All black as New Zealand mourns its defeat
"Buggeur!" was the reaction of the Wellington Evening Post, the first newspaper to hit the news-stands on "Black Monday" after the country's shock elimination at Twickenham. The mock-French curse has become popular thanks to a New Zealand television commerical for a utility vehicle.
"The feeling is desolation, because rugby in New Zealand means as much as soccer to Britain. When there's a calamity like this, people take days off work," said Wynne Gray, who reported on the game for the New Zealand Herald.
Mr Gray, who spoke by telephone to friends back home, described the mood as "an undertaker's delight". New Zealand rugby fans stayed up until 4am local time to watch the kick-off. Others awoke yesterday to find the All Blacks had been knocked off their pedestal by the outsiders in the biggest upset since the tournament, which is played every four years, was inaugurated in 1987.
Even the All Blacks' fearsome giant winger, Jonah Lomu, could not save the team from defeat at the hands of the French, who confounded all expectations by bursting through the New Zealanders' defences with a virtuoso performance in the second half. The final score was France 43 points, New Zealand 31.
For the All Blacks, losing in the tournament at this stage is worse than their five straight defeats in 1998 and much worse than their spectacular loss in Sydney this year. Radio shows yesterday demanded the heads of the coach, John Hart, and the captain, Taine Randell, after the team's performance, which was described by one expert as "very, very ordinary".
Bowing to the result, Hart acknowledged the "devastation for the team, devastation for the fans back home and the fans that were here - we feel as though we've let everyone down. What else can you say? I can only apologise for that".
"We are the Chumpions," the Wellington Evening Post commented as the news kicked the launch of the country's electoral campaign out of the headlines.
The Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, who is trailing in the polls, noted drily: "The favourite doesn't always win."
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...