Chokers: All Blacks pip Proteas

2010-09-29 13:29

Auckland - The All Blacks have topped a list of the greatest chokers in sport, beating the likes of golfer Greg Norman and the Proteas cricket team.

According to the NZ Herald website, the 1999 All Blacks, a team that were shocked by France in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, finished number one in the Times Online's 40 greatest chokers in sport.

The All Blacks led 24-10 at one stage before France out-scored New Zealand 33-7 to stun the tournament favourites 43-31.

The 2007 All Blacks also featured on the list. The side which lost to France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals finished 20th on the list.

The 1999 All Blacks beat out the 1999 South African cricket team in second place, a team which missed out on the Cricket World Cup final after botching their semi-final tie with Australia, followed by Greg Norman who infamously threw away a six stroke lead going into the final round of the 1996 Masters.

Sprinter Asafa Powell and 1989 Masters choker Scott Hoch rounded out the top five.

Times Online writer Patrick Kidd, who compiled the list, said the All Blacks could have featured on the list more than twice.

"It may be cruel to include the All Blacks twice in this list, but has self-belief and potential ever exploded so often, so predictably?," he wrote.

"As well as 1999 and 2007, we could include the World Cups in 1995 World Cup (damn that food poisoning), 1991 (two moments of brilliance by David Campese upset the tournament's best side in the semi-finals) or 2003 (averaged 62 points per game until the semi-final then blew it against Australia). How will they self-destruct on home soil in 2011?"

British individuals Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Tim Henman and Paula Radcliffe also made the list.

The 40 greatest chokers in sport:
40: Andy Murray, 2010
39: Barcelona, 1986
38: Lewis Hamilton, 2007
37: England rugby union team, 1991
36: Bernhard Langer, 1991
35: Alex Bogdanovic, take your pick
34: Frank Bruno, 1996
33: England cricket team, 1987
32: David Bedford, 1971
31: Tony Romo, 2007
30: New York Yankees, 2004
29: Europe Ryder Cup team, 1999
28: Roberto Duran, 1980
27: England cricket team, 2006
26: Tim Henman, 2001
25: Paula Radcliffe, 2000
24: Gareth Southgate, 1996
23: Devon Loch, 1956
22: England football team, 1970
21: Jana Novotna, 1993
20: New Zealand rugby team, 2007
19: England football team, 2010
18: Gavin Hastings, 1991
17: Newcastle United, 1995-96
16: Scott Norwood, 1991
15: Colin Montgomerie, 2006
14: Jimmy White, 1992
13: Chris Waddle, 1990
12: Dustin Johnson, 2010
11: Don Fox, 1968
10: Houston Oilers, 1993
9: Doug Sanders, 1970
8: Guillermo Coria, 2004
7: Somerset cricket team, 2010
6: Jean van der Velde, 1999
5: Scott Hoch, 1989
4: Asafa Powell, 2007
3: Greg Norman, 1996
2: South Africa cricket team, 1999
1: New Zealand rugby team, 1999


  • moose - 2010-09-29 13:47


  • Gavin Johnson - 2010-09-29 13:58

    Super 14 final 2007. Sharks leading by 6 with the conversion almost directly in front and seconds left on the clock and they go on to lose the game (despite having the ball in hand after the siren has sounded and deciding to keep the ball in play). I think we all know what happened next. Surely they should be on the list for this one game alone, never mind the countless other chokes in recent years!

  • Paff_Province_4Ever - 2010-09-29 13:58

    Why are the banana boys (aka Natal Sharks) not on this list ??? They should be top 3 !!!

  • Tana - 2010-09-29 14:05


  • Vukani - 2010-09-29 14:09

    See how competiative the All Black are! They ALWAYS want to be number one!! Hahahaha....

  • Rendier - 2010-09-29 14:11

    Ek dink die Proteas verdien nog so 2 of 3 plekke..hoeveel keer was ons al gunstelinge vir die Wêreldbeker (50 overs en T20) net om soos 'n spul laerskool-seuntjies wedstryde te verloor wat ons sonder twyfel moes gewen betting WIE?

  • anton - 2010-09-29 14:24

    This list is totally incorrect. The Sharks would statistically top any list of chokers, no matter what the criteria. I lost count, but a few years ago they were in the unbeleivable position of having appeared in a dozen or so semis and finals without anything to show for it.

  • Megabull - 2010-09-29 14:29

    S 14 Final 2007 Sharks and S 14 Final 2010 stormers

  • @Moose - 2010-09-29 14:30

    I agree, an idiot like that should be first on the list. I bet he's been laying up ever since...

