ABs hailed in victory parade

2011-10-24 13:08

Auckland - Tens of thousands of people flooded onto the streets of downtown Auckland on Monday to celebrate the end of a 24-year drought after the All Blacks beat France in the Rugby World Cup final.

New Zealand had not won the Webb Ellis trophy since the inaugural tournament in 1987 and were forced to dig deep in Sunday's final as they rode a wave of emotion across the rugby-mad country of four million to scratch out an 8-7 victory at a packed Eden Park.

With Monday a public holiday in New Zealand, the collective hangover of the country's largest city was still palpable on the streets as thousands of people gathered early for the victors' parade, mixing with stragglers making their way home from late-night festivities.

Crowds were banked 20-deep in places along the parade's route in central Auckland as the procession kicked off at 2:30 p.m. local time (0130 GMT) with players, coaches and support staff ferried along city streets in a convoy of open-deck utility vehicles.

"This is very special. I can't believe how many people are out here ... This is just awesome," All Blacks flyhalf Daniel Carter, whose tournament finished early with a torn groin tendon, told local television from the back of the first car.

Monday's joyous outpouring, the largest in the country since Team New Zealand's 'Black Magic' won yachting's greatest prize for the first time with their 1995 America's Cup triumph, was carried by both national television networks and left the players amazed by the turn-out.

"It's a great day. It's so fantastic. Just shows how much it means to everyone in New Zealand and it's great to be part of it," said scrumhalf Andy Ellis, who kicked the ball into touch to end Sunday's final and a generation of frustration.

Captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry paraded the Webb Ellis trophy in the final car, with veterans Brad Thorn and Mils Muliaina and assistant coach Wayne Smith, all of whom ended their All Blacks careers at the tournament.

The team will be feted in further parades this week.

New Zealand's second largest city of Christchurch, which lost the right to host seven World Cup games after a devastating earthquake in February, will hail them on Tuesday before they head to Wellington the following day.

"It means everything (to get the support of the people). You dream of this as a little kid and for it to come true is unreal," said flyhalf Aaron Cruden, who went off in the final with a knee injury.

"New Zealand, we love you. YES!"


  • Nzbro - 2011-10-24 13:14

    Our Awesome All Blacks team who have remained the Undisputed No1 team in the world and added to that have become the Unbeaten 2011 RWC Champions of the World. Not bad for a little island of 4.4 mil people aye? Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei! ( THIS DEFINES US AS THE ALL BLACKS )

      Shawn - 2011-10-24 13:36

      Not bad at all...not for getting the support in Cape Town!!!!

      wenwe - 2011-10-24 13:37

      hmmm ... yes well done,

      charl.norman - 2011-10-24 14:44

      Not bad for a little island that sample players from their neighboring islands..

      Ax - 2011-10-24 15:47

      Awesome??? The French were awesome, the AB should have lost in fact. The luckiest team won with a little help from the ref... Awesome is when you win by 20 points and you outclass your opponents FYI.

      Johan - 2011-10-24 16:41

      ...simply the best...!!! .......Proteas, ...look and learn...!!! ......Go ALL Blacks...!!!!

      Gordon - 2011-10-24 20:19

      Like,Ritchie's famous words during the tournament "GOOD TO GO" [reffering to his foot injury]. Now that is a captain.Learn John Smith, learn from the greatest,SIR RITCHIE!!!!!!

      Nzbro - 2011-10-24 21:37

      @ Ax so by your reasoning then: [Awesome is when you win by 20 points and you outclass your opponents FYI.] Wales and Samoa was awesome and the boks were not?

  • Craig - 2011-10-24 13:27

    Well done !

  • Alan - 2011-10-24 13:33

    Well done!

  • Elliot - 2011-10-24 14:11

    All Blacks please come to South-Africa here are a lot of your so called supporters. Yag how can i support another country that does not even think of them right now but New Zealand.mxm

      Nzbro - 2011-10-24 21:33

      @ Elliot & Freddie Richie acknowledged all AB fans near and far united by the love for the All Black jersey, Geography is irrelevant, love of the AB jersey is what joins us all. If I could I would send all OUR Saffa All Black supporters AB jerseys as a token of our acknowledgement of their great support under the bitter circumstances of enduring sore losers hateful comments. I would do so in a blink of an eye. Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei! ( THIS DEFINES US AS THE ALL BLACKS )

  • Freddie - 2011-10-25 09:08

    Nzbro, We are not bitter, It hurts when when your own countrymen speaks the most hateful and down right negative stuff towards you, Have you ever experiece somebody in your home country telling you why are you wearing the national teams t shirt. That;s onthinkable in NZ. On TV I only saw black and that beautiful my brother It kind of let me wonder if they real supporters or just having hangups due to the apartheid era. I am also of mix race.I know how it feels to be discriminated against but we get to move and build a new country. Lastly. The NZ public and rugby team have far more respect for the Boks will I have not heard any good comment from the sa all blacks. I like you to read the comments and then you will understand my point of view.

  • Barry - 2011-10-25 21:34

    Hail in the victory parade. Lucky it was not an earthquake.

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