A Few Tears Shed as All Blacks Acknowledge Enormity of Rugby World Cup Form Flip in Emotional Meeting

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A Few Tears Shed as All Blacks Acknowledge Enormity of Rugby World Cup Form Flip in Emotional Meeting

rugby france, Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup 2023

In a surprising turn of events, the All Blacks, three-time Webb Ellis Cup champions, have defied expectations by reaching the latter stages of the Rugby World Cup. This remarkable achievement comes at a time when rugby’s northern hemisphere teams have been enjoying considerable success.

New Zealand entered the tournament as the fourth-ranked team in the world, following a season marred by significant losses to both Argentina and Ireland. Their journey at the World Cup didn’t begin on a promising note, with a one-sided defeat to France after halftime.

The quarter-final clash against Ireland, the world’s top-ranked team, was expected to break the All Blacks’ quarter-final jinx. However, it wasn’t to be.

The All Blacks made a strong comeback in the semi-final, overpowering Los Pumas, and now they present a formidable challenge to the Springboks, who narrowly defeated England in the other knockout match.

The magnitude of this occasion hasn’t escaped anyone within the All Blacks team. Senior members of the squad addressed the group on Monday, sharing heartfelt insights about the challenges ahead.

Dalton Papali’i, the All Blacks flanker, reflected on the significance of these discussions, saying, “It was quite special to hear some of the things those certain players said from the heart. You know those leaders have been through a lot in their careers, the highs and the lows, the off-field and on-field stuff, and for them to open up, it sort of makes you feel welcomed and you want to play this game for them.”

He continued, “There were a few tears, and I think that’s awesome to see, players showing vulnerability, just opening up about how much this tour and this sort of game means. There were some (people) saying this is probably one of the most important games in All Blacks history.”

This year’s Rugby World Cup has become a redemption story for the All Blacks. They parted ways with Ian Foster before the tournament, eventually appointing Crusaders coach Scott Robertson. Doubts surrounded players like Jordie Barrett, who had struggled in the lead-up to the competition, but they have since showcased their best form.

Papali’i shared his thoughts on their journey, “The All Blacks went through a bit of a hard path to get here, with media, friends, family, even criticizing us. We stuck together, and now we find ourselves in the final. Different players react differently, and some of the older players were hit harder. It was good to see a bit of emotion and determination from them.”

On Sunday at 6 AM AEDT, the All Blacks will aim to become four-time Rugby World Cup champions. For the younger members like Papali’i, it’s their first shot at ultimate glory, while veterans like Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock see it as a chance to sign off on a high note.

Papali’i expressed his excitement, “This is the moment at the top of the mountain that every kid dreams of. Making it a reality, after all the hard work to get here, is going to be a big one. I think it will hit me on the captain’s run or the morning of the game when I realize ‘this is it’. We talk about having fire in the belly and ice in the head.”

He added, “There’s a few leaders in the team, it’s going to be their last game in the jersey, so it’s a big game for us. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Reference:

https://wwos.nine.com.au/rugby/world-cup-news-2023-all-blacks-vs-springboks-dalton-papalii-final-preview-team-meeting/3b96b642-6474-4a60-bf67-2f84a589fe70

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