Sunday 17 December 2017

‘Ireland still don’t truly believe’ – New Zealand media reflect on victorious World Cup campaign and assess rivals

New Zealand's team celebrates with the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia
New Zealand's team celebrates with the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

New Zealand made it back-to-back World Cup titles yesterday and the media response worldwide has been one of praise and respect, nowhere more so than back home.

Captain Richie McCaw etched his name into the record books by lifting the William Webb Ellis trophy for the second time as Steve Hansen’s proved their dominance yet again against a gallant Australia in London.

Stuff.co.nz believes that the success sends a powerful message to all the doubters, saying the

In a piece entitled ‘All Blacks smash records and send message with successive Rugby World Cup triumphs', the paper says that the victory at Twickenham shows how rugby “should be played, even on the biggest stage”.

“Revel in the moment,” the article urges. “World champions has a nice ring to it and for another four years the All Blacks will embrace that title. They came, they saw and, indeed, conquered to confirm their status as the indisputable benchmark.”

The New Zealand Herald is dismissive of any possible complaints from the losers over the result of the final.

Chris Rattue, under the headline ‘Who are you kidding Australia?’, argues such claims are far removed from the reality of what took place on the pitch.

“A valiant Australian World Cup final performance? Dodgy refereeing decisions?

“If those are the claims - as they appear to be in some quarters - then the Aussies need to give themselves a huge dose of reality.

“Australia got smashed in the final. They were physically overpowered. They can't last the distance in a tournament.”

Rattue goes on to briefly discuss how the other players fared in the tournament and makes allowances for the injuries suffered by Joe Schmidt’s Ireland. The Six Nations champions bowed out at the quarter-final stage to Argentina, shorn of the services of Jared Payne, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Johnny Sexton through injury as well as Sean O’Brien owing to suspension.

He questions the squad, rather than the team.

“Ireland suffered key injuries, but they still don't truly believe,” he wrote. “They aren't rugby's little people. But the back-up players probably are unfortunately.”

He described England as “all talk and sing”, France as “pathetic”, Wales not in the same league as New Zealand and South Africa as “regressive” side.

In Australia, the response has been one of pride, but most accept they were very much second best to a brilliant All Blacks side.

FOX Sports Australia outlines reasons to the readers to remain hopeful, including the ‘Michael Cheika factor’ and their dramatic improvement in the scrum.

The Herald Sun was honest in its assessment to the power and skill of the victors.

“Thunderstruck had been the Wallabies soundtrack at the World Cup. In the end, however, the neighbours drowned it out with a louder AC/DC song: Back in Black.

“New Zealand proved themselves to be the best team of the tournament with a typically ruthless victory in the final at Twickenham, built on intensity and physical defence but finished off with the brilliant skills of Dan Carter.”

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