'The dawn of a new era of All Black dominance'
October 24, 2011
© Waikato Times
New Zealand's press reacted with an understandable mixture of elation and relief to the All Black's victory over France in the Rugby World Cup Final.
The New Zealand Times devoted its first seven pages to the win, and the lead editorial on the front said: "After a shocking 12 months for New Zealand - more than 200 killed in the Christchurch earthquake and at the Pike River mine - the victory stretches far beyond the rugby field. It's a triumph for the nation, a party for us all - and the dawn of a new legacy of All Black dominance."
"All Blacks put the nation back on top of the world with a tensely-fought victory over old foes France," boomed the Waikato Times. "As at Mt Everest in 1953, and in 1987 at Eden Park, New Zealand is back on top of the world, with the All Blacks beating France in the Rugby World Cup final in Auckland last night. More than 60,000 at Eden Park celebrated as New Zealand regained the Holy Grail of rugby, last claimed 8892 days ago. All the pain, all the angst, all the national soul-searching during the intervening years poured out in black-clad celebration."
"Finally light, peace and relief for a long-suffering New Zealand," said the Southland Times. "We can find relief in the fact that we are again officially the world's best in what we do best: playing, living and breathing rugby."
The Press said that the World Cup had united the nation and been a driver of social bonding. "For seven glorious weeks, sons, fathers, mothers and daughters were all proud rugbyheads. We found our collective voice and shouted and behaved like never before, as more than a million of us flocked to grounds around the country. Six years ago we promised the world we would host a wonderful World Cup and a nation of four million would back it to the hilt. In September and October, we kept our promise and, 48 games later, we as a society are the richer for it.
"The legacy of the event is that we found our voice as a nation. We learned to communicate our happiness and pride in a more overt, altogether more appealing way. It was infectious. We have a taste for it. And now rugby must somehow recreate that feel-good factor once the event is over. It is too precious to lose, too valuable a commodity for the sport to squander. Finally, rugby got it right. And New Zealanders were heard from afar."
The Dominion Times poured a little cold water on the triumph by warning this was possibly the last time the tournament would be held in New Zealand. "The IRB and RWC [are] focussed on making as much as they can out of their showpiece. Countless countries can bring in far more revenue for the commercially-focussed IRB, so it could be another 24 years before the world's most rugby-obsessed nation is even considered an outside chance of having another World Cup in their own backyard. Sad, but true."
In France, however, there was a sense of resignation at the loss but pride in the manner of the defeat. The real nager was reserved for referee Craig Joubert. "Touted as the best in the world, Joubert did his reputation no favours," claimed Aujourd'hui . "On at least two occasion he turned a blind eye to the dirty play of the All Blacks." But the paper went on to admit the New Zealanders deserved their win "The dream passed so near … but the French would not have deserved the victory."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup