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October 6, 2022
SPORTS

Rugby: New Zealand win rugby World Cup

Hosts New Zealand just about held their collective nerve to edge France 8-7 at Eden Park in Auckland and win the World Cup for the second time after a gap of 24 years, according to Eurosport.

This was not the coronation that had been predicted but ultimately a first-half try from prop Tony Woodcock and a penalty from fourth-choice flyhalf Stephen Donald proved enough to end the country’s long wait for a second triumph after 1987.

Having been written off by all but themselves, the French, led by man of the match Thierry Dusautoir, answered the challenge of New Zealand’s haka by advancing in an arrow formation before the game and gave the host nation an almighty scare during it.

A converted try in the second half from Dusautoir had the French dreaming of a first World Cup triumph and the hosts fearing another failure at rugby’s showpiece event against the team that were their nemesis in 1999 and 2007.

The All Blacks looked shar­per and more powerful in the early exchanges as the French enjoyed plenty of possession but ran up blind alleys and were swallowed up by the swarming New Zealand defence.

Scrumhalf Piri Weepu had already missed a reasonably simple penalty in the sixth minute when Woodcock opened the scoring in the 15th minute through a well-executed move straight off the training ground.

France captain Dusautoir was penalised for holding on at the back of the lineout and Weepu launched the resulting kick into touch deep in the French 22.

In the 63rd minute, the All Black scrum, who had dominated in the first half, were penalised for driving up but Trinh-Duc dragged his 47-metre penalty attempt wide.

France kept hold of the ball through phase after phase and the New Zealanders grew more and more frustrated as the chants of “All Blacks! All Blacks!” from the 60,000 crowd grew louder and louder.

A turnover in the 77th minute was greeted as if it were a try and the match ended three minutes later when the French were penalised for offside, sending the host nation into raptures.

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