The Government has congratulated the All Blacks after they finished runners-up in the men’s Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France, saying: “The team has done New Zealand proud.”
Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson said: ”On behalf of New Zealand, I’d like to congratulate coach Ian Foster, captain Sam Cane, and the rest of the team for their achievements.”
This morning’s final saw the All Blacks play South Africa in a rematch of the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, with New Zealand falling short by just one point in the 12-11 loss.
South Africa celebrate victory over New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final. Photo / Getty Images
Robertson said it’s been an incredible seven weeks of rugby and the final was an outstanding and courageous performance by the team, despite playing with 14 men for almost the entire game, after Cane was sent from the field for a dangerous high tackle. His yellow card was upgraded to red on review.
”The All Blacks ethos is all about the team and this was truly a full-team effort throughout the tournament with tries scored by 21 different players across the seven games,” Robertson said.
”Special mention has to go to Sam Whitelock, who became the most-capped All Black against Italy and, fittingly, came up with the crucial turnover during the tense final moments of the quarter-final win over Ireland.”
Roberston also thanked head coach Foster.
“He has had a challenging time as head coach, but he has come through with a significant achievement at this World Cup.
“Ian has had a long career with the All Blacks – 12 years – winning a World Cup as an Assistant Coach in 2015 and his significant contribution has to be acknowledged.”
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins paid tribute to all the fans cheering the team on.
”Whether New Zealanders have shown their support in France or from back home, I know it has given the All Blacks the extra advantage that helped them come this far,” Hipkins said.
”Well done again to all those who made these efforts possible, from the players and coaching staff to their friends and whānau who have supported them all the way.
The outgoing Prime Minister said it’s been incredible to see the team bounce back from that tough opening game against France and set the tournament alight.
”New Zealand looks forward to welcoming the team home and celebrating their achievements,” Hipkins said.
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