Public embrace All Blacks

2011-10-19 14:31

Auckland - New Zealand lock Ali Williams is getting free breakfasts at his local cafe, while loose forward Kieran Read is getting shivers down his spine, such is the fervour of the New Zealand public ahead of the Rugby World Cup final against France on Sunday.

Since winning the inaugural title in 1987, the All Blacks have repeatedly failed to live up to their favourites tag at the World Cup.

Instead, they have returned home with the prospect of "four more years" of anguish ahead of them - as Australia scrumhalf George Gregan pointed out after the Wallabies knocked them out of the semi-finals in 2003.

Richie McCaw's team, however, have beaten both France and bitter rivals Australia already in this tournament on home soil - the teams they lost to in four of the six previous editions - to make their third final as they seek a second Webb Ellis Cup.

Having already beaten France 37-17 in pool play, the New Zealand public, dubbed the "Stadium of Four Million" by organisers, feel a quiet confidence heading into Sunday's final, said Williams and Read.

"I don't think you can put it into words to be honest. I've never seen the country like this," Williams told reporters on Wednesday.

"I was there in 1995 with the vibe with the America's Cup and that was just phenomenal," added the lock, referring to New Zealand's 'Black Magic' winning yachting's pre-eminent prize.

"This is another world, you know.

"I haven't had to pay for one breakfast in my local cafe yet. The flags on the cars, the excitement of the people getting into it.

"They haven't really focused on the result; they've focused on the whole event. For Kiwis that's pretty special."

New Zealand crowds have traditionally been stoic during rugby Tests, rarely raising their blood pressure enough to launch into anything but a chant of "Black! Black! Black!" that dies as quickly as it starts.

Against Australia at Eden Park last Sunday, however, and perhaps emboldened by the passion engendered by visiting Irish, Argentine and Welsh fans, they kept up a sustained cacophony throughout the match, which Williams said the team had noticed and tried to live up to.

"When people are roaring like that, you don't miss a tackle. You have that extra centimetre in your stride," the 72-Test veteran added.

"It was mind-blowing the noise that was generated, and the reality is that it does things for you when you're playing that you can't explain.

"The excitement levels get to us and the realisation that we don't want to let anyone down."

"I can't say enough of that atmosphere at the weekend is the best there has ever been."

No 8 Read, who missed the early part of the tournament through injury, had also had noticed the changed attitude from the rugby-mad New Zealand public.

"It's just been unbelievable how much support they have shown to us and the whole tournament," Read said.

"It's just been great they're right in behind us and we're doing what we can.

"Driving to the ground last Sunday (in the team bus) the amount of people cheering you on sends shivers down your spine."

* RWC final odds on BET.CO.ZA: New Zealand vs France


  • Johan - 2011-10-19 15:01

    Why..?? ......because they are the BEST..... ....."best" players and "best" coaches.... ......Go all Blacks..!!!

      John - 2011-10-19 15:11

      Undoubtedly number 1 rugby team on the planet.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 15:13


      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 15:45

      @Bluey, howz your petition going bro, still crying?

      Smell - 2011-10-19 20:34

      Yes, the ABs have been one of the world's two best teams in the pre-professional era. However, it took them until 1996 (took 75 years!) to record their 1st ever series win on South African soil. In fact, it took them until 1956 (took 35 years!) to record their 1st win against the Boks on NZ soil. On the other hand, the Boks recorded a series win on NZ soil as early as 1937. The ABs have certainly been best Rugby team in the world during the professional era. However, if one is not a real New Zealander (birth/passport), gloating about the ABs is ridiculously ridiculous.

      Caleb - 2011-10-20 07:25

      Smell, they were thebest team pre proessional era also, with Wales probably a close second. Just check out the stats on percentage of games won over time, the AB's have the best winning percentage of any team of any national team, in any sport. The facts speak for themselves. I laughed so hard at the guy who said that NZ has the best cheating refs, there is only one reason why AB never scored a series win in SA in those early days, might have something to do with the fact that SA did not allow neutral referees to ref the game.

