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Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Zealand beat France for Richie McCaw's 100th Test cap

All Black captain Richie McCaw notched up his well earnt 100th Test Cap earlier today when New Zealand beat France 37-17 in Auckland, to take the top place in Pool A of the Rugby World Cup. Before that, England ran riot against Romania, winning 67-3 in Dunedin.

The game had been picked as somewhat of a revenge contest for the All Blacks, who had famously been knocked out of the tournament by France in both 1999 and 2007, in the Semi Final and Quarter Final respectively. Today they put that well and truly behind them with a strong performance against a more than handy French side, who despite having an experimental halfback pairing, will be tough to beat for others.

Early on it looked as though New Zealand would run away with it as they scored a few quickfire first half tries through their brilliant backs. France managed to compete in the second half, and scored a few tries of their own. They were never really back in it though, and the hosts one this one comfortably.

The win means that they will face the runners-up of Pool B, which will probably be either Scotland or Argentina, while it looks as though France could be facing England in the quarter finals. 

It was a great occasion for skipper McCaw, who not only avenged the disappointing loss in Cardiff four years ago, but achieved the fantastic milestone of picking up 100 Test Caps. McCaw, the 1017th All Black, received a silver cap in a special presentation after the match. It was handed to him by former captain, and leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma sufferer, Jock Hobbs. McCaw was humbled, and clearly quite emotional when speaking.

You can view the interview below. Highlights of the game can be viewed via the RWC website.

Posted at 11:30 am | 13 comments

Posted in Rugby World Cup 2011

Viewing 13 comments

moddeur September 24, 2011 1:35 pm

Very good match by the ABs, played with passion, devotion, team spirit, and skill! On the other hand France continue to look bored when they play. Are they ever going to wake up during this tournament, or is this is the legacy of Lièvremont? A few (dumb) individual defensive mistakes by France, but once the star bench came on it was a tighter contest (except for that ridiculously simple AB try at the end, does France have any jumpers??)

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RaoulDuke September 24, 2011 1:52 pm

Lièvremont has a lot to answer for. Jauzian, Poitreaud and Nyanga all at home, and half the players on the pitch don't seem to want to be there at all. There seems to be far too little spirit and determination in this squad, and I'd say that's coming from the management.

One of the poorer French performances I've seen. All well and good losing and having the "easier" route to the Final, but that debacle is going to have irreparable damage to their confidence.

Having said that, All Blacks look great. Kaino & McCaw were immense up front. Dagg is looking superb. Carter, Weepu, Nonu & Smith were as good as you could expect and Kahui and SBW impress me more each time too. If anyone can beat them, that team deserves to take the cup.

Well done Blacks, but I expected more from Les Bleus.

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moddeur September 24, 2011 2:09 pm

I don't know about the confidence bit, I think the bench can take pride in helping to nearly "win" the second half of the game, except for Harinordoquy, who gets pushed back 30 meters by a center! And there can be a sense of revenge if both sides meet again in the final. But England will be a very tough nut to crack, and Wales/Ireland play with such passion that I think France is unlikely to make it to the final. Maybe Wales vs South Africa at the end, on current form.

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RaoulDuke September 24, 2011 2:47 pm

I'd like to be proven wrong. There's nothing more exciting than the cockerals playing with their heads up (pun fully intended), but "nearly win(ning) the second half of the game" is hardly an achievement. With such depth of talent in your country to have players on the pitch who appear to lack any desire to break the line is a travesty. I felt for Harinordoquy, to be honest, it was a great tackle and he lacked any support from his pack.

I'd love to see you stick it to England and then us (Ireland) stick it to you, but I don't see you breaking down the English playing as you are. You lack self belief and England have far too much of it. I predict an Ireland vs New Zealand final! :D

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Declan Yeats September 24, 2011 3:53 pm

Great words by Richie but the 'Rise Sir Richie' sign made me nauseous.

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themull September 24, 2011 6:01 pm

First ten minutes was all France and if they had of scored a try then I believe the contest would have been much tighter..But Once NZ got into the game they looked unstoppable...France looked clueless in attack and very slow to get tot he breakdown, which was highlighted even more by NZ's expertise in these areas...

But these are the kinds of performances we've come to expect from the French..Excellent one match and average the next...They can still bring the cup home, but more consistency will be needed if they're going to achieve it...

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i love bacon September 24, 2011 8:59 pm

So there's a good chance the knockout brackets are going to end up looking like a second-edition 2011 6N and 3N, huh?

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Frenchie September 25, 2011 5:44 am

The French made the job easy for the AB by committing way too many handling errors, missed tackles... They were very slow and naive in defense. Great game by the AB, all around. Hopefully the French will keep that in mind for the next games.

The worry is the lack of fighting spirit, after the 1st try the French gave up, panicked and the game was over.
2nd half was much better (although the AB scored in the 1st and last minute, tough!), especially the scrum with Servat coming in, Trinh Duc had a good game too, he played close to the defense, broke the line a couple of times even, scored. Parra as fly half was a mistake.
I think Lievremont has his starting team now - at last - with Servat; Yachvili/Parra ; Trinh Duc. Heymans is more dangerous than Traille although he was not excellent.

So? It'll be England, the old foes again...If France plays like they did, England will win the same way the AB did; for sure.

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eltown September 25, 2011 6:24 am

I've GOT to figure out what time these dang matches are at. I was positive this game was on at 1:30 Pacific Time. How did I get that?!

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stroudos September 26, 2011 12:27 pm

Well watch out, because NZ have just moved their clocks on an hour too!

PST is now 20hrs behind NZ. So, for example, Italy v USA is at 7:30pm NZ time on Tuesday, which is quite a sociable 11:30pm tonight (Monday) on Pacific time.

If you go on the RWC official site fixture list, you can click a button at the top for your local time:
http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/home/fixtures/poolstage.html

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Colombes September 26, 2011 9:25 am

a great Ab's captain celebrated, a great nz and french crowd (were they 17 000 frenchies at eden park!??) and good match.
mc caw is a huge player and deserves this, he sometimes cheats in the mauls but he doesn't cheat with his fans.

cocnerning the match, it was just a best lesson for the french against the best side of the moment. The 1st half was incredible from the ab's, they were lethal and direct when the french were too lateral with 70% of possession. the frenchies 2nd half was clearly better but they have worked to do, they conceded to much turn-overs and stupid tries. if they close their defence anythin can happen vs (probably) england in the 1/4

South Africa and NZ are above everyone for the moment

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Jeanjohn September 26, 2011 8:29 pm

Well, there we are. The real tests are coming for all teams. France: learn to be clinical against Tonga. Finally get past England. For NZ: reaffirm SH dominance, I'd say against South Africa. If NZ get the title, it'll be eternal glory.
Another big one: there will be a celtic nation in the semis.

About the game. Not much to learn from it. Is there?

Also, what is wrong with RD? 11 comments for a NZ/France?

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Frenchie September 30, 2011 8:23 pm

Surely the most horrible hat ever, is that a fixed gear bike hat with a pompom on top?

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