It was typical of the British weather to arrive after the European teams had been knocked out of the World Cup. The result was a hard, uncompromising wrestling bout that was more Six Nations than Rugby Championship; the holders finding a way of winning ugly and keeping alive their ambition of becoming the first side to retain the trophy. For all the talk in the past week about gaps and a right and a wrong way of playing, it is all about finding a winning way in tournament rugby and New Zealand, despite having their polish rubbed off by limited, but single-minded opponents, found something from deep within to reach successive finals for the first time. There was a moment towards the end of the first half when the camera panned to the New Zealand coach, Steve Hansen. He was wearing an expression that suggested someone had just asked him which dressing room he fancied on Friday night for the bronze final at the Olympic Stadium. The All Blacks were losing 9-7 despite scoring an early try after breaching South Africa’s defence with surprising ease. Worse was to come when the try scorer, Jerome Kaino, was sent to the sin-bin… Read full this story
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