2 Nov 2015

A World Cup four years in the making

11:30 am on 2 November 2015

OPINION: This World Cup victory has been years in the making and it may not stop here.

New Zealand Rugby set the wheels in motion at least four years ago and has cooked up a good recipe to keep hold of it.

All Blacks celebrate RWC2015

All Blacks celebrate RWC2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In sport it is said that you learn more from a loss than you do from a victory, and the All Blacks' current glory certainly stems from that disastrous World Cup in 2007.

After that quarter-final defeat, the then-New Zealand Rugby Union had the guts to reappoint Graham Henry and his men - and since then the All Blacks have learnt how to win.

After the World Cup triumph in 2011 a number of players and Henry moved on and Steve Hansen took over with the mantra "let's do something special".

That was to become the first nation to defend a World Cup title and become the first New Zealand team to win a World Cup offshore.

Fortunately there were enough people continuing on from 2011, which meant there wasn't any major dip in form or results. That was evident in 2012 when they lost just one game.

In fact they have lost just three times in 54 matches since their victory on home soil four years ago, and have won every World Cup match since losing to France in the 2007 quarter-finals.

There is little doubt that the knowledge that has been banked over the last four years will be invaluable, and it is a recipe that other countries would love to have.

The best thing that New Zealand Rugby did last year was sign Hansen up until 2017 to avoid that drop following a World Cup.

He'll take this Juggernaut through to the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour, and possibly then will hand the baton over to someone else.

The All Blacks have also worked on depth in the playing ranks so that when the six veterans left, the team would have a seamless transition.

That will probably be stretching it a little as the likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and even Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith don't come around every day. But the process has already been put in place to replace them.

Ma'a Nonu busts a move in the All Blacks' dressing room after winning the Rugby World Cup Final.

Ma'a Nonu busts a move in the All Blacks' dressing room after winning the Rugby World Cup Final. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

So a great result for the team, but my word, it takes its toll on us fans.

Did anyone really enjoy the Rugby World Cup through the stress of the last couple of weeks?

Why is it that when knockout time comes around everything changes for me. All of a sudden doubt comes into my mind, I slide a little closer to the edge of the chair and it's not fun anymore... what's wrong with me?

In my head I knew the All Blacks were the best team there, they know how to win and they had the experience to do it. However this is sport, nothing is for certain and that doubt hung around, niggling the back of my mind and being a real pain.

It ruined for me what should have been one of the greatest experiences you can have as a sports fan.

McCaw said they knew they could win this tournament as long as they played to their full potential. I suppose I just need a little more faith.

So while some may dine out on this for a while, there are the likes of me who know that the next Test is just over six months away.

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