New Zealand scrapes past France to win World Cup

Updated: 2011-10-24 08:01

(China Daily)

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New Zealand scrapes past France to win World Cup

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds up the Webb Ellis Cup after beating France to win the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]

Host side breaks 24-year drought to hoist prized rugby trophy

AUCKLAND - New Zealand ended 24 years of misery when it edged France 8-7 to win the Rugby World Cup for a second time on Sunday.

The All Blacks, who also won the inaugural 1987 tournament, beating the French on home soil in that final too, also at Eden Park, were made to work hard by a Les Bleus team that poured scorn on the view of many pundits that it was the worst side to have made a World Cup final.

New Zealand scrapes past France to win World Cup

Veteran prop Tony Woodcock scored the All Blacks' sole try, with replacement fly-half Stephen Donald hitting a second-half penalty as first-choice kicker Piri Weepu let eight points go begging.

France, guilty of playing too much in its own half, hit back with a try from inspirational captain Thierry Dusautoir converted by Francois Trinh-Duc, but it was not enough against a New Zealand side that offered up a tough-as-teak defense.

Victory was especially sweet for All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry, who both held their respective roles when New Zealand suffered a crushing quarterfinal loss to France in Cardiff four years ago.

"It's hard to describe," said McCaw. I'm absolutely shagged (worn out). The courage, what the guys put in out there, we dug deeper than we ever have before, it's hard to let it really sink in.

"I'm just so proud of every single one of the guys. We couldn't have been under more pressure there at times but we stuck to our guns and got there in the end.

"You've got to be warriors to win this and keep getting up and keep getting up, believing in your mate beside you, trusting him to do his job and making sure you do yours. All 30 guys, plus the management, everyone did their part.

"The people round New Zealand have given this team so much this past six weeks, it's great to repay them.

"No-one can take this away from this group, they are tough men and I think the whole country should be proud of every single one of them."

New Zealand scrapes past France to win World Cup

New Zealand All Blacks' players celebrate after beating France (in white) to win the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park in Auckland, Oct 23, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

An emotional Henry said: "Marvelous. The people have been have been outstanding in support of the team and the Rugby World Cup.

"I'm so proud to be a New Zealander standing here. There was a bit of turmoil up there in the coaching box, but Richie and the boys just hanging in there right through 80 minutes to win this thing is superb. This is something we've dreamed of for a while, we can rest in peace."

Agence France-Presse

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