If ever I was going to have a heart attack, this would be the night – had to leave the room twice, my heartbeat climbing to an alarming rate. When did I become such a Rugby fan? I whoop it up when Tony Woodcock scores our first & only try. I groan along with my countrymen when Piri Weepu misses his goal kicks. We’re sharing his pain. We can’t let the French snatch the cup away. Not this time. A collective ripple of despair as yet another 1st five-eight succumbs to injury. Aaron Cruden, our little braveheart, is replaced by Stephen Donald, the 4th choice who defines the true meaning of irony when he kicks the match deciding goal. Only last week he was out white-baiting and now he’s just become part of a legend!
The last five minutes is the worst and best of times. It takes just one person to start the chant. “All-blacks, All-blacks”. The sound of thousands of Kiwis in full voice is terrifying and wonderful. These giant heroes of ours draw on the last of their strength to hold the French at bay. The final whistle blows. I weep..but only to prevent the possibility of a triple bypass, you understand.