New Zealand ended 24 years of misery when they beat France 8-7 in a tense final in Auckland to win the Rugby World Cup for the second time. Winners of the very first World Cup in 1987, the All Blacks have been favourites to win on many subsequent occasions, but have missed out.
Victory was especially sweet for long time captain Richie McCaw and coach Graham Henry. New Zealand’s victory came despite having to play most of the final with fourth choice fly-half Stephen Donald, after Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Aaron Cruden had been injured during the tournament.
Despite a narrow victory against France, the All Blacks were comfortably the best team in the tournament, winning all their seven games. Their victory helped lift the spirits of a nation hit by successive tragedies in the Christchurch Earthquake and the Pike River mine disaster.