Rugby World Cup 2015: 2007 Cardiff quarterfinal loss shaped ABs – Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw has turned the Rugby World Cup rhetoric on its head on the eve of the All Blacks quarterfinal replay against France in Cardiff.

Asked for the umpteenth time this week about the 2007 quarterfinal loss to the Tricolours, McCaw said it may have shaped the events that followed as the All Blacks rebounded to win the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“I know for myself it was a disappointing day, but it perhaps shaped what’s happened since,” he said after the All Blacks captain’s run on Millennium Stadium. “Those days are the ones you learn a few lessons and then you have good times since then and also learn lessons. It’s just great we have another opportunity to play in a quarterfinal at a World Cup. That’s the bit that gets me going.”

Richie McCaw talks to his teammates during the All Blacks’ captain’s run at Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

The All Blacks lost 20-18 to France at the same venue in 2007 and though it spurred the team on in coming years, McCaw said it was too far in the distance to hold any relevance this week.

“If you are going to reflect back eight years ago that’s a long time and there has been a lot of rugby played since. I think there are only a couple of us who actually played that day.

CARDIFF, WALES – OCTOBER 16: Conrad Smith of the All Blacks looks on during a New Zealand All Blacks Captain’s Run at Millenium Stadium on October 16, 2015 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

“I was talking to a couple of the [younger] lads and they asked the same question. I think they weren’t even at secondary school. That perhaps sums up how old we are. We’ve had some good experiences [here] and that one that wasn’t, but tomorrow’s a different day and that’s what we’re excited about.

“Really not a lot of thought goes back that far except acknowledging how tough quarterfinals are. Four years ago we had a tough one and that’s the way it should be.”

All Blacks backs coach Ian Foster said the team had taken little notice of reports of a rift in the French camp.

“We’re expecting a French team very fired up to be in Cardiff. It’s a goal of theirs and they’ve shown before they can rise for a big occasion. We’re expecting the best of them, that’s been the focus of our preparation all week.”

Whatever was happening in the French camp, McCaw said he sensed his teammates were on edge a day before kick-off.

“Knockout footy is what you come here for and now it’s come around. The boys are on edge as you’d expect going into a quarterfinal. We’ve had a good week training, the stadium’s a great place to play and we’re looking forward to getting out there.”

A sellout crowd of 74,000 will greet the teams when they run onto Millennium Stadium and with former US Open golf winner Michael Campbell on hand for the team’s final trot at the match venue, McCaw said he hoped there would be plenty of black jerseys in the stands by kick off.

“I know a lot of people who have come over for this game. Hopefully we see plenty of black in the crowd tomorrow would be great.

“The boys always appreciate the sort of atmosphere it creates. Out here at Millennium Stadium is one of the great places to play test rugby … plenty of noise from the Kiwis would be great.”

McCaw was anticipating a typically tough battle with French captain Thierry Dusautoir.

“He drives the team through his performance. Over the years I’ve played him a few times and he’s always there. You saw that last week in the Irish game, he was a force in defence and always there at the breakdown.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: