The fact that NZ's tournament effectively started & finished in 80 minutes shows up the rubbish structure of the RWC. The pools/knock-out format is OK for football (soccer) because there are so many high-level teams to filter - in rugby there are only about 6 world-class teams plus 2-4 OK teams plus the dregs.
England have probably been the best Northern Hem. team over the last 20 years - yet in the entire history of the RWC - according to my calcs - they have played NZ twice. That's ridiculous.
The NRL in Oz has a brilliant 8 team play-off system that ranks then rewards teams for their position - ie above 4th spot you get 2 bites at the cherry and therefore more top teams play each other.
People are talking about NZers losing interest in rugby - for me it's more about losing interest in the RWC. The Cup is devalued by the tourney format, plus the desperation to win highlights the manifold weaknesses in the laws of rugby.

Such as - while I'm blithering on - why is a drop kick not simply treated the same way as an attacking punt? EG: if it goes dead, scrum back. That would help dis-incentivise the drop-kicks that help ruin these RWC fixtures.

  • 206.
  • At 08:53 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

We must also consider the fact regarding pacific islanders in NZ is that they are taking over our grass roots game. In Auckland for example club rugby is almost completely composed of pacific island players and white New Zealanders there are turning away from the game in their droves and taking up soccer. This has a major impact on the development of talent for non-pacific island New Zealanders considering that Auckland has one third of NZ's population and that Auckland club rugby in the past has generated a large percentage of NZ rugby talent. I have no problem with pacific islanders but I am further highlighting the point that NZ has been very generous to the islands and owes them nothing. You could argue that without some of the PI players, the All Blacks wouldn't be as good. But you could also argue that overall, as they are taking over the grass roots game, the pacific islands are detremental to the development of other players of non pacific island descent.

  • 207.
  • At 09:16 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • mike wrote:

In 78, 3 NZ forwards planned to deceive a referee to try and gain a penalty to beat Wales when they were losing(deservedly so for once). The argument about what the penalty was for is somewhat irrespective. If you hold the position of referee in such high regard that you are outraged by Wayne Barnes 's performance then how come you all happy that your countrymen and cherished AB's planned to deceive a ref in a international game?

Arrogance: all NZ rugby programs last week were unbelievable. "SH are streets ahead and the NH teams are rubbish". It has been like that since the cup started and as a result I ended up being glad England won (1st time in my life) and shouting for France. Some kiwi friends(I guess who don't really know that much about the game)also behaved this way-spending lots of time taunting me about Wales going out(they were unable to take the stick back this week). Other kiwi friends who I watched the game with obviously nervous before the game. When the Lions were here, it was worse. Maybe it is all media driven arrogance?

Nationality: Yes all countries import when they can. 2 points though: 1)Wales had it's grannygate when Graham Henry was in charge-driven by whom? & 2)Sitveni Sitvatu gained his permanent residency about a month after he played in the Lions series and recently got away with an assault charge because he has a fijian passport and removing his returning residents visa would stop him from travelling (and there was a RWC coming up!). Not really in the moved here as a child category all the Kiwis seem to bang on about.

Judiciary: THe kiwis were really happy & smirking that the touch judges and the judiciary didn't see anything with the Tana/BOD incident. When clearly there was and several NZ rugby writers & officials admitted that afterwards. Again, its complete double standards. BOD & the lions were whingers. Well I only hear one bunch whinging. It's not the Aussies!

  • 208.
  • At 09:30 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

Re Evan (comment 188) and Tristram (162): spot on. Thanks for expressng those thoughts so well.

4 days on, and the pain and emptiness is dissipating. I've found it a good time to review what's really important in my life.

  • 209.
  • At 09:36 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Maybe if the All Blacks had a team full of people FROM NEW ZEALAND instead of pacific islands the people would be upset.

How can you be upset went the players that represent you in a world cup aren't from the same country.

One quarter of the team that played France weren't even from New Zealand. I they are really serious about making rugby a truely world game they should stop the "all Black" and "wallabies" from robbing the best players from the pacific islands

  • 210.
  • At 09:39 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • ChinaBlack wrote:

I am certainly in agreement that New Zealanders (and I am a one) take their rugby a little too seriously and I will even acknowledge that - for whatever reason - we seem to come unstuck in World Cup knock-out games, but what is getting right up my nose is the fact that the latest shock defeat seems to have created the "right" by many rugby followers to have a go at the way we do things in New Zealand and at Kiwis in general. In the past three days I have lost count of the number of times I have read that we are arrogant, talk endlessly about how rubbish the 6 Nations competition is and basically go around telling everyone we are the best things since sliced bread.

Can we please put what has happened into perspective. A very highly rated ABs team lost a game they were expected to win by a couple of points against an incredibly fired up French side. An England team that has been strugglig (to be polite) for the past 3-4 years won a game it was expected to lose by a couple of points against a Australian side that has probably not played a worse game for the same period. So suddenly England are great and the Six Nations is so much better than the Tr-Nations blah, blah and Kiwis are all arrogant, pillage the Pacific Islands and need to do some serious navel gazing. All this because we - like the majority of the world's rugby media and followers - predicted we would win.

And to Brendan Gallagher of the Telegraph...I hope Zinny walks across the hall and pops you one.

  • 211.
  • At 09:42 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • MattDanford wrote:

Why the BBC lets people get away with such graciousless fishing trips and absurd generelisations on their board will alwasy be beyond me. Everytime anything happens in AB rugby thenthe whole Kiwi nations gets accused of arrogance, poaching, death threats etc.

I can't understand it. It's just hurtful to those of us that choose to live here and leads a bad taste in the mouth.

Colin Boag if you don't like NZ's attaitude to rugby then don't watch it, don't pay to watch it and just move on with life. I'm not seeing anything said about Barnes that wasn't written on t-shirts and paraded about as banter against Steve Walsh on the lions tour. I don't agree with it on either side, just because a few bad eggs decide to go over the top, should you prejudice against all of us? It's a a sad indictment on yourself.

all I saw outside Millennium stadium was disappointed kiwi's (are we allowed to be disappointed without being called arrogant?) and lots of hand shaking with the french & other supporters.

Andrew - this childish denial of reality, again so a couple of people cause a storm, you generalise the whole country? I don't get it. I don't deserve this and neitehr do most of my country men. Sure, hurl insults at those that misbehave, but against a whole country?

We don't judge all British on your football thugs, why judge all NZ on ours?

  • 212.
  • At 09:46 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • allypally wrote:

Let's just show each other some respect shall we.

It seems that every obsessed fan of ANY country thinks that the referee is biased against their team, opponent's supporters are arrogant and ignorant, and that opposing teams cheat more. This is obviously not the case.

NZers expected the ABs to win, but they were very wary of the French. Does this make them arrogant? I don't think so. Most neutrals also expected the ABs to win.

I know for a fact that some Lions supporters in NZ two years ago were very bad losers. Some NZ people are bad losers. Its the same for all teams and all supporters.

The press often print rubbish in every country. There has been some rubbish written in NZ and the UK over the past few weeks and these get taken out of context. Don't believe what you read.

The records show that the ABs are the best team in the World, but got beaten by the 3rd best team on the day, by two points. Well done France. They deserved to win. Let's not over-react.

NZ is a Pacific Island Nation. Please read Michael King's History of NZ, and buy an atlas before making any silly comments about so-called poaching.

One great thing about rugby is that the underdog often has a chance. Every now and then Scotland beat England in the 6-Nations. It's what makes rugby such a great game.

  • 213.
  • At 09:53 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • adam wrote:

Can we quit the racism on PI players. These guys give their all to NZ, the reason? They are New Zealander's. Those that think otherwise need to come out here, check out the composition of our suburbs, check out players history, and see that our rugby teams at all levels genuinely represent our countries demographic. It's something I am proud of.

I'll advise on another matter. 2000 people welcomed home the ABs today, not slating the ref, just proud they represented our country. Howlett aside (there is always an exception to prove a rule), they are excellent ambassadors of our country, and role models within our country. It's more than can POSSIBLY be said of the sports and soccer players of Europe.

The vast majority of posts here smack of jealously and schadenfreud. It's the same as indulging in Man Utd being knocked out of the cup in the 5th round when they are league champions. Get over it, because we already have.

  • 214.
  • At 10:01 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Mike W wrote:

I blame it on the fact that they were not "ALL Blacks" on the day.

What was with the different strip? surely it would have been possible to distinguish them in their usual gear from a team in Blue Shirts and white shorts?

