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New Zealand 8-7 France, Rugby World Cup, October 23, 2011
New Zealand 8-7 France - How they rated
ESPNscrum Staff
October 23, 2011

New Zealand ended a 24-year wait for a Rugby World Cup title on Sunday with a narrow 8-7 victory over France, but how did the players rate at Eden Park?

New Zealand

15. Israel Dagg: Gave his side go-forward and dealt with his defensive duties well. One lame penalty touch aside, he looks very assured at the sharp end. 7/10

14. Cory Jane: Had very little to do, but was clean as a whistle with what he did. A strong tournament. 6/10

13. Conrad Smith: Didn't get to showcase his slick running skills but did his best without the ball - proof that it's not always the size of the dog in the fight. 6/10

12. Ma'a Nonu: One of the tournament's best players, put in several bustling runs and generally had a strong night in defence, although he looked rattled at the start of the second-half. One raking touchfinder highlighted his improved kicking game. 7/10

11. Richard Kahui: Generally quiet but did what he had to do. Looks at home on the wing despite his lack of express pace. 6/10

10. Aaron Cruden: Unfortunate to limp off in the first-half with a serious-looking knee problem, the youngster can be proud of his efforts. 6/10

9. Piri Weepu: The man charged with getting the All Blacks over the line had arguably his least effective game of the tournament, missing a number of kicks at goal. Still, kicked nicely from hand at times and pulled off the most important tackle of the game on Francois Trinh-Duc. 6/10

1. Tony Woodcock: Rounded off his side's try nicely and held up his end of the bargain in the scrum. Looked out of sorts at the start of the second-half and contributed a moment of panic with a pass through his legs. 7/10

2. Keven Mealamu: Equalled the record of Sean Fitzpatrick as the All Blacks' most-capped hooker and was typically industrious, with France unable to wreak havoc at the lineout despite an early wobble. 6/10

3. Owen Franks: Got the benefit of the doubt from the referee at the scrum on a few occasions but a big game in defence with seven tackles. 6/10

4. Brad Thorn: The veteran loves a scrap and it was a fitting send-off. Strong in defence and the senior partner at the lineout, although the waters weren't always as smooth as they could have been. 7/10

5. Sam Whitelock: A quiet game by his dynamic standards, but did his bit in defence and at the maul before being replaced by Williams after 50 minutes. 6/10

6. Jerome Kaino: Ferocious at close-quarters. Made a number of telling contributions as France cranked up the pressure in the latter stages and set up the try. 7/10

7. Richie McCaw: Outstanding. When the time came to stand up, there he was. A wonderful leader and deserving World Cup winner. 9/10

8. Kieran Read: Another leader in the pack. Sweated alongside his back-row companions in defence and also made a telling contribution at lineout time. 8/10

Replacements:

16. Andrew Hore: Strong as ever at the breakdown but suffered a couple of nervy moments at the lineout. 6/10

18. Ali Williams: Gave away a late penalty that could have spelled disaster, but survived to cap a remarkable comeback from a serious Achilles problem. 6/10

20. Andy Ellis: Called upon to replace Weepu following his second-half implosion and kept it simple, concentrating on bringing his runners in at close-quarters. 6/10

21. Stephen Donald: Penny for his thoughts as he lined up the winning kick. A great story and top-notch performance from the fly-half. He heads to Bath heavier one World Cup-winners medal. 8/10

22. Sonny Bill Williams: Had a run for the last five minutes, kept his nose clean. 5/10

France

15. Maxime Medard: Looked lively with ball in hand and swept up well. One of a number of players to find form at the death. 7/10

14. Vincent Clerc: Stranded on six tries and forced to share the top-scorer accolade with Chris Ashton, this was not his most productive night. 6/10

13. Aurelien Rougerie: Absolutely colossal in defence and gave France go-forward time and again. Finally looks at home in midfield. 8/10

12. Maxime Medard: Did everything that was expected of him, straightened the line and did not shirk in defence. 6/10

11. Alexis Palisson: As quiet as a mouse sometimes. Defensively very solid but little to do in attack. 6/10

10. Morgan Parra: Another unfortunate injury victim. Caught by McCaw's knee at a ruck, he was forced off after a bright start. 6/10

9. Dimitri Yachvili: His delivery was good and despite a couple of blemishes generally directed his kicks well. Missed an early penalty in the second-half. 7/10

1. Jean-Baptiste Poux: Was on the wrong side of the referee at times in a tight scrum battle, but chipped in with a few tackles. 6/10

2. William Servat: Top drawer. Twelve tackles, a strong lineout display and his trademark gusto in the loose. 8/10

3. Nicolas Mas: Anchored the French scrum against a fast-starting All Blacks pack and carried well when asked to. 7/10

4. Pascal Pape: The junior partner stood up to the All Blacks' physical barrage and did his bit at the set-piece. 6/10

5. Lionel Nallet: The Racing Metro skipper was again at the forefront. Trucked the ball into contact tirelessly and got into double figures in the tackle count. 8/10

6. Thierry Dusautoir: Massive, just massive. A fearless player with a workrate unmatched in Test rugby. Topped the tackle charts for his side, scored the try and had them on the front-foot with every carry. 9/10

7. Julien Bonnaire: Again he stood up to the task at hand. Oozes class around the field and is a vital cog in the French lineout. 8/10

8. Imanol Harinordoquy: Big contribution at the lineout and in defence, dominated under the high ball at times. Gave away the final penalty to hand victory to the All Blacks however. 7/10

Replacements:

16. Dimitri Szarzewski: Didn't detract from the French forward effort and added some power late on. 6/10

17. Fabien Barcella: Was set to play a bigger role in the tournament before suffering a crisis of form, was a quiet addition. 5/10

18. Julien Pierre: Picked up where Pape left off with 10 minutes left. 6/10

20. Jean-Marc Doussain: Thrown in at the deep-end for a debut cap with 10 minutes remaining in a World Cup final. How very French. 6/10

21. Francois Trinh-Duc: Superb after replacing Parra early on. Dictated play, broke the line with a brilliant first-half charge. Generally showed the merits of a specialist 10. 8/10

22. Damien Traille: Outstanding under the high ball and added authority at the close. 7/10

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