New Zealand win Rugby World Cup
The host team beat France 8-7 to win the rugby World Cup for the first time since 1987.
Tuesday 25 October 2011
New Zealand survived the last of an uncanny spate of flyhalf injuries to close a cavernous gap in its rugby history, beating France 8-7 in a gripping Rugby World Cup final to become the third team to win the title twice.
Despite being the perennial favorite, New Zealand hadn't won the World Cup since hosting the inaugural tournament in 1987. Two of the biggest losses in knockout matches in the intervening 24 years were to France. This time, the All Blacks held on.
"Marvellous. I'm so proud to be a New Zealander," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said. "It's something we've dreamed of for a while. We can rest in peace."
All Blacks No. 10 Aaron Cruden limped from the field with a knee injury after 33 minutes, joining predecessors Dan Carter and Colin Slade as casualties of the tournament and leaving New Zealand's fourth-choice flyhalf, the often vilified Stephen Donald, to sustain its World Cup hopes.
France also lost its starting flyhalf, the adapted scrumhalf Moorage Parra, after only 22 minutes in a match of grim physical attrition and his replacement, Francois Trinh-Duc played both the hero and villain as a tense final unfolded.
Donald's international career seemed to have ended when he was held responsible for New Zealand's narrow loss to Australia in Hong Kong last year and he was about to join English club Bath when the All Blacks' flyhalf stocks dropped so low he was recalled.
He took over the goalkicking in the second half and landed a penalty that gave New Zealand an 8-0 lead after it had led 5-0 at halftime. It was critical as New Zealand was left with a one-point margin when France hit back with a 47th minute try, then placed New Zealand under withering pressure throughout the second half.
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
Anthony Martial: Manchester United's new signing received Patrice Evra's boots as a kid
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up