I only saw the first half and I've never seen a team so dominant with the last minute penalty for France the only blemish. What happened during the half-time break?

  • 215.
  • At 10:12 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • J Douglas wrote:

Look, the All Blacks lost - and believe me it was no surprise to most New Zealander's - because they were out-passioned by the French. Just as they have been in the past by the Aussies. Nevermind that the All Blacks consistantly play the best rugby in the world and invariably are the "favourites" in the world cups - they are just not smart enough at the end of the day. That they weren't even permitted to wear the Black jersey is, I feel, another psychological factor - levelled against them by the smarter corporate controlled stooges. I for one, refuse to watch them again, unless they are the MEN IN BLACK.

  • 216.
  • At 10:35 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Shaun Rimmer wrote:

Anyone else noticed a distinct lack of Mr Zin Zan Brooke's column since the All Black loss? Is it timing, or is he just refusing to come out of his bedroom? As an aside, there's a kiwi I know who spoke to me last week about putting down an accumulator bet on both Australia and New Zealand getting knocked out in the quarters - I won't even start on the odds he was being offered! Did he do it? Nope, he decided against betting against his AB’s and now he's pretty much the most depressed bloke I've ever met!!

  • 217.
  • At 10:38 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Alistair Walker wrote:

I know a Kiwi, (don't we all) but one that actually lives there and he isn't remotely interested in rugby. In fact he looked decidely blank when I mentioned in conversation the world cup is currently being played in France. So I believe that there probably is a section of Kiwis that are neither interested nor care about the fortunes of the All Blacks. The final sentence of Sean Martin's article probably sums things up. NZ is a mature country and Rugby is not the only expression of its identity. However sporting sucess carries a feel good factor for the populace. However it is neither life nor death merely a pleasurable pursuit.
As Kipling wrote
"If you can meet Triumph & Disaster and treat those two imposters the same, and which is more, you'll be a man my son".

  • 218.
  • At 10:50 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • CzechTaff wrote:

Well at least this site is relatively polite. Some of the NZ sites are pure hatred distilled.

McAllister had to go - he eyed the French player and took him out, as was clearly shown in replay. Yes the pass looked forward but so did others. Overall Barnes has been one of the better refs, communicating with players and allowing games to flow more than others. The IRB should respond to the vitriol from NZ by giving him the final!!

What nobody seems to have mentioned is some inspired substitutions - Chabal, as usual, added passion to France just at the point I thought they were wilting. Michalek luckily for France had his suberb head on rather than his silly head. At the end of the day rugby is all about passion, something that seemed lacking at times from NZ.

And what numpty chose that change strip I mean grey. To quote (or possibly paraphrase) Sir Alex Ferguson "the grey kit is no good, your teammates can't see you". Yet another thing that the defeat can be blamed on. As a Welshman, I can assure you that I have come up with all sorts of excuses over the years for losing. I finally saw the light, IT IS ONLY A GAME! be passionate during it but win or lose, once that whistle blows get on with life.

  • 219.
  • At 10:53 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • michael wrote:

The charm of knock-out competition. If the quarters were best of 3 most likely both NZ and Aus would've gotten through. C'est la vie.

  • 220.
  • At 11:16 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"Well, the IRB certainly don't think the ref was very good. I see he won't take any further part in the RWC."

And neither will the other QF referees. Paddy O'Brien pointed out that it'd already been planned before the QFs that the QF referees wouldn't be refereeing the SF or final. Wayne Barnes will, however, be acting in a technical capacity.

One-eyed Kiwis whining about refereeing not going their way (for once) make me laugh!

  • 221.
  • At 11:21 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

#209. Is that you Hopkins?

I'm a pom living in Auckland for the last 6 years. The NZ rugby public and press are arrogant. This world cup was won as soon as they won the Lions series. They turned up to go through the motions and take the trophy home, I've been hearing it for the past 3 years! NH rugby is the poor cousin to kiwis as they don't play polynesian basketball. Last time I looked forward play was an integral part of the union game. If you want a purely running game with tries galore and uncontested ball then watch league. I'll have 5 goes then it's your turn, how boring.

I played 2 years of club rugby as the token white boy in a polynesian dominated club, I loved it, but it is sad that kiwi parents are wrapping their kids in cottonwool (a la Graham Henry!)

Lets face it, the AB's play the same players week in week out in the NPC, Super 14 and Tri(y) Nations therefore they know each others game's fairly well. The NZRFU refusal to select players that are not contracted in NZ is damaging their chances on an international level as the players have no exposure to different styles and gameplans and little experience of their World Cup oponents. The player pool in NZ is plenty deep enough to be able to lose a few top players to foreign clubs, they are not going to want them all and there have been some standouts in this years neutered domestic competitions.

As for bad refereeing decisions affecting the outcome of games, does anyone else remember England's 6 man scrum holding off the AB's in Wellington? Or England being reduced to 14 men when Simon Shaw was red carded for giving Keith Robinson a tickle? Was all part of the sport back then, wasn't it?

  • 222.
  • At 11:30 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Dave Bethell wrote:

Unfortunately the All Blacks have always had an ignorant, vocal minority who seem to think that their team has an almost divine right to do whatever it wants i.e. block, enter rucks and mauls illegally, kill the ball, pass forward, poach playesr from the Polynesian islands ... and to win, no questions asked. I met some of them during the 2005 Lions tour, but the real AB supporters suggested that they leave before they were set upon, by them, not us ..!

I heard a piece on R4 this morning from an NZ journo based in Paris, and it was honest, forthright and very amusing, just the fillip that the shocked Wallaby and All Black supporters needed. Stuck in Paris with nothing to do (allegedly)? Show some imagination; I know where I'd rather be than typing in this message whilst at work ..!

  • 223.
  • At 11:39 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Lee wrote:

I cannot believe some of the rubbish that has been spouted here.

Most NZ fans if asked, including myself, have said France deserved to win. It is the constant putting of words in people's mouths that is starting to sicken me.

As for the Pacific Island poaching? Apart from Sivivatu, who I happen to agree should be playing for Fiji, there is no such thing. To the poster who suggested Michael Jones played for NZ 'for the money', maybe it was also the fact he was BORN IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND?

As for the nonsense about them not feeling commited to the cause, all of them came to NZ as kids, learned the game here, and ARE New Zealanders. I know they feel that way, because I was born in London, to an English mother and came to NZ when I was 4 and I don't consider myself to be anything other than a proud kiwi. I can tell you right now nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the English rugby team be given a demoltion job by France on the weekend.


  • 224.
  • At 11:55 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"do NZers understand just how much damage they have done to the sport that they purport to love?"

One of the more enlightened NZ supports pointed out here - most succinctly, I might add - that the so-called fans who are making such a bad impression with the rest of the world aren't really interested in rugby as a sport, but in the All Blacks as a source of reflected superiority. Probably not dissimilar to the troublemaking English football fans who, once again, are not truly representative of the majority.

"I'm not seeing anything said about Barnes that wasn't written on t-shirts and paraded about as banter against Steve Walsh on the lions tour."

To be fair, Wayne Barnes has not, to the best of my knowledge, managed to abuse players not from his native country while on duty... not once, but twice. Walsh is a disgrace to the game.

  • 225.
  • At 11:55 AM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • KMS wrote:

"NZ is a Pacific Island Nation."

Perhaps they should be the Pacific Islands All Blacks? Fiji, Tonga and Samoa can then be officially designated as provincial sides / nurseries for talent. It might get them a cash injection from the NZRFU...

Just an idea... it'd settle the claim and counter-claim, at least!

  • 226.
  • At 12:04 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • dave wrote:

NZ were unlucky with two ref decisions and would not have lost otherwise , kiwis can content themselves with the fact that they will surely win the next World Cup (at home) , which does little for the
world game imo , especially for enthusiasts in japan who tabled a rival bid and who were outvoted by an OZ/SA/NZ pals arrangement .

Kiwis can also content themselves with the fact that it will not be 'four more years' for Gregan , its too late for him now.

What was that whimpering noise i heard coming from the Aussi scrum the other day ??

Red Rose revival

  • 227.
  • At 12:07 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I think that what people are saying about the loss is right. It was a shock defeat by a probably slightly worse team that were empassioned and outplayed them on the day. I will say however that the talk about leaving the sport behind just seems ridiculous. Reading this article I started to feel sorry for the kiwis and i found myself hoping that they won the next world cup even though I'm english. Anything that inspires such disgustingly patronising sentiments is unacceptible. If they're thinking of jumping ship to football after a few years of trophy drought then they're quitters and they'll never win. Everyone is forgetting that this was an upset. I still see the All Blacks as the best team in the world, and for a country with only 40% of the population of London I'm still impressed... just not by the fans. Give your team a break they're only human.

