What a time to be in New Zealand...
Published Monday, 24 October 2011
Winning the Rugby World Cup to the All Blacks was the difference between life and death - literally to some people.
I watched a programme on TV before the final which was all about a family that had broken up. The father and son had not spoken after New Zealand lifted their first World Cup in 1987 because they had both felt 'suicidal' every time NZ went out of the competition since.
But with the hosts back in the finals this year, the father and son had made contact and were heading to Eden Park together. I can only imagine the celebrations they had after.
Mind you, it wasn't as easy as everyone anticipated.
The French went into the game as underdogs - a tag they welcomed. And a tag that left many commentators down under eating humble pie.
France did everything but win the game.
They shut the All Blacks down and had it not been for Trinh-Duc's missed penalty in the 65th minute, France would have won the game.
Instead it was New Zealand who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup after their 8-7 victory - as close as you like.
Needless to say, it was a once in a lifetime experience being in New Zealand to witness the final. But I couldn't help thinking how special it would have been had Ireland been in it.
The home nation was all hoping for an Ireland V NZ finale, but instead Ireland blew their best chance of getting there.
Wins over Wales on the last four of six occasions didn't matter. In Wellington on October 8 we could not complain - the best team on the night won.
And on October 23 the best team in the world won. Congratulations New Zealand. The best team of the tournament deserved to lift that coveted trophy and the whole nation deserved to celebrate.