Eddies RWC Final Review Posted over 12 years ago

Historically, World Cup finals have one or two tries in them, and this was no different. I’m sure many supporters were optimistic of a convincing attacking display from New Zealand, but that was never going to be true to history.

France competed like it was the biggest game of their lives, which it probably was. The one area where France had the edge in the build-up was goal-kicking, and if New Zealand had kicked their goals earlier, it would’ve been an easier victory and more comfortable.

But that said, New Zealand are the only country in the world who could win the final playing with their fourth-choice flyhalf, Stephen Donald, for 30 minutes at the end. That is truly remarkable and says all you need to know of why they deserve it.

Interestingly, both reserve flyhalves had crucial roles to play. Francois Trinh-Duc had to come on for Morgan Parra after 15 minutes, and that coincidentally did France a favour. I’ve always thought Trinh-Duc is a very good player and one of the best 10s in the world. He started the tournament poorly, but that was in a poor team – and he wasn’t the only one to blame.

His passing hasn’t been great, but his club in France, Montepellier, kick a lot in the Top 14, so he doesn’t get a chance to work on that aspect of his game as much under pressure. He’s a talent, and was very authoritative when he came on and definitely added to their attack. It’s no surprise that France’s best attacking display of the tournament came when he was on the field for an hour. His ability to run and get the backs moving was very evident.

Some say this was one of the best finals ever. It’s hard to beat 1995 and 2003, the latter being decided after 99 minutes when the teams were very evenly matched – that was a fair contest! Sunday’s final was also gripping, the result went down the wire and it had all the attributes to make it a great final.

It had skill, physicality and some of the head to head battles were intriguing. The contest between the two captains, Richie McCaw and Thierry Dusautoir, was a classic. Both guys were outstanding and difficult to separate. People won’t mind watching that again, and I’m sure in New Zealand they’re doing that. It’s like great literature, you’ll keep reading it again and again. It was surely one of the best finals.

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Eddie Jones has had an extensive coaching career holding roles with teams including the Brumbies, Reds, Saracens, Australia, South Africa and most recently Suntory. Following on from successfully leading the ACT Brumbies to their first Super 12 title in 2001 Jones took charge of the Wallabies for the 2003 World Cup on home soil, and fell at the final hurdle as his side were defeated in extra time of the final by Clive Woodward's England. He continued on as coach until 2005, when his contract was terminated following a wretched run of results. From here Jones had a stint in an advisory capacity with English side Saracens and in 2007 was then appointed Queensland Reds coach. He then turned his back on coaching Australia again when he signed in an advisory role with South Africa working closely with head coach Jake White, securing the 2007 World Cup. After the World Cup Jones took up a full time position back at Saracens as director of rugby but left in 2009 for a role with Japanese side Suntory. Jones remains in Japan and is now head coach of the Japanese national side.

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