  • 228.
  • At 12:07 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • codah wrote:

bring back buck

  • 229.
  • At 12:08 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Come on Kiwis .. it was one match. You still have an exceptional squad and every chance for winning in 2011. Just learn to lose and enjoy the sport for what it is - sport.

  • 230.
  • At 12:11 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Thanks, Mat. I agree.
Play as hard as you can to to win - if you lose - shake the other guys hand and smile.
Its supposed to be a sport - for fun - remember - for FUN!
Old fashioned maybe, but healthier !

  • 231.
  • At 12:43 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • garyhorrobin wrote:

I was so glad to see the all blacks and aussies lose at the weekend. Their sheer arrogance and disregard for northern hemisphere rugby is disgraceful...but at least we have bottle, if not as much skill.

  • 232.
  • At 12:43 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • HoseyG wrote:

When the ABs returned today into Christchurch airport there were 3000 fans (as reported by TV3 news) to welcome them home and to say hard luck; you lost 1 game in a knockout tournament, we are proud of what you have done as a team over the last few years, better luck next time. Rugby in NZ is struggling? I think that shows what true fans are all about supporting your team winning or losing. I'm sure the English team will get the same support from their fans and media when they (hopefully) lose to France. Yeah right.

  • 233.
  • At 12:52 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Jeff, UK wrote:

NZ people are super. So helpful, polite and charming.

I have been to NZ twice, the last time with the Lions in 05. But when it comes to rugby NZs are arrogant and at times obnoxious.

In spite of this NZ rugby trait my wife and I plan to be there again in 2011 to enjoy such a beatiful country and its people.

Of course, we will be ready for the arrogance and ignore it because there is more to life than losing at at the RWC.

  • 234.
  • At 01:11 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tony Wilson wrote:

I felt that the All Blacks were never going to win it from the start, but then I watched the game against Scotland in their pools where they kicked their three points rather than going for taps or mauls from the lineout for tries. Even though the crowd booed they seemed to have adopted the mentality of closing the game down. I mentioned this to a friend that it seemed that Henry had instilled the right approach, win by whatever means. My estimate of the ABs changed after that match, I felt they might just win the little pot of gold.

In the fnial minutes of the French game I cannot understand why they went through twenty odd phases of possession, were they relying on the ref to ping the Frecnh and get the three points. I just cannot understand why they did not try to get a field position for drop goal. The only thing I can think is that they bottled under pressure and lost composure, it seemd like the option at the time - work on your own play not the whistle of the ref.

I feel that the ABs are a great side but are fallible like all other teams, and New Zealanders ought to take it on the chin and accept the loss a little more. At the end of the day they lost by two points, and respect should be given to the French for keeping them out and scoring twenty points themselves.

It's test rugby, and it has a good reason for being called test rugby. Any of the top teams on their day can beat another, especailly within the top 6 sides. It's no disgrace to lose.

  • 235.
  • At 01:21 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Richard Johnson wrote:

The team that was played lost. It wasn't the best team they had, but the team they put out lost.

Where was Mauger, Mauger, Mealamu, Gear? This was the formula that won 85% of it's games. So why change it? Because they don't learn and still try and be clever when it matters most.

No surprises really.

  • 236.
  • At 01:29 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Marcus wrote:

I'm a South African who has breathed and lived the sport of Rugby from as far back as I can remember.
Due to our isolation from international sports for so long, the first time I was introduced to the All Black "legend" was by my farther and his video tapes of test matches dating back to the 50's.
The South African and Kiwi rivalry is something I don't believe is matched in any other sport around the world, especially back in the day of the amateur. I believe profesionalism has sadly and is slowly bringing this passion on both sides to an end. I love the All Blacks for your history and pride you have in your sporting heritage and long may it continue!! I know how much of a uniting influence winning the world cup in '95 was for South Africa and I hope it can continue to do the same thing for countries around the world!!

  • 237.
  • At 01:36 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tony Fellows, LONDON wrote:

Other sports catching up - are you mad. The kiwi's only world competing team is the All Blacks - without them no-one would know that such a country exists.
It was great to see the AB's beaten and have to pick-up their handbags and go home. The were so far up themselves that they used their rectum for speaking. And what SH.t they spoke about how they were so good. Same with the big mouth Aussies. They had to have a pre-meeting with the ref - to try to protect their jelly legs scrum. It didn't help and it was smashed.
Sorry boy's but try again in 4 years time - the world cup is the only rugby comp which counts for anything - all those in-between games are just mickey-mouse and count for NOTHIN.

  • 238.
  • At 01:50 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

France had better tactics, more belief and more bottle. Sorry, but you lost. Nothing to do with the Ref, he is only human, I thought the All Greys were meant to be Super Human!!!

  • 239.
  • At 01:56 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • soyaman wrote:

Not so choice now eh bros?

The Aussies over here just shrugged and got on with life ,
never mind boys you always give everyone a good laugh every world cup.

  • 240.
  • At 02:14 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Nigel Balding wrote:

England meet France in the first semi-final.
South Africa meet Argentina in the second semi-final.
Australia meet New Zealand at the airport - nuff said.

  • 241.
  • At 02:47 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Jez wrote:

This has been the best World Cup yet! And why? Because developing nations have developed and stepped up to the plate to ensure competition throughout the tournament - yes even Portugal who don't forget scored a try against the All Blacks. Look at the facts, seven of the eight teams in the quarter finals would be worthy winners, Fiji if Nicky Little hadn't been injured could also have done it. Add to the equation the fact that both Wales and Ireland should have really been in the quarters that is half the teams entered could on their day put a winning tournament together! In 1987, to be fair the All Blacks did only have to turn up to win, okay they had a great team with Shelford, Kirwan, Kirk, Wheldon's et al who knew what it meant to pull on the black shirt and yes they were the worthy winners. But look at Argentina's performance in the same tournament, lost two (to Fiji and NZ) with one victory against Italy - bottom of their group! Under the current view point that minnows should not be allowed to enter again well where would Argentine rugby be - chuck out Portugal and what happens to the 2027 semi-final line up!
So my point is, the All Blacks and the Australians losing has done this world cup a huge favour and I am sure that many true rugby fans in those countries will accept that their loses are good for Rugby in general. Perhaps then if New Zealand do win their world cup at home in 2011 they will have done so because they were forced into doing so because of the world wide competition making that victory all the more worthwhile, valuable and satisfying!

  • 242.
  • At 03:25 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Cock of the North wrote:

Guys do not bring race and the colour of someones skin into this glorious sport. We all wherever we are from have admired the way that the All Blacks play, they are a great team from a great country I am suspect that the few individuals who have threatened the match official have probably never pulled a pair of boots on and obviously dont understand what rugby is really all about. I think Lomu is Tongan so what if he nailed his colours to a tree in NZ and was eligible its his choice. And was Tonga's loss so what! NZ will bounce back. It would be better all round to pay tribute to the emerging nations who have lit up this RWC for us all, than to continue with this thread, Accept defeat gracefully and move on with pride not bitterness. PS if any of you guys are looking for a job I know a National One side thats looking for a few good backs.

  • 243.
  • At 03:50 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Martin Robins wrote:

I'm Welsh, so I know how you Kiwis are feeling. But it's true what some people say: it really isn't all that important. What is Rugby after all? 30 grown men fighting over a leather bag of wind. At least that's what I've been trying to tell myself since the Fiji game.
But if we're talking about REAL heartache, look no further than the parents of Madeleine McCann.
Some things are more important than Rugby.

  • 244.
  • At 03:52 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Brendan McGrath wrote:

Last Friday, the Irish bookies were offering 6-1 against France against NZ and 4-1 against England v Aussie. Silly odds, but a modest 20 euro double netted me a tidy 500 euro.
About the game, sorry Kiwis love your country, love the people - until you start spouting s***e and whinging after getting whupped in big games.
Won't even begin to relate the jokes about Aussie prop forwards doing the rounds here!

