All Blacks break 24-year drought with World Cup win

2011-10-23 10:41

After a 24-year drought, New Zealand finally managed to win the World Cup by beating a gallant French side by 8-7 at Eden Park today.

The All Blacks led 5-0 at halftime.All Black captain Richie McCaw said it was a hard-fought match and he was happy that his side could pull through on the night.“Yes, it was too close for comfort. Hats off to the French – they put us under tremendous pressure. But luckily the guys stuck to their guns and did enough to win it in the end, said McCaw.

France held on well to the ball in the opening exchanges and spread the ball to their wings, without much success. The All Blacks also showed a willingness to run the ball and were rewarded with a penalty in the 5th minute, but scrumhalf Piri Weepu failed with his first attempt. All Black centre Ma a’ Nonu opted to play for territory and kicked the ball into the corner. But the French defensive lineout held firm. Nonu’s counterpart, Aurelien Rougerie, got the ball down into All Black territory. However, they infringed. The home side kicked the penalty into the corner and from the resultant lineout veteran All Black Tony Woodcock crashed over for the first try of the final. Weepu fluffed the conversion.

In the 20th minute Francois Trinh-duc replaced the France flyhalf Morgan Parra. In the 26th minute Weepu missed his third shot at goal after the French were once again penalised by referee Craig Joubert.

In the 33rd minute the Kiwis lost their young flyhalf Aaron Cruden with what seemed to be a knee injury after he was hit hard in a tackle by Trinh-duc. Cruden was replaced by Stephen Donald.

At halftime France had conceded six penalties as opposed to New Zealands’ three. The possession stakes were dead even at 50% each with the All Blacks dominating the territory by 53% to Les Bleus with 47%. But had Weepu converted his kicks, New Zealand could have been much further ahead at the break.Scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili missed a chance to narrow the gap when he miscued a shot at goal just after the restart. But Donald made no mistake just three minutes later to give his side an 8-0 lead.

The French captain, Thierry Dusautoir, then crashed over under the post to score his side’s first try after good interplay between the backs and forwards. Trinh-duc added the extras to cut the deficit to just one point (7-8).

France showed more composure in the second half and threw everything into attack but the All Black defence was resolute. Dusautoir’s side put the Kiwis under tremendous pressure and men in black started losing their structure.

Trinh-duc had a chance to put the French ahead in the 62nd minute, but he miscued a long range shot at goal. The French made all the play in the last quarter of the game by holding onto the ball for long periods and multiple phases, but the All Blacks defence held firm.

New Zealand – Try: Tony Woodcock Penalty: Stephen Donald
France – Try: Thierry DusautoirConversion: Francois Trinh-duc

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