RWC Final 2011: A Photo Finish
26 October 2011, 16:29
I think a lot can be said for the final depending on where you stand. Being an All Black supporter that’s been waiting 24 years, yesterday took its toll. It was not quite the final I was hoping for, not quite the climax I envisaged but the All Blacks came good any way.
That’s the most important point to take from the whole day’s events that painstakingly unfolded with a big nervous question mark over everything as it occurred.
I personally would have preferred thrashing having seen how well and badly the French played. Their petulance finally caught up with them after having dodged going home earlier and having played erratically throughout the tournament.
They saved their best for last but it was a little too late for an All Black side that also looked like it was doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past by showing signs of panic at critical points in the game. After missing three kicks Piri Weepu was done after scooping a ball into the arms of oncoming French player which shortly afterwards lead to a try.
The All Blacks couldn’t create space on the outside or penetrate the midfield; neither could they hold onto the ball long enough. They did spoil and slow down (mostly legally) a lot of French ball though.
Dusautoir was inspirational as Captain and thoroughly deserved his man of the match award. Rougerie had a massive impact on the midfield essentially tying up New Zealand’s play makers and upsetting the All Black’s continuity.
Craig Joubert can be proud of himself and so can South Africa; a very even handed performance with no controversy.
The All Blacks will be elated after a psychologically draining final but when the dust settles and they honest with themselves will regard themselves as lucky.
For once they had to work hard and not rely on that something extra, a moment of brilliance (the AB try was created from bad defence) or someone special like Dan Carter.
I look forward to the next phase of All Black rugby and the strategies they will develop to push other teams to the limit. They will need to. There was a just enough gas in the tank this time.
The French, marginally better on the day deserved what they got for being so lackadaisical in their style of play throughout the tournament even when they won.
If France won the RWC yesterday, Tongans by using the law of transitivity would argue that they could be or should be World Champions too.
You can dispute a lot of things that happened in the 2011 RWC or any RWC for that matter but one thing remains constant, each RWC Champion has lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy undefeated. New Zealand have also lifted the cloud of being world class chokers. The next RWC will be the most closely contested one by the looks of the talent coming through in this one and I for one can’t wait.
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