  • 245.
  • At 04:05 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • John Gray wrote:

This has been the best RWC yet.
Because the results have NOT gone the way the experts and bookies predicted. I mean what games are going to be remembered, New Zealand v Portugal or, New Zealand v France.
As to the loss of New Zealand, it's a game of inches and France defended those inches with passion befitting the home nation.
As an England fan the arrogance some people are attributing to our QF win I say it's more relief, if we had lost we would have been the worst defending champions, though I'm sure no-one would have rubbed our noses in it. LOL

  • 246.
  • At 04:21 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

In all fairness! The all blacks will always be considered as one of the favourites for the world cup for the next hundred years! Compare the ALL BLACKS to the boys of Brazil in football, they are always expected to win the world cup!

Yes NZ over react when they get knocked out of world cups by the French (99 and 07) and so do the Brazilians when they crash out of the football world cup! Its National expectation for having such a fantastic set up and such a reputation of developing world class players!

But I feel the All Blacks of 07 may fall into the same catergory as the England football team of 06 - the best team/squad they have had in years and they blew it!

I'm glad to be an England rugby fan at the moment after the last few years since RWC03 as I expected to scrape the quarter finals and then get spanked! At the start of the tournament I'd of taken semi-finals. Everything to me now is great!

  • 247.
  • At 04:33 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • SRA wrote:

The comments from the English regarding the Pacific Island/New Zealand situation are laughable when checked against the facts, and display an ignorance bordering on racism. I won't tire readers with rebuttals and references, you can follow this issue ad infinitum from many of the posters here and in other blogs in terms of who was born where and why they play where they do.

I've noticed the English tend to lump Aussies & Kiwis together so the important point to note is that NZ is a Pacific Island (c.f. Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Niue, etc.), as distinct to Australia, which is a continent. Unless you have lived in and understand the region, it is practically impossible to conceive how much NZ is the "mother island" towards which many of the inhabitants of the smaller nations gravitate. The Cook Islands use the NZ$ as their currency. There are more Samoans in Auckland than in Samoa. 12 of the Samoan team were born in NZ....etc. and so on. The islands are so interconnected it's perhaps easier for someone not familiar with the region to conceptualise it along tribal/regional lines, as opposed to national boundaries. Practically any English comment on this thread can be reasonably & logically countered in this context.

The issue I want to raise needs a little intro - bear with me.

Every time NZ play in the Northern Hemisphere the UK press starts having a bleat about the Haka. Fair enough. I agree we're overly precious about it - contrast the Haka today to those performed 30 years ago. In my opinion teams can either face it or ignore it, whatever suits them. For many years in the 80's Australia used to leave us to do the Haka alone, and trotted off to their own ingoal for a bit of passing practice, until we'd finished and were ready to kick off. No problem.

OK, so the Haka bothers you. Well bl00dy Swing Low Sweet Chariot bothers me. This is a spiritual folk song, originating in the USA. It's often referred to as a slave song. Prior to it's adoption by the English as their unofficial rugby anthem it had no connection to the English whatsoever.

Twickenham, 1988. Your lot have scored one try in 2 years, but in the second half of this game you pile on 6 against the Irish. For English fans the joy overflows. Songs are heard again in stands that have long been silent (England have lost 15 times out of their last 23 Five Nations matches). Chris Oti - England's first black player for 80 years - scores a hattrick. The English crowd show their appreciation to the player by....singing a slave song to him in celebration!!!! Unbelievable. Oti never said anything, but I bet the irony and undertone wasn't lost on him. The institutionalised racism in many parts of English society is endemic - ask Mrs Lawrence, and the Met who never quite accepted that anything was wrong there - and it's certainly not absent from the rugby grounds.

So keep banging on about the Haka and the Pacific Islands, our Pommy friends. We know who and what you are. While some of the points raised are relevant, most are ugly and defenceless, and you can't even see why.

  • 248.
  • At 04:52 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • sarah wrote:

in all fairness to say one nation whinges more than anpther is ridiculous. every nation and their fans whinge about so called slights or unfair decisions not just the kiwis. and in fairness, they had alot to complain about. tell me if englad were in that situation v france in the semis and the ref allowed 2 forward passes- there would be uproar.

  • 249.
  • At 05:02 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Schuster wrote:

First thing I have learned from this blog is that it is unfair to accuse the All Blacks of poaching Pacific Islanders for their team. The reality seems to be that many Pacific Islanders emigrated to New Zealand, for economic reasons, as children and learned their rugby there. These 'assimilated' players rightly consider themselves to be New Zealanders.

Secondly, there was an earlier post which intrigued me insofar as it alleged that the lead up to the All Black try in the 62nd minute of the game also featured a forward pass. I do not have a video of the game. But I wonder whether this is true. Or is the earlier poster simply wrong in his evaluation of the background to the AB try ? If, however, he is accurate, then the All Blacks have even less to complain about in terms of the final result of the game.

Thirdly, there is no dount that the twenty year gap since the ABs won the Rugby World Cup is a noose around their neck. They can win all they like over the next four years. But, in the final analysis, there will be immense pressure on them to win at home in 2011. Psychology will be as important as fitness, conditioning, stamina and skill in 2011.


  • 250.
  • At 05:42 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Hugh HUBBLE wrote:

Some fascinating comments here. A lot to make me (an Englishman resident in France for several years...)think. Lots of parallels too.

I think the game has changed in Britain too, certainly in England since professionalism. There does not seem to be the small town local element anymore. That could have something to do with the amount of Kiwis, Aussies, Sarfis, and loads of South Sea Islanders too. We have Argentinians, Americans, Canadians, and sometimes I think "where are our No 10's if Wilko is out?" But we can't have it both ways.

I wasn't the only one to see forward AB passes and some dark play from So'iaolo and McCaw, but they weren't dealt with. You had no real test in the pool games. England did. Try living with that 36 to nil in yer face.

I also thought with 13 nil to the AB's, France could do anything. Recall 1999? There are some teams who raise their game dependant upon the opposition. Last 6N, Scotland was crap, but come the England game, what happens ? They always raise their game; everyone seems to. Except maybe the New Zealanders. You rarely get such equal opposition. That says a lot about you.

Lastly, New Zealand. As a kid in the 1950/60's I associated it with The All Blacks and what was then, Empire. That's how we were brought up. We didn't own you, but you were part of us and we were part of you. But now it means the most beautiful country I have never been to. Maybe one of these days. One thing I have noticed over the years is the manner in which the Haka has changed. Compare filmed versions of 1973 against the Baabaas, RWC's 1987, 1991 and this last RWC. Psychologists could have field day with that...

My kids' French mates who have visited NZ, come back and can talk of nowhere else.

See you 2011.

  • 251.
  • At 06:24 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Firstly, a sport dominated by any one team for too long will eventually lose its appeal. It's good for the game as a whole that results aren't predictable.

Rugby was a foreign sport to me when growing up, but I have taken an interest for a couple of decades now.
I love it as a spectacle, and as a game where committment and attitude are on display for all to see.
One thing has always bugged me though...a loss by any big team in a knockout tournament invokes an over-reaction by the media, which is understandable, but also in the form of statements from within the camp! Now I don't know whether this is usually an attempt to appease the sporting press and therefore keep them quiet by telling them everything is going to change, or if it a genuine feeling that losing an important game means going back to the drawing board, but surely a loss, on some occasions, is down to a one-off performance, either by the winning or losing side.
Anyway that's a general comment on the game as I see it.
As for the games last weekend...fantastic for me as someone who expected to be beaten by the Aussies, and to see the ABs go through by at least 15 points. A great lift for NH rugby, and should, if looked at objectively, be good for the game as a whole.
I've heard a lot of stuff about the NZ camp not giving credit to the French, but I think their mind will be on analysing what they did wrong, or what they could have done better. That is not arrogance in my book, but a sensible approach to learning from mistakes.
If having the belief that you are the best in the world is arrogant, then I'm in favour. That conviction can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing (in both directions)and managing it is the key, not removing it.
It seems that most people want to hear the lip-service statement that France were/are the better team. I'm sure no-one in the NZ camp believes that so why say it! The French were fantastic in defense on the day. They were more passionate, more committed to the cause. In some some ways more desperate. Tactically and committment-wise they won but I don't think they were the better side. That is irrelevant...they did what was required to win.
These results do not necessarily mean a change in Rugbys world order, but maybe it means that some teams/nations/coaches are capable of learning and adapting better than others!
Remember De Beer dropping five between the posts for SA against England in 1999? That's about learning and tactics and what it can bring you if you play according to your opposition and conditions. You can't always win just by playing how you want to play.
Anyway, I think it's been a great competition and hope the adverse publicity on some fans reactions and a few press comments doesn't start a trend into football-like behaviour and attitudes!
Enjoy the rest of it safe in the knowledge that in 4 years time there MAY be even bigger upsets...and wouldn't that be good?

