Back in August I wrote a post about why it’ll be hard for the All Blacks to win the World Cup. In it I outlined some reasons why it’d be hard for them to win it (NOT that they wouldn’t win it!). As a born and bred New Zealander, I was behind the All Blacks 100% of the way through this Cup, but found it useful to reason with myself, and my readers, why we could potentially lose again.
Luckily, these reasons were not needed. The All Blacks got “New Zealand” engraved onto the Webb Ellis trophy, twenty four years after doing it the first time.
In my post in August, I stated “Needless to say I will be jumping for joy should we win the Final this year. And be writing a humble explanation as to why I was wrong in this post!“.
I did jump for joy. And I will offer this humble explanation as to why we were able to win the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
1. Experience: Not just the experience of the coaches, who were kept on from 2007, but also key players. Players like Richie McCaw, Conrad Smith, Ali Williams, Andrew Hore, Kevin Mealamu, and try-scorer Tony Woodcock. They suffered the dirty taste of defeat in ’07, and given a second opportunity, weren’t going to let another one slip through their grasp.
2. Depth: The depth in New Zealand rugby is quite big. I’m not sure how many teams would have done half as well as us if they had to resort to their fourth choice first five eighth in the final. Without that depth in each area, we wouldn’t have had a show.
3. Belief: You could feel it in the air. You could see it in the eyes of the players during the national anthem of the semi final, that this team believed they were going to win. It wasn’t coupled with arrogance, but sheer determination and will power.
So there you go, three solid reasons why the All Blacks won. If you need a fourth, fifth, and sixth, I’ll mention three players of the tournament for me:
1. Jerome Kaino: Solid. Defense. Brick wall. Everywhere. Player of the tournament for mine.
2. Ritchie McCaw: Rugged. Led from the front. Even on a broken ankle, he weathered the attacks, and brought inspiration for his team mates with each stride.
3. Cory Jane: High balls, turn chase, solid on the wing. A few years ago I laughed and made fun of his goldilocks. But then he began to play some good rugby. And then he got selected for the All Blacks, and became even better.
Honorable Mentions: Piri Weepu, Israel Dagg, Brad Thorn, Kieran Read, Tony Woodcock.