Auckland: New Zealand survived the last of an uncanny spate of fly-half injuries to close a cavernous gap in its rugby history, beating France 8-7 in a gripping Rugby World Cup final to become the third team to win the title twice.
Despite being the perennial favorite, New Zealand hadn't won the World Cup since hosting the inaugural tournament in 1987. Two of the biggest losses in knockout matches in the intervening 24 years were to France. This time, the All Blacks held on.
"Marvelous. I'm so proud to be a New Zealander," All Blacks coach Graham Henry said. "It's something we've dreamed of for a while. We can rest in peace."
All Blacks No. 10 Aaron Cruden limped from the field with a knee injury after 33 minutes, joining predecessors Dan Carter and Colin Slade as casualties of the tournament and leaving New Zealand's fourth-choice fly-half, the often vilified Stephen Donald, to sustain its World Cup hopes....more
03:20 PM, Oct 23, 2011
Auckland: Australia overcame early injuries to star backs Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale to beat Wales 21-18 in the Rugby World Cup third-place playoff Friday, finally ending a 25-year losing streak at Eden Park. The playoff for bronze was always about who could switch back on mentally after their semifinals disappointments, and the Wallabies rebounded superbly. Their vaunted backline was back to its flashy best to start, but after more...
10:49 PM, Oct 21, 2011
Auckland: New Zealand will face France in the Rugby World Cup final after beating arch rivals Australia 20-6 in their semifinal clash on Sunday, drawing a giant step closer to ending a 24-year quest for its second title. The All Blacks relieved the anxiety of a nation starved of World Cup success since 1987 by physically dominating Australia from the moment Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper miscued the opening kickoff, establishing...
03:48 PM, Oct 16, 2011