  • 252.
  • At 06:49 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • past it fullback wrote:

Mat (Post 1); great comment. You are a credit to AB fans and to the sport we all love. I am one of the "arrogant English", but ultimately I am a fan of our game. It is the attitude of people like you that differentiates our sport from others and especially football (soccer). England to retain the WC?!

Ha! It's no wonder the Poms are rushing to the defence, or turning a blind eye, to the obviously woeful reffing that directly impacted on the outcome of a major sporting trophy - it's how they won their only soccer World Cup in 66: from the infamous obvious 'non-goal' that was called a goal. The ref in that game did a marvelous job too, didn't he?

  • 254.
  • At 07:34 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • mac wrote:

Holy smokes ... are you sure they only have 136,059 registered players? with what they have achieved in the sport with that amount of registered players is quite astounding. England has about 600-700 000 registered players?
Another thing, why is the rest of the world whinging as if the allblacks are the the worst team in rugby. Take a good look at their history against every test playing nation including world cups placing before one consider mouthing off about the allblacks. Its like this 'one' game is used to judge everything about the allblacks. Relax.

  • 255.
  • At 07:37 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Everybody seems to thing that the alls blacks are full of islanders in actuality they do not have that man compared to the south pacific teams.They are on the other hand the biggest exporter of test players.The all blacks lost but does not make me any less of a supporter.I love them with a passion am I upset of course.Will I be there in four years I have already started making preparations for it now.Rugby will always be the number one sport in New Zealand

  • 256.
  • At 07:57 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Jason Adams wrote:

NZ falling out of love with Rugby? way. NZ is still the envy of the rugby world.......just look at their win/loss ratio against any team. They play it simple and sublime. I'm a very proud Englishman; but would always pay to see the All Blacks, as a neutral. They were the best side in the RWC, France played well to beat them, but were fortunate in seeing a few of the opposition injured during the match. In 50 years time NZ will have won more RWC's than anyone.....I'd bet on that.

  • 257.
  • At 08:10 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • mac wrote:

PLEASE -CAN SOMEONE POST THE DEFINITION OF ARROGANCE. Its a pity that many use the allblacks as the second definition of the word. WHEN DID HENRY AND MC CAW SPEAK OF ARROGANCE? Please I would love to know. Dont confuse the arrogance of the Nz media and a small number of the nz fans with the gracious and humbled allblacks. We aren't the ones sending B teams around the world and in pool stage matches are we?

AND PLEASE FOR THOSE WHO MOUTH OFF ABOUT NZ POACHING- try and do some legit research before coming up with your ignorant assumptions. 13 of the Samoan 2007 quad were NZ BORN and raised.

  • 258.
  • At 08:12 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • SteveO-Putney wrote:

I love the game of Rugby and have talk about it and played it for decades. I went to the Scotland ABs match and had local Scottish people saddened by the way a 2nd 15 was put out in the pool stage.. A Scotish guys reason.. "the best guys in Scotland may never get to play the all blacks..." that to me means something.. Now as said I love my rugby and really do not bad mouth anybody.. but to play with heart and lose to a better side is one thing.. but to go down to a bad ref's decision is another. The final try had 1 potentially 2 forward passes in it... it was a game breaker.. and the English Ref (& the 2 English linesman) did not even goto the TMO on that one. They went TMO on previous trys and line cross's. So the French go through to the Semi's on the back what should not be a try. I find that wrong! and to do it on a world stage is disgusting....

I feel what happened is about as correct as :- Sprinter Marion Jones has given back the medals she won at the Sydney Olympic Games after admitting that she took drugs that made her run faster.

  • 259.
  • At 08:25 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • casper wrote:

ANDREW WROTE- "The All Blacks may hold the number one position in the world rankings, but that says more about the rankings than anything else. A consistent failure to do knockout competitions does not merit the "best team in the world" tag. Best at what? Branding?"

So are you saying that despite England poor record in the six nations and test loses against the Southern Hemisphere teams since 2003 that this still merits them as the best team?. Please get me a bucket! Best at what?...Hyprocrisy

A different perspective on the loss.

I was doing a bit of research through the stats NZ site a few months back - one interesting thing was there was an equal amount of people in NZ who took part in some type of art/culture event (a show, exhibition, visiting a gallery) as attended a rugby or other sports event. So the scale's pretty even at the moment. We have such a wealth of artistic talent in NZ (dram, dance, visual, music, etc) but we have such a disproportionate funding system. In theory, within NZ the arts should get the same funding as sports on this fact alone. 25 Mil from the Government (plus some high profile corporate sponsorship) would go a long way to building a stronger arts culture here.

So... there's a recognition of a thriving arts culture here. It's now built in to the schools curriculum, sitting alongside sports (which is still very important!).

Interesting times.

Have a look at the tax breaks they get in Ireland. VERY good.

I see Doug Howlett (?) was arrested for stomping cars outside a London night club. Too much expectation and money pressure.

Sports in NZ is not what it used to be.

  • 261.
  • At 08:53 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Kiwikirstnz wrote:

kiwis falling out of love with rugby........that will never happen........everyone is just "annoyed" to say a better word at the way the game was played saturday.....its hard to support a team and then see them loose.....not only loose the dream of holding the world cup...but to be robbed of that honour dew to a ref who shouldnt have been there international game he had reffed previously.....cmon...thats not international standards....not to mention the sideline refs who should have picked that they picked up McCaw every time he touched the ball!!!..the 4th ref should be used if a play is not sure of by the ref as they do for tries....a clear forward pass was shown around the world....its not that we didnt do our best...clearly that wasnt the case.....just plain and simple bad cant fault the boys who played in cardiff....nor can you fault the kiwi public or all black fans around the world.....we are true rugby fans.....being a true kiwi and cantabrian...its in the blood as it will always be...!!!

  • 262.
  • At 09:10 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Andreas wrote:

It seems everyone is straying off the topic here..New Zealand as a nation will always have high expectations on the ABs but will they loose their support no.I am Zimbabwean who has supported and followed the ABs since i was 11 years will i carry on supporting. I will be a ABs supporter for life.If i have the same feelings do you think that something as the phenomenon of the ABs will ever loose support we are mistaken.The fact they have stumbled when it counts doesnt mean that they should not be the best in the world they win big matches.Its painful to seem them not do it when it counts on the biggest stage there is.I cant wait to be in New Zealand to watch those game like I have done now.

  • 263.
  • At 09:26 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Tony wrote:

There has been much talk about the referee with regard to the forward pass issue (which throughout the world is becoming more of an issue with nearly all teams playing the American Football style of flat attack to gain the hard yards over the gain line,hence the predictable back lines we are seeing (Fiji excepted)). However I was at the game and although I haven't seen a replay of the game I noticed in front of us a quick throw in by the ABs in their own 22 which must have been at least a yard forward which led directly to them scoring at the other end. Haven't yet seen anyone comment on it though, were the referee, touch judges and cameras not quick enough? (Tricky being a ref isn't it?)No, if I was a kiwi I would be studying the replay of the game to see if the penalty count against McCaw and the AB forwards in general was justified. These penalties not only slowed the ABs game it but clearly got under McCaws skin and sowed the seeds of doubt amongst his team mates seeing that things were going wrong. Maybe it will only be Barnes and McCaw who truly know what went on in the depths of the pile ups.

Two other issues though,why on earth was Carter playing. In the warm up he was running like he was trying not to show he was carrying an injury and then went on to prove all was not well by missing several bread and butter kicks in the warm up, staying out longer than the rest of his team mates to try to get one over to boost his confidence before running back to the changing room, embarrasing for someone of his class. If the ABs thought he was that essential to them he should only have been on the bench. No doubt this desperate measure of playing him would have affected (possibly indirectly) the confidence of the players in the team.

On a rather off topic theme has anyone considered that the lack of AB victories in the World Cup is connected to the quietness of their support. I acknowledge that they are the most knowledgable in the world (even the women I've met know more about rugby than most British blokes)but when push came to shove on Saturday the French supporters who apparantly were outnumbered 2 or 3 to one were the only supporters making themselves heard which must have helped their team. If I was the NZRU I would be giving some serious thought to planning some form of vocal encouragement for the team given thattheir fans couldn't even chant the usual Black, Black, Black when your team aren't even wearing the colour.

