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No joie de vivre in France's 2007 lesson

Radio New Zealand Radio New Zealand 12/10/2015

Yannick Jauzion of France celebrates as the final whistle signals his team's victory in the Quarter Final of the Rugby World Cup 2007 match between New Zealand and France at the Millennium Stadium on October 6, 2007 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. © Getty Yannick Jauzion of France celebrates as the final whistle signals his team's victory in the Quarter Final of the Rugby World Cup 2007 match between New Zealand and France at the Millennium Stadium on October 6, 2007 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. At the 65th minute I knew we were done. I left the office to pace the hallway.

I was joined by one of my French colleagues and he put his arm around my shoulder, shrugged his shoulders in that Gaelic way and said: "Je suis desole (I am sorry)".

The next day he returned to our office in a corner of Paris wearing the French flag. His sorrow had clearly passed.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup provided a surprise or two, none more so than the much-lamented All Blacks loss to France in the Cardiff quarter-final. This Sunday the two teams meet again at the same Cup stage and venue.

Sometimes the best way to deal with all possible outcomes is to confront old demons. So here we go:

Yes, Dan Carter is crying, Richie McCaw is crying. The man cut from granite leaks. They are so young. The haircuts are bad and they're wearing those awful black and grey uniforms. We look desperate and short of ideas. That pass was forward.

The post-match reaction and analysis still paints a vivid, raw, picture.

In The Guardian, William Fotheringham wrote about the "bewildered Kiwi fans" wandering Cardiff's streets trying to "make sense of it all"

"What France did create was a virtually impenetrable wall of dark blue shirts whenever New Zealand went forward.

"Their tackle count nudged 200 for the evening, with Thierry Dusautoir accounting for some 30 of those. Two and three-man tackles muzzled New Zealand's ability to offload the ball rapidly."

The opening line of Steve James' piece in the Daily Telegraph at the time was: 'Four more years, New Zealand'. Under the headline 'End of the world for the All Blacks', James wrote: "They said it could not happen again. They said that New Zealand could not botch another World Cup. They said that there would not be a repeat of 1999 at Twickenham when France, from nowhere, humbled the seemingly invincible All Blacks. Well, revise your opinions. New Zealand have yet another long wait."

James described the match as "jaw-droppingly physical at times, error-strewn at others, but always compelling and utterly thrilling. It was knockout rugby at its most fraught and fascinating.

"Carter, never himself throughout, limped off. What a time to lose your totem. And replacement Nick Evans did not last long either. When replacement Sebastien Chabal stymied an All Black attack by turning the ball over you'd swear France had won the entire competition, such was the reaction."

A story on stuff.co.nz asked simply: "Did the 2007 team choke?"

All Blacks hooker Anton Oliver, post-match and facing retirement, told Fairfax the dressing room was like "no man's land" in World War I.

"There's a sort of desolate decay and the smell of death... I didn't want to take my jersey off. No one wants to finish their career like this. The country and the team had such high hopes."

It just goes to show that what we really need is a healthy dose, excuse the French cliché, of joie de vivre about it all.

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