      roboman1 - 2011-10-20 08:08

      @Caleb, neither did New Zealand allow neutral refs, it was the standard at the time, but it does tell me about your lack of neutrality and informs me about your lack of credibility if you make such a one sided comment. In fact in 1981 it was a seriously subjective New Zealnd ref's desicion which enable New Zealnd to kick a penalty a minute after full time to give them a victory. But New Zealand are a great rugby country, just like SA. The Springboks led the All blacks in all statistics, wins, home and away, percentages of success etc etc until they were forced to select a few transformational players, then New Zealand slowly eased ahead. (This is statistically factual, check it out.) Now that we have gone through 18 years of post apartheid isolation, and the darker players are getting into the team on merit these days, they do not have to be selected as tokens anymore, the stats will start balancing back again, we will start to catch up again. This year we were the only team at the World Cup that could have beaten the All Blacks, but Bryce Lawrence took us out. (And there is no ways that can be disputed, we hammered the All Blacks 18 to 5 in PE just 3 weeks before the world cup. Hammered them). But Bryce Lawrence wrecked what would have been the best post isolation victory with a truly representative side, a team of all SA races winning on merit, would have been glorious, but Bryce Lawrence proved that a ref can make the weaker team win

      John - 2011-10-20 09:02

      Don't forget that during the apartheid era when the AB's went over to SA, the SA rugby union would not allow any of the Maori's to participate over there. So I guess you would have to say that we did not send our best teams over. This was a shameful thing on the part of the NZ rugy union and the government of the time.

  • Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 16:04

    Absolutelty, undoubtedly the no. 1 team for preferential treatment from the IRB.

  • Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 16:18

    @ Johan Schoeman, doesn't sound Kiwi to me, what category do you fit into, 1) idiotic wannabe Brat supporter, 2) Sour Expat still recovering from the 6 fold drop in living standards, or 3) dumb-ass kiwi that simply has no life but to spend time on our pages. Help me out here....

      lindsay.amner - 2011-10-20 02:25

      Prodigy, since you're so good with names why are you calling Sam a samoan? Kaitawa looks pretty much like Maori to me. Suzie may be a myth but whatever the reason there's no doubt many of the All Blacks were ill before the 95 final. The fact they were still holding on for a draw after 80 minutes shows what a great side they were. In 2007 the All Blacks were knocked out by a ref and the best side South Africa played to win the cup was England, ranked 5th in the world. I suggest you don't want to shout too loudly about hollow victories.

  • Kevin - 2011-10-19 16:18

    World Cup won by one man - Bryce the man ( Cheating Chokers)

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 16:42

      @Kevin, uncontested scrums? Who kicked off first, Bryce or ???. Thank god he's a kiwi, with that much talent he should be an All Black......thanks for the info Kev

      Bob - 2011-10-19 20:38

      you sound quite bitter kev???

  • Mike - 2011-10-19 17:38

    I genuinely believe that the ABs deserve to win. I believe the SA/AUS result had nothing to do with them and that they are a far better side than France. So, as a fanatical Bok supporter , I will be , for once , cheering on the ABs on sunday.

      Karoo - 2011-10-19 20:37

      I second that. While Boks are out I say: Go All Blacks !

  • Barry - 2011-10-19 20:01

    Great to see the hosting side getting the local support. As it should be. Both teams had never won in the RWC in the professional era. Both teams have every reason to believe this is their time. The world is watching. May the best team win GOOOOOOOOOOO France !!!

  • Bob - 2011-10-19 20:53

    great support for a great team........GO THE ALL BLACKS !!!

      Barry - 2011-10-19 21:07

      Looking forward to you team choking as always

  • Leu - 2011-10-20 04:34

    If france lost to Tonga what makes you think they can beat all blacks common stop being silly now.....france fluked it likee the wallabies againnst the springboks! france are gonna get raped ! no doubt about that !! haha

  • Jonnie - 2011-10-20 04:47

    LOL, there are so many bitter, sour, whinging sore losers in this blog. Pathetic.

      Barry - 2011-10-20 08:35

      No that is not true. All lot of people on here just like me have no time for the All Blacks or their supporters. It is as simple as that.

  • Paul - 2011-10-20 05:44

    Ali Williams, the bar brawling thug!!!

  • roboman1 - 2011-10-20 07:57

    Lets hope Craig Joubert Bryce Lawrences the All Blacks and the French win! cause as good old Brycie proved, the ref can win a match for the weaker team, a dominant team on the field can still be dominated by the ref if he is totally crooked and one sided!!!

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