  • 264.
  • At 09:46 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • b1 wrote:

Hugh, your comment about the All Blacks not being New Zealanders is simply incorrect. All of the players either were born or grew up and went to school in New Zealand. We are a nation of migrants from many parts of the world, including Britain and the Pacific.

To suggest that New Zealanders of Pacific extraction are not New Zealanders is offensive to them and to other New Zealanders. It's like suggesting that a British person of Bangladeshi or Nigerian extraction is not British - though I'm sure you didn't mean it to come across that way.

  • 265.
  • At 09:52 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Paul Sabino wrote:

There is another solution: double the number of world cups, every year before the soccer mundial, and every year after!
With double the events, the AB's will have 2 x the chances, and actually score a WC sometime!
Brazil feels the same every time they lose the futebol mundial!
Play the film of that Rio loss to Uruguai...they partied the whole week BEFORE...and were zombies the week after.
Didn't you enjoy all the parties before? there you go!

  • 266.
  • At 10:19 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Clive wrote:

Did anyone notice the total lack of passion of the All Blacks during THEIR national anthem. Fifty per cent were not sing it and all of them looked totally bred. Very sad!

  • 267.
  • At 10:23 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Mike Davis wrote:

Oh dear. We will get over it. I myself was a lot more gutted in 1995 than this time round. I will still be wearing my All Black jersey at the golf corse. When questioned I will say "The world cup has been around for 20 years, but the All Blacks have been around for well over a hundred".
One game or one tournament does not destroy the history and tradition of
over a hundred years of All Black rugby.

  • 268.
  • At 11:36 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Brendan McCullagh wrote:

World rugby without a strong NZ team would be a poorer place indeed. I too was at the Millenium stadium on Saturday night and was priveleged to be there amongst an estimated 30,000 NZ supporters in full voice, and I'm Irish. They bring so much to the game as a whole and it is up to the NZRU to stop harking back at past glory and pick the nation up in time for what I believe will be a successful WC in 2011.

  • 269.
  • At 11:41 PM on 10 Oct 2007,
  • Mal wrote:

Some of the gloating here at NZ's failure is ridiculous.
NZ had high expectations given our form over the last few years , and are rightfully dissapointed as we love the game.
There are a few dickhead fans everywhere but most who talk up the team to opponets before hand mean it in a good natured fashion. I talk up my provencial team to other NZ fans regardless of favourites or underdogs tag as part of teasing banter. It is a shame if this is misinterpreted as arrogance.

Many people discuss and analse the game afterwards and naturally referree performance is part of that, and while we see flaws in his performance most i know see the reason for the loss the AB's failure to convert possesion into points. Such is rugby.
Well played France - most NZ people believe you deserved to win

By the way post 243 - Jonah was eligable due for NZ due to the fact he was born and raised in Auckland. Yes he had tongan parents , but as a young country most NZ'ers have at least foreign grandparents but it seems to be only the pacific island players who NZ are accused of pillaging.

  • 270.
  • At 01:03 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Spencey wrote:

This is a timely article as we all sit down to digest the All Blacks loss. Like most people (including EVERY rugby journalist in NZ) I expected the AB's to turn up, win and move onto the semis. Sadly we did not and the post postmortems follow.

I think we have become too insular in NZ around the game and expect everyone to play it like us in the southern hemisphere and those that don't should be snubbed and ignored.

While the ref may have had an influence on the game, we should have been prepared for his style of referring. We should invite northern refs down to NZ to referee our top games (super 14 especially). this ref is seen as an up and comer yet we have not seen him down under. we should invite him and other top northern refs to NZ and let them see first hand how we play the game. They should be made welcome.

We should also let our players travel away and still be selected for the AB's. South Africa did it successfully with Percy Montomery.

When the NZ Rugby Union run their own postmortem we need people from the northern hemisphere to be involved and give us a reality check.

While we may be the best team in the world we are not world champions. And while England may be world champions they have not been the best team in the world. The ultimate task is to become both the world champions and the best team in the world at the same time. Not easy and not many teams in the world succeed.

In any event I love the game (including the AB's) and always will and good on the teams that are still in the cup.

God bless NZ

  • 271.
  • At 01:22 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • rick wrote:

Like any sport, rugby is played by a certain type of individual. The image is a tough, rugged, independent type. But that does not describe every Kiwi. Many Kiwis are more suited to football and other less rugged team sports. Today less rugged kids can play the other sports and admit they like them better. Thus, there is a growing population of non rugby-breathing folks. The only solution is outlaw other sports or produce only rugged children.

  • 272.
  • At 01:27 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • C G Rodliffe wrote:

Observations. New Zealand all blacks.
The lost game
Very wet outside. Showers of tears Weeping supporters constantly showering all and sundry. Guys: Yes GUYS all in black trashed by the MEN from France.

Please dry up forget your fertility dance,the HAKA, From one who has watched He men in the Nigerian jungle perform much the same to excite mating females.
Does Wembley stadium truthfully welcome a performance of this savage ritual, preceding a game

  • 273.
  • At 01:46 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • David J wrote:

It is hard to understand what comments about the 'All Blacks whinging' are refering to. At no point before, during or after the game have I seen either the players or management whinge about anything.

Whether over which tops to wear through to the decisions of the ref they have absolutely point blank refused to whinge. They have acknowledged they made mistakes, the French played well, that they will play whoever they have to, wherever and whenever in which ever tops. Where is anything even close to whinging?

One member of NZRU - not the All Blacks - has made one comment that everything needs reviewing - including the refereeing decision. Hardly justification for dismissing the team as whingers.

They may have lost a game - which they could and should have one even with the well documented errors of refereeing - but that does not mean they can be critised for saying things that they simply haven't.

  • 274.
  • At 02:23 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Good point rick. Very insightfull. There are a couple of points being banded about in this blog that are just not factual. The NZRFU only spent NZ$5million to try and secure the cup. Not 50. Secondly, the NZRFU does not poach players. Most players of pacific heritage were either born in New Zealand or have been here since they were knee hight to a grasshopper, when you have no idea how good at rugby they are going to be, so how could they be poached. I would also like to say that Rugby is New Zealands national sport and is as much a part of our history and identity as Gallipoli and the mighty pavalova. To follow along with your point Rick, as much as this will sound blunt and ignorant, football will always be for pansies and rugby will always be for 'rugged kids'! Long live the ABs

  • 275.
  • At 03:12 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • stulane wrote:

I thought i would let the dust settle for a few days to see if it was mentioned, but it has not.. so time to do so..

There has been no mention from the All Blacks about the French team 'disrespecting' the Haka.. A sentiment that i have no doubt would have been raised had they beaten the French, along with usual drivel of 'it fired us up', 'made us more of a team' etc etc.. This sentiment is always raised when any opposing team does not stand completely still, or comes within 10 metres of them as the perform this ritual.. The last Lions tour being the prime example..

This ritual has become noticeably more aggressive, and the aggression factor is directly proportional to the number of RWC's the All Blacks have failed to win.. Which is every RWC apart from the one they hosted, when they were the only professional team, and South Africa did not take part..

The All Blacks are the ultimate in double standards.. They claim the haka gives them no psychological advantage, and the rest of the world should just get over it and watch it.. Yet they whine to high heaven when they cant wear their precious All Black kits and have to change colours..

To take the disrespect issue one step further.. The fact they have two different haka's, with the more fearsome version being reserved for more difficult opponents is the ultimate disrespect.. How should an opposing team feel when the All Blacks give them the 'softer' version of the haka.. Its virtually saying, we dont respect you, your no competition, your not worthy of our 'full-on' version..

I dread to think how intimidating the 2011 version will be when they are desperate to win in front of their own fans.. And lets be honest, to say it is not intimidating, or does not give them a psychological edge when the opposing team is expected to just stand there and take it is utter rubbish.. The rest of world rugby is sick of it.. Its time we got rid of this pre-game morris dance..

But of course that is assuming that the All Blacks qualify for 2011.. since only this years semi-finalists are guaranteed that..

  • 276.
  • At 03:14 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Julie Dooley wrote:

On a very positive note ....
With the loss, the NZRFU are going to have a hard time getting Aucklanders to pay for the upgrades to Eden Park.
YAY! Thanks ABs!
Move the 2011 World Cup to North Harbour (where is should be) and leave the Aucklander's rates to cover traffic congetestion and herbaceous borders!
Thank-you the AB's :) You guys rock!

