Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It has been 24 years, and our boys in black have finally done it. After the most stressful game of rugby I think anyone has ever watched in their lives, the whole of New Zealand erupted in screams and cries as the final whistle blew and we were crowned world champions.
I was in the Fanzone in Wellington city with my partner, sister and a couple of friends amongst about 3,000 people. We got there two hours before the game started to secure a good spot at the front to watch it on the big screen, and nothing about that four hours we spent standing there was calm.
During the second half with just one point separating New Zealand and France, the only thing going through our minds was, “all the French need is a drop goal or a penalty and we’re history”.
I am not a religious person, but for about 20 minutes straight, I had my hands clasped together in front of my face in prayer, pleading for the boys to hold off the French until the final whistle.
They did, and everybody screamed, cried, and flung their arms around each other for what seemed like hours, barely believing that we had actually won the Rugby World Cup for the first time since the tournament started in 1987.
Some may say, “it’s just a game”, but it’s really not, it’s so much more than a game. For starters, it’s New Zealand’s national game. I for one have been brought up in a rugby oriented household, and even those who were not rugby fans at the beginning of the tournament were screaming and crying on Sunday night.
It’s also about what it means to be a New Zealander. People around the world love us kiwis and know we love our rugby, and over the last seven weeks, we have proved that, for a little country of just 4.5 million people, we can put on one of the biggest international events in the world – and nail it.
I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling for the last two days and I feel immensely proud to be a New Zealander right now.
We have so much heart, so much courage, so much determination as a nation, and I think we have shown that not just through the Rugby World Cup, but also through everything our little country has been through in the last year.
First there was the Pike River Mine disaster, when 29 men were killed in an explosion. Then came the Canterbury earthquakes – September 4th, February 22nd, and June 13th, which destroyed our most beautiful city and killed 181 people. Now, of course, there’s the Rena, a cargo ship that hit a reef off the coast of Tauranga and is currently on the verge of breaking up after spilling tones of oil into the ocean and scattering containers along the coast.
But we have pulled through all that, and Sunday night’s win will remain in our minds for the rest of our lives. It is especially exciting for my generation – I was just a wee peanut in my mum’s belly the last time we own the cup – because we now have one of the greatest stories in New Zealand’s history to tell our children and grandchildren, just like our parents told us about the 1987 world cup.

Photos from Stuff.co.nz

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