Best by a mile


Reuters

IF naysayers (me included) doubted that New Zealand would retain their Rugby World Cup title on Saturday, they were shut up in spectacular fashion.

New Zealand, title favourites from the start, were brilliant and gave a hiding to their neighbours and fierce rivals Australia by a 34-17 scoreline.

The only reason I thought Australia would steal the game was because of New Zealand's so-called "chokers" tag - how wrong I was.

Even when Australia looked as if they could make a comeback in the second half when Ben Smith was sin-binned, New Zealand held strong and made it look so easy.

It was the same in the semi-finals when the All Blacks defeated South Africa by two points. If the old New Zealand might have buckled, this time their defence was watertight and they fought until the very end.

This is the first time that New Zealand have won the title outside their backyard and the third time they have won the title altogether.

They are also the first team to have defended the title. What a triumph for the likes of Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock and of course captain Richie McCaw, who seem to have been in the All Blacks forever.

They will be bowing out with their heads held high.

Carter's 19 points rightfully earned him the man-of-the-match honour, while Nonu's try was remarkable, to say the least. These kind of performances make me think they can go on for another few years.

Considering New Zealand's rich history in the game, it won't be a stretch to say that this generation of players are the best to put on that famous black jersey.

The All-Blacks have a bunch of players with the likes of Dane Coles, Aaron Smith, Charlie Faumuina, Joe Moody, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Beauden Barrett, Sam Cane, Ben Smith, Julian Savea, and Brodie Retallick coming to mind.

Can they go on to win the 2019 World Cup in Japan? They could, but they will have to look over their shoulders at South Africa.

After a shock loss against Japan in the opening game, the young South African team recovered to top their group and advance to the semi-finals.

I guess they made a mistake of allowing New Zealand to pound them in the start of the second half of the game, when they had a pretty slender lead.

But when you have that All Blacks attack running at you at breakneck speeds, no one could have lived with it. So for now, let us all revel in New Zealand's awesomeness and applaud them for being the best and sporting winners.

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