  • 277.
  • At 04:07 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • ella ella ella wrote:

Come on Argentina I say.

I will be barracking for them like I was during the Falklands War

  • 278.
  • At 04:10 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • PB wrote:

Im an australian and live in New York and have to say that one of the reasons I love rugby is because of the passion that comes out in the really close games, And as we saw on the weekend it was the passion that was the difference between the teams on saturday

This sort of passion is not one of the ingredients in American football, and even though my team lost on the weekend, the intensity of passion exhibited was something to celebrate.

  • 279.
  • At 04:12 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Wilson wrote:

All the more reason for Argentinean and Pacific Island teams to be included in a Southern Hemisphere “5 Nations” and/or Super 14 (16?) type tournament

1) IRB World Rankings:

Argentina = 4th (n.b. Compare with: Australia = 5th, England 6th, South Africa 3rd)
Fiji = 9th, Samoa = 12th, Tonga = 13th
(A combined P.I. team is estimated to rank around 6th or 7th e.g. England or Irelands level)

2) IRB Senior Male Player Stats:

Population:Senior Male Players
Fiji 850,000:20,000
Samoa 214,000:6,681
Tonga 102,000:5,316
(TOTAL) 1,116,000:31,997

Arg 40,300,000:25,000

NZ 4,200,000:27,745
Aus 21,100,000:29,100
SA 47,400,000:147,650

3) Traveling Distances:

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are in a close triangular formation with distances between any two being similar to Auckland to Christchurch, Sydney to Brisbane, and less than Durban to Cape Town.
Auckland to Sydney 2200km, Auckland to Suva 2100km (Most likely PI team base).
Argentina: the distances would be similar for NZ, Aus, PI teams to traveling to South Africa
Auckland to Cape Town 11,800km. Auckland to Buenos Aires 10,700km
Cape Town to Buenos Aires 6,900km

4) Would Argentineans support regular rugby?
Rugby is currently enjoying its highest ever profile in Argentina and now is the perfect time to leverage off that into place with inclusion in a high profile tournament. Argentina has substantial soccer stadiums that could easily accommodate rugby. The Pumas regularly play at José Amalfitani Stadium with a 50,000 seat capacity.
“PARIS, Oct 2 2007(Reuters) - Argentina has been gripped by Pumamania with rugby pushing soccer, the national game, off the front pages and into second place in the sporting calendar.
Players and coaching staff at the World Cup, where the Pumas have beaten heavyweights France and Ireland on their way to the quarter-finals, are elated by the reaction at home.
The biggest soccer game in the country between Boca Juniors and River Plate was brought forward to an earlier kickoff on Sunday so as not to clash with Argentina's quarter-final against Scotland at the Stade de France.”

5) Would Pacific Islands (Suva based) support a large rugby competition?

The Pacific Islands with Fiji in particular are the world’s most fanatical rugby supporters. Fiji itself has 20,000 registered Senior Male players. Combined with Tonga and Samoa, a “Lions” type P.I. side would be a powerful team.
Rugby is the one medium that the Islands get to display their talents on a world stage and they are arguably per capita the best in the world at the game.
In Fiji, rugby comes first and second in life with most other things a distant third. The only time there was a pause in the 2006 Fijian military coup was so the Army could play the Police in their annual rugby match…
Suva at the heart of Fiji’s 850,000 population is the ideal place for a PI team home base with the current 30,000 capacity Post Fiji Stadium.
Some P.I. “home games” could possibly be played in Auckland NZ as an alternative
While collectively, a PI team would have a population base similar to Auckland NZ, there is a higher level of per capita support in the islands.
Collectively, a combined PI side should rank amongst tier one national sides.

6) Would their inclusion detract from SANZAR rugby?

SANZAR rugby would benefit from including such strong global rugby competitors.
Compare the Rugby League World Cup for confirmation of how a narrow elite of top teams (arguably only one, Australia) fails to inspire a global audience.
The 2007 RWC is expected to exceed 4 billion accumulated viewers.
Pacific and Argentinean teams would inject flair, different styles and passion into our premier tournaments and avoid rugby getting stale, passionless and clinical
The obvious benefits include expanded audience and marketability.

The pre - World Cup 2007 sentiment of many, that world rugby was polarizing between the “haves” and “have nots” to the detriment of world rugby.
Teams like Argentina and the Pacific Islands sides have shown that there may be a greater case for the opposite perspective.

The interests on SANZAR members may be first and foremost to protect and grow their rugby businesses. Therefore the financial interests of their national teams and Super 14 Franchises are paramount

The Value and Marketability of viewing rights is proportional to the excitement, interest and diversity of the competition and the quality of the rugby played. As rugby competes in the Sports Entertainment market, these teams would surely add to both the entertainment and quality of the competition.

With growing complaints from players and spectators about the monotony and predictability with the Tri Nations & Super 14 tournaments, the contrasting styles and flair of PI and Argentina would add a new dimension to our competitions, and would be a huge stimulation for international viewer interest and there’s no better time than the post World Cup season to leverage off the interest generated.

- Population Stats: Wikipedia
- Distances: Distance Calculator,
- Player Stats: IRB statistics
- IRB Rakings:

  • 280.
  • At 05:32 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • steve w wrote:

About the only arrogance I see here is Brits who comment on NZ rugby without knowing anything about NZ society. You'd laugh at anyone who questioned the English soccer team fielding Micah Richards, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips et al, or the English cricket team playing Monty Pannesar or Nasser Hussain - and with good reason, they are English. One poster brought up the hoary chestnut about Michael Jones ''opting'' to play for NZ. Jones was born in Auckland and grew up in west Auckland (where he went to school with my brother). So, here's a shocker, NZ born NZer ''opts'' to play for NZ.
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but NZ seems to be the only team taking Test rugby seriously all the time. I'd take a few World Cup beatings, but any time the All Blacks picked a second (or third) string side and copped a 70-point beating (England, are you listening), that's when I'd say they were being arrogant.

  • 281.
  • At 05:55 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Markytee wrote:

Re: Post #42

I don't suppose New Zealand's obsession with Union is any different from Australia's obsession with League, or indeed with Australian 'Complete Lack of' Rules Football.

The Kangaroos are a much vaunted team in a competition that has THREE reasonable opponents. The Tri-Nations of Rugby League is basically a World Championship on the basis that only New Zealand and Great Britain have international quality sides outside of Australia, and as I recall, New Zealand won the Tri-Nations a couple of years back despite having ONE senior club side (Auckland Warriors). They NILLED your lot in the final, didn't they?

Australian Rules Football is so insular that nobody else even bothers playing it....

Union has 5 or 6 sides capable of winning the World Cup on their day, which pretty-much means you need a reasonable run of luck to be the best side AND win it. If that wasn't the case, Australia wouldn't have lost that Tri-Nations RL tournament, and Brazil would have won every Football World Cup since the 1950s.

That Kiwis obsess with Union is understandable, as they are so good at it - but they aren't unbeatable. New Zealand love their Union side, as the Welsh love theirs. It's the number one sport in both countries (Hell, it was #1 in England in 2003 for 10 minutes!), and even the Argentine football clubs shifted their biggest game to allow people to watch Argentina v Scotland, so accept that Union is a big game (bigger than League and Aussie Rules). If the people of Melbourne don't play it, that's their loss.

  • 282.
  • At 06:33 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

I was disgusted at the All Black "supporters" (hundreds of them)jeering French penalty kicks, shouting "he will miss" in the first half.

I was amazed that they spent more time being negative about France than actually being positive what they believe to be the greatest team in the world.

I switched allegiance to support France for the second half so was glad to see the game turn around. I know that many other neutrals in the stadium felt the same way.

These "supporters" should receive a life ban from going to rugby matches.

Congratulations to the French supporters for not being antagonistic to tearful AB "supporters" at the final whistle.

Is the jeering of opposition teams common at games in New Zealand?

  • 283.
  • At 06:58 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • michal wrote:

Thanks for dumping my post off here - so pointing out that the format of the RWC is what is losing its allure irrelevant is it? Good one. Should have known better than expect fairplay on an English website...

  • 284.
  • At 07:46 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Remember two guys called Redgrave & Pinsent (yeah were rowers so I know nobody cares!) they trained with the view of ensuring not that they won when everything went to plan but that they could win when they had their worst performance.
You'd still back the ABs to beat any team now in a one off game but they need to work out how to win the big ones especially when they don't play well.

