Rugby-NZ beat France 8-7 to win the World Cup - the action as it happened

Reuters

Sun, 23 Oct 10:47:00 2011

New Zealand beat France 8-7 to win the rugby World Cup final at Eden Park on Sunday. Here is the action how it happened:

* The kickoff is just minutes away. The anthems have been sung and the teams are limbering up before going into battle. The atmosphere inside Eden Park is electric with the stadium packed with thousands of supporters mostly dressed in black. The match is a repeat of the 1987 final, won 29-9 by New Zealand, and the All Blacks are overwhelming favourites to win tonight and join Australia and South Africa as twice winners of the Webb Ellis Cup.

* The kickoff was preceded by New Zealand's traditional Haka, which the French responded to by advancing in arrow formation, drawing whistles from the crowd.

* Here are the teams: New Zealand: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 11-Richard Kahui, 10-Aaron Cruden, 9-Piri Weepu, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Jerome Kaino, 5-Sam Whitelock, 4-Brad Thorn, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Keven Mealamu, 1-Tony Woodcock

Replacements: 16-Andrew Hore, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Ali Williams, 19-Adam Thomson, 20-Andy Ellis, 21-Stephen Donald, 22-Sonny Bill Williams

France: 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Vincent Clerc, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Alexis Palisson, 10-Morgan Parra, 9-Dimitri Yachvili, 8-Imanol Harinordoquy, 7-Julien Bonnaire, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5-Lionel Nallet, 4-Pascal Pape, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-William Servat, 1-Jean-Baptiste Poux

Replacements: 16-Dimitri Szarzewski, 17-Fabien Barcella, 18-Julien Pierre, 19-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 20-Jean-Marc Doussain, 21-Francois Trinh-Duc, 22-Damien Traille

6 min - Both teams have made a nervous start to the final with France failing to retain possession from the kickoff then kicking the ball into touch on the full. The All Blacks have done most of the early defending but had a chance to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty in one of their first ventures into French territory. Piri Weepu's angled attemped missed, though. 0-0.

11 min - France have looked great in the early stages, dominating possession and testing the All Blacks defence, but suffered an early blow when flyhalf Morgan Parra left the field looking dazed and groggy after making a tackle on Ma'a Nonu.

14 min - TRY NEW ZEALAND - The All Blacks strike first with a try from prop Tony Woodock. France were penalised at the lineout and Weepu kicked the ball deep into their territory. The All Blacks won the lineout and Jerome Kaino tapped down for Woodock who strolled through a giant hole to crash over and score. Weepu missed the conversion while Parra returned to the field for France. New Zealand 5 France 0.

27 min - The All Blacks are starting to take control, pinning the French inside their own half and threatening to break loose. Morgan, still dazed, leaves the field again, this time permanently. France are penalised at the ruck but Weepu misses the shot at goal. That's three straight misses for the scrumhalf.

33 min - Trouble for the All Blacks as flyhalf Aaron Cruden limps off the pitch after injuring his right knee running with the ball. He is replaced by Stephen Donald who is effectively their fourth choice flyhalf. France miss a shot at drop goal. Score remains unchanged at 5-0 heading towards halftime.

HALFTIME - South African referee Craig Joubert blows for halftime with New Zealand leading 5-0 after Woodcock's try. The All Blacks had the better chances in the first 40 minutes but failed to take their chances with Weepu's three missed kicks at goal costing his team.

41 min - The second half is underway with France kicking off deep into New Zealand territory.

43 min - The All Blacks are penalised for using their hands in the ruck after the French attack down the left side. Dimitri Yachvili lines up the shot from near the touchline but misses his first attempt of the match.

46 min - PENALTY NEW ZEALAND. France give away a penalty 37 metres in front of the posts. The crowd roars as Donald takes over the kicking duties from Weepu and bangs it straight between the sticks. New Zealand 8 France 0.

47 min - TRY FRANCE. France are right back in the match after their skipper Thierry Dusautoir crashes over next to the posts following a break from replacement flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc who adds the conversion. The All Blacks respond by making three changes including taking off Weepu. New Zealand 8 France 7.

62 min - We are into the last quarter of the match and there's still just one point in it. Against all expectations, France have succeeded in rattling the All Blacks and there are some nervous fans in the stadium now.

65 min - France miss their chance to take the lead for the first time when the All Black front row gives away a penalty for lifting at a scrum just inside their own half. Trinh-Duc's long-range attempt is waved away.

77 min - France have been camped in the New Zealand half for most of the last 10 minutes but the New Zealand defence has answered every challenge they have faced. Sonny Bill Williams replaces Ma'a Nonu at insider centre as the All Blacks finally get their hands on the ball with just a few minutes left.

FULLTIME - New Zealand win 8-7 to capture the World Cup for the first time in 24 years. Brave effort from the French who almost pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the sport but no-one could begrudge the All Blacks their win.

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