As a proud but nomadic New Zealander living in the UK I couldn’t let this moment go by without some homage to our mighty All Blacks, winning the Rugby World Cup for the third time and the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup, beating our noisy neighbours Australia, 34-17 in the final at Twickenham on Saturday.
Since becoming the World Champions in Auckland in 2011, they have only had three loses in 53 matches, holding the Number 1 ranking for the past decade. The world’s media have labelled them the greatest rugby team of all time, some saying the greatest team in the history of sport. “Phenomenal doesn’t do them justice,” one scribe wrote.
Rightly so, they also picked up the Best Team trophy at the annual World Rugby Awards for the sixth successive with legendary playmaker Dan Carter winning Best Player after his mercurial Final and final performance, scoring 19 points with the boot, a fitting end to his unparalleled career.
I drew this image of the Cup with the All Blacks iconic silver fern, leaving space for the team – 31 of them – to hopefully sign… and hopefully the winning team. They arrived at the Tower of London for the official welcome to the tournament six weeks ago. Given the history of the venue, some thought the hosts may have had other ideas.
Knowing the chances of me obtaining the entire team at that event were less than minimal, I delivered it to the AB’s long-time manager Darren Shand, who had helped me in the past with previous requests and as sure as God made little green apples (and the All Blacks) he got the job done, like his team in the World Cup. I just had to mention that again.