The NZ All Blacks have beaten France 8-7 in a bone crushing encounter to win the rugby world cup at Auckland tonight.
Auckland (dpa) – The All Blacks won the rugby World Cup for the second time with a hard-fought 8-7 victory against France in the final played in Auckland on Sunday.
The hosts New Zealand were the overwhelming favourite going into the final, but the Les Bleus made it difficult for them throughout.
It was only a brilliant defensive performance that allowed the All Blacks to lift the Webb Ellis Cup at the end of 80 minutes to the delight of the 67,000 fans in Eden Park as the song Tonight is going to be a good night played.
It was the third final for both sides, with now France losing all three times.
Both sides missed two penalty attempts and Francois Trinh-Duc came agonizingly close with a drop-goal attempt in the first half for the French and in the end, it was only one point that separated the two side in the low-scoring game.
Prop Tony Woodcock scored the opening try in the first half when he found a way through the French defence to touch down for his first try at the World Cup.
Piri Weepu missed the conversion attempt and the sides changed over with the score at 5-0 for the All Blacks.
Stephen Donald, who came on as a substitute for the injured Aaron Cruden for his first-ever game at the World Cup, put over a penalty for New Zealand in the 47th minute to give them an eight-point lead, but man of the match Thierry Dusautoir scored a try for France just a minute later.
Trinh-Duc added two points from the conversion to bring the Les Bleus back to one point, but the All Blacks then held on for a fantastic victory, which was the lowest-scoring final ever in the history of the competition and also the final with the closest score.
The winning captain Richie McCaw said it was time that the All Blacks won again after lifting the first trophy in 1987, when they also beat France at the same venue.
“We had to dig very deep, but we knew that there would be a time when a team finally put the monkey off their backs. I am so proud that it is this team.”
New Zealand coach Graham Henry, told the fans that he was now simply looking forward to going fishing and relaxing. “I am just so proud to be a New Zealander tonight. It is fantastic.”
French captain Dusautoir said that it was disappointing to lose.
“But I am very proud that we came all the way. We lost two games in the group stage and nobody thought that we could make the final. So we have something to be proud of.”