World Cup shock loss
Sun, 07 Oct 2007 04:05p.m.
The post-mortem into the All Blacks dramatic loss to France has started and so has the finger pointing. Rookie English referee Wayne Barnes is under fire after two crucial decisions controversially went against the All Blacks. With the French hot on attack early in the second half, the Englishman sent Luke McAlister to the sin bin for obstruction. "Well that's garbage," Grant Fox said about the yellow card decision. "Luke McAlister was turning, he's entitled to do it." There was further dismay when a forward pass which led to France's second try went unnoticed 15 minutes later. New Zealand's Paddy O'Brien, who heads the IRB referees panel, says New Zealanders should not blame Barnes for the loss, and that as a nation we should "grow up".
The shock of defeat
Sun, 07 Oct 2007 04:50p.m.
For the first time in history New Zealand does not make it to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup. The French staged a magnificent performance, aided by some dubious refereeing, to score an astounding 20 - 18 victory. Once again it can be said that at the time it counted most, the All Blacks choked under the pressure. As fans began to leave Cardiff's Millenium Stadium their reaction was more anguish than anger as they began to accept that they had seen the last of the All Blacks at this World Cup. The analysis of what went wrong will roll on for weeks but at the centre of the debate will be two issues - if Luke McAlister deserved to be sin binned and whether a forward pass went undetected in the lead-up to the second French try.
The All Blacks and their fans must now wait for four more years for another chance to win the elusive World Cup.
What they said: Rugby reaction
Oct 7, 2007
"We can't do anything about it now. It's going to hurt for a long, long time. I'm lost for words."- New Zealand captain Richie McGaw on the quarter-final defeat by France.
"Today we were a really brave team and when we have the spirit, it's difficult to stop us."- France captain Raphael Ibanez on how his team won 20-18.