Read: Winning all that matters
October 24, 2011
Kieran Read leads the All Blacks celebrations at the full-time whistle © Getty Images
All Blacks No.8 Kieran Read was more than happy to have won ugly in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final showdown with France in Auckland.
New Zealand had been expected to coast to victory against Les Bleus, who had been derided as the worst team ever to have reached the tournament decider on account of the fact that they had lost twice in the pool stages, with one of those defeats coming against their hosts, and only managed to scrape past a Wales side which had played 62 minutes of their semi-final clash with just 14 men.
Consequently, some pundits were underwhelmed by the nature of the All Blacks' 8-7 victory over the French, with the Kiwis only just holding on for the win after coming under intense pressure in the second period.
However, Read was not in the slightest bit perturbed by the narrow margin of victory, arguing that winning had been all that mattered.
"It hasn't sunk in, it's awesome," the All Blacks back-row said. "Who cares that it was only by a point? That's all we needed. It's awesome, it's history and we can look back and say that we've done it.
"New Zealand was right in behind us, it's unbelievable support we've had and it just felt right. It just ended really well."
Read felt that the All Blacks, who had moved eight points up courtesy of a first-quarter try from prop Tony Woodcock and a penalty shortly after the interval from Stephen Donald, deserved credit for the way in which they weathered the storm which followed Thierry Dusautoir's 47th-minute touchdown.
"The control within the group has been building for a number of years," he said. "This group is really experienced and it showed out there tonight, which is great."
Read admitted that lifting the Webb Ellis Cup meant more to him than any other achievement in his career and he intends to celebrate it for many weeks to come.
"The World Cup is totally different, which is what we've been focusing on and we've done it," he said. "It's great for those guys that have been around and you can't take it away from them now.
"There was a lot of relief and I was just excited. t's hard to put it into words, it's just a great feeling. I suppose I'm going to look back at this as being one of the best times in my life. It was such an awesome moment.
"I'm definitely going to celebrate hard this summer and there are people who've put a lot of effort in over my career and I want to have time to reflect and really enjoy it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jonny Wilkinson is the face of Toulon but whisper it, they might be a better team without him. Paul Eddison examines the case for dropping the talisman
"It does sometimes get tough as you get older, but there's nothing else I'd rather do." Tom Hamilton talks to fly-half Dan Carter
Stingers, a rampaging Fijian and two Dannys looking to be champions of the world - Monday Maul looks at some key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring