New Zealand had not win the World Cup since hosting and winning the inaugural tournament in 1987. Yesterday’s victory came 24 years after David Kirk became the first New Zealand captain to receive the Webb Ellis Cup.
Richie McCaw displayed the trophy to a crowd of 61,000 at the Eden Park.
“No one can ever take this away from this group. I think the whole country should be proud of every single one of them,” McCaw said. “I’m just so proud of every single one of the guys. We couldn’t have been under any more pressure.”
“It’s something we’ve dreamed of for a while,” New Zealand coach Graham Henry said. “Now, we can rest in peace.”
The French team had been written off after an inconsistent tournament. However, they gave one of their finest World Cup performances yesterday.
“I feel immensely sad and immensely proud at the same time,” France coach Marc Lievremont said. “People have always said and thought that the All Blacks were the greatest team of all time, but tonight I think it’s the France team that was great and even immense. It’s tough to take; we needed a little bit more.”