Sunday, October 23, 2011

Woodcock try the difference for NZ

New Zealand held a 5-0 advantage over France at the halftime break in the Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park in Auckland.

Conditions were perfect with no wind in front of a crowd of more than 60,000.

France set the scene by challenging the haka, walking from their designated position on the 10m line in arrowhead formation to halfway – the only time any team has broken the IRB ruling on dealing with the haka.

France attempted to run the ball at New Zealand but the constant probing found no openings and it was a superb piece of play that saw the All Blacks score first. Halfback Piri Weepu, who had earlier missed a penalty goal attempt, won a penalty from a French lineout.

French flanker Thierry Dusautoir took the long throw but was tackled by No.8 Kieran Read and Weepu was prevented from claiming the ball. His penalty kick took New Zealand to within five metres of the French line.

New Zealand threw to flanker Jerome Kaino and after the front half of the lineout moved forward a huge gap was created through which prop Tony Woodcock ambled over the line for the try.

Weepu missed the conversion and another penalty goal attempt but his kicking over the top from rucks was pinpoint and kept France pinned in their half for long periods.

New Zealand suffered a blow when first five-eighths Aaron Cruden was forced to leave the field with a knee injury in the 33rd minute. He was replaced by Stephen Donald. 

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