So good to see Tony -sorry, I'm being a bit selfish but Tony was just a great player who didn't get the rewards when he was playing so i'm trying to compensate now...
The World Cup dream is all over.
Once again France has knocked the All Blacks out of a World Cup – revisiting the horrors of 1999.
This time it was 20-18 in the second quarter-final in Cardiff.
The All Blacks, who were heavily favoured going into the match, raced away to an early 13-0 lead only to see it whittled away by an inspired French side.
Les Bleus took advantage of Luke McAllister's absence due to a controversial yellow card to split the All Black defence.
It is the worst World Cup result for New Zealand in history, the first time they have not made it to the semi-finals.
The All Blacks are the second southern hemisphere side to make an unexpected exit from the tournament - in the first quarter-final defending champions England beat Australia 12-10.
I found this title (a bit) too strong... A nation in mourning
New Zealanders are today mourning the loss of their World Cup dreams to the French.
The All Blacks were ranked number one in the world and after France's loss to Argentina, Kiwis were confident that there would be a much happier result today.
The French pulled back from a 13 - 0 deficit to score an astounding 20 - 18 victory over the All Blacks in a game marked by some dubious refereeing.
New Zealanders watching the game on TV3 this morning could best be described as feeling gutted with the result.
The small French population of New Zealand, however, were absolutely overjoyed with their miraculous victory over the World Cup favourites.
Henry : the French had great passion.
Oct 7, 2007
French passion and fire combined with superb defence knocked favourites New Zealand out of the World Cup on Sunday, All Blacks coach Graham Henry said after a 20-18 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.
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In an epic quarter-final, France hit back from a 13-0 deficit to leave New Zealand still waiting for a second World Cup success after they won the inaugural tournament in 1987.
Henry said the All Blacks had not taken scoring chances at decisive moments but conceded the better side had won.
"The French played particularly well defensively, were pretty astute in their gameplan and took their opportunities," Henry told a news conference.
"We are disappointed but realistic and understand the better side won on the day and a lot of credit goes to them. We gave it our best shot and it wasn't good enough. That's the fact of the matter and we have to live with it, accept it and get on."
New Zealand enjoyed almost three quarters of the possession throughout a pulsating 80 minutes but scored just two tries, one in each half from Luke McAlister and Rodney So'oialo.
France lost flanker Serge Betsen to an early head injury, the veteran knocked cold by a stray knee. Their confrontational stance to New Zealand's haka -- staring down their opponents within breathing distance -- was replicated on the pitch as the French put their bodies on the line time and time again.
Asked where the game had been lost, a downbeat Henry said: "That last pass close to the goalline... we knocked the ball on or did not secure it properly.
"The French took their opportunities. We had a large territorial advantage in the second half, had opportunities ... didn't quite finish it. I guess from the All Black point of view that was our Achilles heel.
"From the French point of view, I think they defended superbly. They certainly played with a huge amount of passion and fire and it was a different French side to the one we have played in recent times."
Captain Richie McCaw summed up the mood in the All Blacks dressing room, saying: "The pain in the eyes and the body language sums it up. Some of the guys have probably played their last test for the All Blacks, that hurts as well.
"It's hard to put in words, there are some pretty shattered guys as you would expect.
"I'm at a loss to say why we didn't put our game together as we would have liked. You can make a whole lot of excuses but the boys were ready to play today, but we just couldn't put it out there."
All Blacks stunned by France
Oct 7, 2007
By Alan Granville
The All Blacks' dream of World Cup victory is over after France stunned the favourites 20-18 in Cardiff.
The New Zealanders blew a 13-0 lead to let the tenacious French back into the game and a match against England in the semi-finals. The quarter-final loss was the earliest World Cup exit ever for the All Blacks.
Graham Henry's men were the victims of some poor refereeing decisions and a controversial Luke McAlister sin binning proved crucial. A forward pass in the second French try was also missed.
Both teams crossed for two tries - McAlister and Rodney So'oialo for the Kiwis while Thierry Dusautoir and Yannick Jauzion responded for the French. In the end a wayward Luke McAlister conversion was the difference between the sides.
The French showed right from the off that they meant business. At the haka, they came right up to the half-way line to stare down the New Zealanders, adding to the tension of the do-or-die match.
A typical intense start claimed its first victim on five minutes when French big man Serge Betsen was knocked out by a stray Joe Rokocoko arm. The forward needed treatment for over five minutes before he was lead from the field.
Dan Carter was the first man on the scoreboard thanks to a 12th minute penalty and it was nearly the opening try from the All Blacks moments later when great work from McAlister eventually saw the ball coming out to Ali Williams, but the big lock just went into touch before placing the ball.
But it wasn't long before the All Blacks did cross for the first try when a neat Carter offload came to McAlister and the 24-year-old sliced through the French defence. A quick offload to the powerful Jerry Collins came back to the centre and McAlister crossed under pressure. Carter converted for a 10-0 lead on 17 minutes.
The All Blacks certainly had more of the ball in the first half, and they were helped by some wayward French line-outs.
The Kiwis moved out to 13-0 on 30 minutes when Carter struck a beautiful 43-metre penalty.
The French fluffed two chances to get on the scoreboard with stray penalties but Lionel Beauxis finally got the men in blue some points with a penalty with the last kick of the half.
Bernard Laporte's men started the strongest after the break and they were helped when McAlister was controversially sin binned for obstruction. A Beauxis penalty on 45 minutes narrowed the gap to just seven points.
The All Blacks stepped up the intensity despite being a man down but the French defence held strong against the wave of Kiwi pressure. But France broke clear on 54 minutes when some great team pressure saw Thierry Dusautoir cross for the first French try. Beauxis converted to tie up the scores. McAlister returned but it was the last action of the game for Carter, who limped off the field when his calf injury flared up again.
A raft of changes from Graham Henry gave the New Zealanders fresh legs and they were rewarded on 62 minutes when Rodney So'oialo placed the ball on the chalk for the second Kiwi try. McAlister missed the conversion as the All Blacks led 18-13 with 17 minutes left.
French playmaker Frederic Michalak was brought on in the 67th minute and instantly made an impression setting up Yannick Jauzion for try number two. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde converted to give France the lead for the first time in the game.
In the end the French hung on for a famous victory and a match against England in the semis.
New Zealand 18. Tries: Luke McAlister, Rodney So'oialo. Conversions: Dan Carter. Penalties: Dan Carter (2)
France: 20 . Tries: Thierry Dusautoir, Yannick Jauzion . Conversions: Lionel Beauxis, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde . Penalties: Lionel Beauxis (2)