Thursday, October 27, 2011

12BET Rugby News Update 10/27

A nation would have gone into collective meltdown if this one had slipped by and, boy, it so nearly did. How close, how gripping and how utterly absorbing this match was, the best World Cup final there has been, full of character, sinew and dramatic uncertainty. And at the end, there was the promised land for New Zealand to claim, territory that this entire country has craved since the inaugural tournament was won at this venue 24 years ago.
If the 1987 final was the routine coronation of the finest side of that (and perhaps any) era, then this was a true contest. Any concerns that this game would be a one-sided dud were dismissed even before a ball had been kicked. From the moment that France advanced on the haka in an arrow-shaped formation, hands linked with Thierry Dusautoir as the spearhead, the underdogs played with deep-rooted passion as well as cleverness.
They so nearly pulled it off . To the losers, the critical acclaim, to the victors the spoils. There is no doubt who got the better deal. There was little glory in the manner of the All Blacks victory but at the end they had the pot, and that was all that mattered.
No wonder the New Zealand coach, Graham Henry, leant across to touch the cherished trophy when asked for his views on the match . He did not need to say anything. He touched the gleaming cup once again. That was what it was all about.
It had taken graft rather than genius, fortitude rather than flair, proof that this was a team of many parts. In times past, the All Blacks had choked when the going got tough. Twice in previous World Cups, France had proved the bogeymen. Here, New ­Zealand trembled but they did not collapse in a heap.


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