On this day in 2011: New Zealand wins the Rugby World Cup
New Zealand ended a 24-year wait when they were crowned world champions on October 23, 2011 with a nerve-wracking victory over France.
Richie McCaw won the Webb Ellis Cup after an 8-7 triumph, with France putting pressure on Thierry Dusautoir’s attempt in the second half.
Les Bleus had set the tone by marching across the center line when New Zealand performed their traditional haka before the game.
Stephen Donald’s penalty at the start of the second half led to 8-0 after Tony Woodcock’s attempt in the first half, but France captain Dusautoir crossed in the 47th minute and Francois Trinh-Duc converted.
France exerted concerted pressure in the final stages, but the All Blacks held out and breathed a sigh of relief as they claimed the world title for the first time since 1987.
McCaw said, “It wasn’t very nice, but it all came down to how much the guys wanted to, how daring they were. Many guys tried hard for a long time and didn’t want to miss the opportunity.
“We probably didn’t do our best, but we played well enough. I take my hat off to every single player who stepped onto the field. “
Coach Graham Henry, who retired after the tournament, said: “We’ve been through a lot together. Many of the boys played in the last World Cup and fell in the quarter-finals, and honestly there are no words for this win. “
His French counterpart Marc Lievremont, for whom it was also the last game, said: “It’s incredibly sad, but I’m incredibly proud of the players. We said the All Blacks were the best team in the world. The French team was great today. “