  • Peter Simons - 2010-09-29 14:46

    How are the Dutch Football team not there? 3 Finals, 0 wins.

  • eish man - 2010-09-29 15:02

    eish man... we never win anything! i don't understand :)

  • Henri - 2010-09-29 15:02

    This is the funniest thing i`ve seen all day, thank you author making this news........................choke all black choke , thats all you can do eliminate the teams so we can win again. go bokke!!!!!!

  • James - 2010-09-29 15:09

    As a Sharks supporter I am pleased not to see my boys on the list, although they should appear, unfortunately.

  • Kyle Carter - 2010-09-29 15:14

    Australian cricket team not able to defend 435 is a pretty big choke to me...Why aren't they on the list?

  • Cire - 2010-09-29 15:18

    I am outraged at this latest example of unfair international bias against SA teams. As usual NZ receives favoured treatment - How dare anybody suggest that our bunch of flowers is not the best chokers of all?

  • Liverpool fan - 2010-09-29 15:31

    how is A.C. Milan not on this list? Blowing a 3-0 half-time lead in a champions league final surely has to rate?

  • IZ IT - 2010-09-29 15:37


  • robin - 2010-09-29 15:41

    lol. How is it possible that the artichokes are not number one! Crazy! SA cricket has chocked so many times and so often that it is brain dead due to asphyxiation.

  • Eddy from Kharwasthan - 2010-09-29 15:46

    How can you ommit the following two : Valentino Rossi - 2006 MotoGP Season IIRC, all that he needed to do in the last race was finish 6th or so, and he crashed out and lost the title! & Roberto Baggio - World Cup Final USA 94

  • William Shakespeare - 2010-09-29 15:55

    @moose 2010/09/29 01:47 PM: Absolutely. That was surely the greatest choke of all. A word about the Chokeas: They even choked to get on top of this list!

  • corks - 2010-09-29 16:06

    RSA would have easly topped this list.. but in the end they choked again

  • All Black - 2010-09-29 17:00

    Protea's should be number 1... When last did they even win a simple tournament.. ahhh... any tournament?????? At least AB has won the Tri-Nations, The Grand Slam (Springboks choked last time & will again at the end of this year), beaten the Lions 3 - 0 (and not by close margins!!!)... as I write, I think the Springboks should be number 2 and Proteas number 1... I mean you guys are world champions and cannot beat the Lions convincingly and have dropped in the IRB rankings! Hmmmmm.... you guys are pathetic like your coach and yr captain (oh talking about chokers, isn't he the Sharks captain hahahahahahahaha).....

  • Impi - 2010-09-29 17:12

    The All Blacks really choked big time in Soweto in August ...

  • Eric - 2010-09-29 17:35

    How can you guys deny the AB top spot? They only won 5 out of 6 Tri Nations tests?

  • IZ IT @ KIWIS - 2010-09-29 17:39


  • Semloh - 2010-09-29 17:45

    @ All Black, sorry dude, very weak point.... you don't call a team chockers that has only ever lost two Rugby World Cup knockout matches in almost 20 years (and won 2 Cups out of 4). You also forget that the Crusaders are now suddenly following in the All Black footsteps in Super Rugby (how many times have they now lost to the Bulls in the Semi's). The Boks were never in with a chance in Tri-Nations 2010, so how could they choke? LOL. Now just image if they change the Tri-Nations to include a Final.... will the AB's ever win it again :-)

  • Deonic - 2010-09-29 17:46

    Jean van der Velde was by far the biggest choker. He actually decided to try and hit the golf ball out of the water on the 18th when he could have taken a drop shot and still won or be in a play-off at worst. It is the best example of a person's "judgement melt-down" that I have ever seen. He could have been one of the all-time great French sports idols in a country that has not really performed on the golf course. He not only ridiculed himself, but the whole French nation. I can still see him taking off his shoes and rolling up his pants - I can still remember thinking that he is probably joking. Up to the point when he actually hit the water, I was praying for his senses to return.

  • One-mate - 2010-09-29 18:11

    You have to be so bad to be yhe worlds worst chokers, if the AB are so good at choking why are they the best team in the world, arn't they No 1 in the rugby world ranking. Where are the 2010 springboks on the list. AB & SHARKS FOREVER

  • Pieter Bergh - 2010-09-29 18:31

    What about Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League Final. 1 - 0 up against Manchester United with only injury time left and then lost the game 2-1!! Got to be in the top 10 not even in top 40!