  • 285.
  • At 08:53 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • tomthepom wrote:

I'm not in favour of banning the All Blacks' silly dance before kick-off, but I think the ridiculous throat-slitting has encouraged - and deserves - derision from other nations. And if teams wish to use home advantage by having an anthem after the dance, then that should be their entitlement.

I'm an England fan, and I find 'Swing Low' tedious. But we're stuck with it. Like your mother-in-law or your work colleagues, they come as part of the package, whether you like them or not. In the same way Ireland have their contrived anthem, Australia have David Campese's whining, Wales have backs who all use hair gel and no Arbentianian forward shaves before the game.

  • 286.
  • At 09:28 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • craig wrote:

interesting comments though i feel a little dare i say it `doom and gloom'..the other sports you mention are surely but a country flirting with other talent - having enjoyed a marriage like a very old shoe with union, its going to happen. Dont forget the NZ form leading into the world cup - they have and are awesome, denied by a mere twist of fate - yes a bad refereeing decision and as ever it seems, the totally disruptive french - but that's knock out rugby; For people who live and breathe rugby, most i suspect would agree that its a travesty the world's best arent at least in the last 4 let alone the final - 4 years ago even though we didnt play NZ en route to the final we knew we had nothing to prove having beaten them home and away before the World cup. This time, if we do win, we wont have beaten the best.
You live and breathe it because you love it, you're in love with it an do you know what, youre like thousands of others around the world who love it for the game's sake. Yes you'll flirt with other sports but no other game combines your God given natural and raw talents with the beautiful art of the game itself so be inspired by the likes of Carter and McCaw and co. They'e loyal because their love ISNT fading and neither should yours - wake up man and smell the roses!

  • 287.
  • At 09:43 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • sarah wrote:

if england win the wc again with mike catt in the aquad- then will be anu murmuring of how he was bron in sa? i dont think so. get over the whole so called pacific island "poaching". the majority of the pacific islanders playing for nz have been born there and maybe have parents or grandparents from the pacific islands. as for that, half the french squad have african blood and yachvilli is of a georgian background.england have a few south africans in their squad or used to, ireland have a new zealander, wales have an australian. it's just nz that everyone wants to have a go at.i'm irish by the way not kiwi but i just feel it's completely hypocritical to single out nz for having players of a different background.

  • 288.
  • At 09:48 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • allypally wrote:

Jonah Lomu was born and lives in Auckland. Tana Umanga was born and lives in Wellington. These cities are in New Zealand. Hence they played for the All Blacks. With respect, please check your facts before spreading myths about poaching.

Better still, come here for a holiday and see our cultural make-up for for yourself.

Thank you and good luck for the rest of the competition.

  • 289.
  • At 10:04 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

I think it's only fair to point out that the NZ Foreign Minister is Winston Peters.

The man was born to moan!

Here's to 2011 - the AB's can't fail, can they?

  • 290.
  • At 11:55 AM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

It's sad, but when a once-great sports team is in decline its public inevitably goes through a process of denial, then disappointment, then resentment and disaffection. New Zealand lost to Australia ( Australia !!) in the Tri-nations. That should have been a warning shot, but still NZ were backed down to a ridiculous 1/3 on the Betfair exchange pre-tournament ( thanks backers, by the way ). That was the denial. Disappointment is expressed in the search for a cheating foreigner to blame ( even by the top levels of government it seems ).
It has always amazed me how international rugby referees are able to see things that the rest of us can't. This has been proved time and again when video replays show that our view of events was wrong and the ref's were right all along. It is inevitable that the odd forward pass or hands in the ruck go unnoticed given the high demands placed on refs. I understand that the IRB have stated that the ref in question would no longer be considered for further matches. Nice one, NZ. All cheating b***** who miss a forward pass against the All Blacks should excluded from their own personal world cup final however well they have performed otherwise.The justification for the NZ allegation was that an English ref would rather see England playing France in the semi, than NZ. I don't think so somehow. Next time don't believe the Northern-generated hype about how far ahead the Tri-nations teams are.

  • 291.
  • At 12:29 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Rogan wrote:

Cast your minds back to the 2001 Lions Tour to Australia coached by Graham Henry. As I recall, while things went their way all was sweetness and light but there was no back up plan or conviction behind the facade and a group of good players was unable to produce winning rugby under pressure. I do not think this is a coincidence and am surprised not more has been made of Henry's shortcomings.

  • 292.
  • At 12:45 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • BringBackBuck wrote:

To Stulane (post 275)
"There has been no mention from the All Blacks about the French team 'disrespecting' the Haka."
Nobody has said that in all of the hundreds of posts by rugby fans on this board because nobody thinks the French disrespected the Haka at all. To man up and face the Haka eyeball to eyeball is what it is all about. The French accepted the challenge, and I congratulate them on a well deserved win.

  • 293.
  • At 01:04 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • David wrote:

A new whine direct from the land of the long white cloud.
This whine will compete well with similar ones from Australia
and France. Made from only their best sour grapes. It is best
left for at least four years before trying. But it is recommended
to be left on the shelf for 20 years if you want the real effect
of the whines bitter after taste to come through.
This whine will be heard of across the whole of France and England over the next few years
Well done The boys from NZ Whinerys

  • 294.
  • At 01:10 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • Phil Goodwins wrote:

Having been a rugby player for all of my youth (my teenage years stopped at the age of 37) and an avid fan since then (another 8 years of hard study) I have admired most of the preceeding years watching the AB's as well as any good team internationally or otherwise. I also watch a lot of Junior matches on a Sunday morning.

I have noticed that the individual interpretation of our laws by the refs has a massive impact on the game. In the past few months I have seen the AB's forward pass, go over the top, block and been so far offside in rucks that they need a passport to get back.

My point is simply that our laws of the game are too confusing, hard to put in practice with any consistency and the teams have to play the ref? I note that Paddy O'Brien fully understands this and there are plans afoot to ease this pressure on refs, and alter some of the laws to make decisions easier

My one sadness is to see a good, but not great, AB team work our laws past the edge, when they have the skills to put matches beyond reach without using these tactics.

It also has to be said that the ref in the AB/France match had a good game. Yes that was a forward pass, but only easy to see on re-wind and only then proven with computer graphics. Even the lino did not pick it up. He did however see most of the offsides in the ruck early on from both sides and acted early in the game, which in turn prevented later infringements. (28 phases from the AB's without penalty help to prove this)

Perhaps if the AB's had not previously played so far on the edge (and beyond) the laws, then he wouldn't have sin binned as it may have been interpreted as an honest move?

Another dissapointment was the lack of idea's the AB's had in attack. Excellent backs and very few real line breaks or angle running? most confusing.

Whist watching the game it occurred to me that the England pack would have beaten the AB pack should they have met in the Semi's.

When you have a good team, and one that is certainly capable of winning a world cup, would it not have been better to have entered the competition with less perceived confidence. Yep, that has been mis-read as arrogance. I do hope that by 2011 some lessons will have been learnt: the AB's with a little PR centred around competitor public perception and the game with changes that will ease the pressure on the ref's

  • 295.
  • At 01:14 PM on 11 Oct 2007,
  • andy loosehead wrote:

As an Englishman, I'm obviously delighted that we're where we are. I'm also surprised, but a win's a win and after the past 4 years, I'll take anything I can get.

I was also surprised at the Fr vs NZ result, as I believe this NZ team is the best international team I have ever seen. Did they choke? I don't know; I'm more inclined to think that they just weren't allowed to play their game. I also think it's stupid to slag them off for losing a game - they didn't mean to or want to. More stupid still is to sack Graham Henry - the NZ coaching trio of Henry, Smith and Hansen is, I think, the real deal. Keep the faith. I think that they are 3 of the best 4 international coaches in the world, together with - ironically - Eddie O'Sullivan, who also faces the possibility of the sack.

I'm outraged at the threats against Wayne Barnes. That is soccer talk and unworthy of rugby. No matter how bad a ref might be, you don't make threats.

And just to offer my own view: yes, the pass was forward but I'm not sure how Barnes or the TJs could have told. BTW, take a good look at the pass that set up McAllister's try. I fancy that was forward too.

The yellow card? Oh yes. IMHO McAllister knew exactly what he was doing; it was a cynical foul and warranted a card.

Barnes, I think, had a good game. If the NZ press would like to ponder this point: they made it clear that the game would be decided on how McCaw played the ref. That must surely have put Barnes on notice, so gentlemen of the press - you brought that on him yourselves.

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