It is 10 years since the All Blacks were dumped out of the 2007 World Cup. That hor­ri­ble night has led to great things for the game in New Zealand.

IT WAS 10 YEARS AGO THAT THE ALL BLACKS WERE DUMPED OUT OF THE WORLD CUP QUAR­TER­FI­NAL BY FRANCE. THE DE­CI­SION TO RE­TAIN THE COACHING STAFF AFTER THAT FAIL­URE HAS PROVEN TO BE ONE OF THE BEST NEW ZEALAND RUGBY HAS MADE.

NZ Rugby World - - Contents - Gre­gor Paul re­ports.

There were many en­dur­ing im­ages from the fate­ful night of Oc­to­ber 6, 2007. None summed up the de­spair, shock and near heart­break of the evening bet­ter than a drained and al­most gaunt-look­ing Richie McCaw fac­ing the me­dia.

There was the look of sheer panic on the faces of a hand­ful of the non-play­ing squad such as Aaron Mauger and Doug Howlett who were watch­ing on pow­er­less to in­ter­vene.

Or what about the way so many All Blacks col­lapsed to their knees when the fi­nal whis­tle was blown in Cardiff and the enor­mity of what had just hap­pened sank in.

Mem­o­ries of that night when the All Blacks lost 20-18 in the World Cup quar­ter­fi­nal to France re­main vivid. It was the dark­est hour in All Blacks’ World Cup his­tory.

This was a de­feat like no other – a hu­mil­i­at­ing, crush­ing blow that no one saw com­ing. The All Blacks had ar­rived at that tour­na­ment as de­served and gen­uine favourites.

They had barely lost since 2005 and at the tail end of 2006 they wiped the floor with Eng­land, France and Wales hav­ing done much the same against South Africa and Aus­tralia ear­lier in the year.

AFTER CARDIFF I HAD QUES­TIONED MY­SELF. WAS I THE RIGHT PER­SON FOR THE JOB? THAT’S NAT­U­RAL I SUP­POSE. THERE WERE DEF­I­NITELY TIMES I THOUGHT RE­ALLY HARD ABOUT IT.’ RICHIE McCAW

COLOUR DRAIN Richie McCaw was shell-shocked after the loss to France.

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