  • cvj - 2010-09-29 19:21

    @deonic : did you really watch the van de velde episode ? (as you claim). If you did you'd remember that after he went in and looked at the ball forever, the water level pushed up and he did take the drop. His club never touched the water. Maybe YOU should be at the top of this list.

  • Raj - 2010-09-30 07:48

    Surely the Dutch Football team should be high up on the list????

  • Snot & Trane - 2010-09-30 12:29

    Those who said that the All Blacks are not chokers are 100% correct. I also do not agree that the AB's are the No 1 chokers. Their “choking” is a function of a four year cycle of systematic over-valuation of their capabilities. It appear as if they are choking, because they are over-hyped and they are favoured by the referees in between WC's. Once the chips are down, and the WC competition reaches the the play-off stage, the referees are becoming more fair as a result of the immense pressure and the massive TV viewership, as well as the prospect of being looked over for the prestigious whistle job for the semi-finals and final. Once that happens - Voila, the All Blacks are exposed as just another team, with an equal chance of losing. But, because they have been favoured and got away with McCrawling around the breakdowns, forward passing, off-siding, obstructing etc, their confidence are just a wee bit too much, and their bad habits are just a bit too entrenched, and they trip themselves up. All that the likes of messrs Prat O'Bribe and his Irish thiefs do inbetween WC's is to create a false sense of superiority amongst the New Zealand people. And then, when the WC playoffs happen, and the refs are not helping anymore, then super-hero McCrawl and his mates are just ordinary, good, rugby players, and they are not used to the changed dispensation. Those who remember the Crusaders S14 games reffed by the, suddenly “reborn”, Mr Dickinson this year will understand what I'm referring to. The likes of McCaw and Waugh is suddenly nowhere when the officiating is fair and the McCrawling is not allowed. And what has Mr Dickinson got for his fairness? No Tri-Nations games!!!! No sir, Mr Dickinson, we will send you off to Europe so that we can get some fellow Irish crooks to come and restore some All Black pride - as if the AB's needed them to win. And if you think I’m a stupid Jaapie who will take it on the chin, you are mistaken. Prat O’Bribe will be proven to be as corrupt as Charlie Dempsey, and progress is being made on both fronts. And who wins? Certainly not the “choking” All Blacks. No sir, the only winner here is Prat O’Bribe. The “choking” All Blacks is a fallacy – the cheating refereeing is a reality, and in a very round-about way, it works against the All Blacks when it matters most. Mr O’Bribe openly cheated to keep the French in the ’99 WC, and he is part of a cheating group of referees that has always included some Irish referees – remember McHugh? It is only the degree to which it is formalised that needs to be sorted out before these thieves are exposed – There is the statistical possibility that they are just acting on collective “likes” and “dislikes”. And for those ignoramuses out there who think that referees don’t influence the result of games, please read the following - Now I know from experience that some people on these forums don’t even read the actual articles that they are commenting on, and almost never the links posted in comments. Believe me, this one is very revealing about bias and the result of bias in rugby. And for those who do read it, please understand that - “Beyond the specific issue of cross national matches, this study reveals how much the referee can influence the outcome of a game in rugby.” If you are too stupid to understand the logical or statistical inference behind such a statement, please refrain from commenting, because you are thinking with your gonads. I am convinced that a few more readers will now agree that the All Blacks are definitely not chokers, but that they are unfairly coerced into situations where the outcome of the tournament suggest that they were choking.

  • @Snot & Trane - 2010-09-30 14:19

    wow fella. you are seriously like one of those crazy americans with tin foil on your head to protect you from the mind control sent from the government. Do you think O'brien lives in area 51 controlling everything from his evil lair? Do you still really believe that SAF only lose games if it is a conspiracy not perhaps bad coaching or play?

  • Jacques @Liverpool fan - 2010-09-30 17:25

    I agree, AC Milan should be on that list after Liverpool made that amazing comeback in the Champions League final. One of the most dramatic CL finals ever(along with the one where my team lost to United in the 2008 final)

  • kiwipride - 2010-10-01 07:51

    The most consistent team to always aim for 1st place in whatever they do brings a tear to my eye... sniff, its tradition... the good and the bad on another note: sad day in rugby to have the springbok emblem removed

  • Harold - 2010-10-06 15:50

    How about John Terry for missing the penalty that would have given Chelsea and London for that matter an only CL title. And what about Bayern Munich for leading 1-0 into stoppage time and losing to Man United.

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