2011 Rugby World Cup Final
Event2011 Rugby World Cup
Date23 October 2011
VenueEden Park, Auckland
Man of the MatchThierry Dusautoir (France)
RefereeCraig Joubert (South Africa)[1]

The 2011 Rugby World Cup Final was a rugby union match between France and New Zealand, to determine the winner of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The match took place on 23 October 2011 at Eden Park, in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand won the match 8–7, the smallest margin by which any Rugby World Cup final has been decided.[a]

New Zealand were favourites, as they went into the final unbeaten and the French had lost two pool games, including one to New Zealand.[2] The French team also experienced a player revolt against their coach Marc Lièvremont, confirmed after the tournament by veteran back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy.[3] The match was a close-fought and tight contest with few line-breaks. Each side scored one try and the outcome was determined by kicks – the All Blacks kicked a penalty goal while the French managed only the conversion of their try. The result was the lowest score of any World Cup final.

The match echoed the 1987 Rugby World Cup Final which was also held at Eden Park between the same teams. As in the 2007 final, both teams had progressed from the same pool.

New Zealand's victory marked the first time that a nation had held both the men's World Cup and Women's Rugby World Cup, as the Black Ferns had won the 2010 tournament.

Path to the final

See also: 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool A and 2011 Rugby World Cup knockout stage

France Round New Zealand
Opponent Result Pool stage Opponent Result
 Japan 47–21 Match 1  Tonga 41–10
 Canada 46–19 Match 2  Japan 83–7
 New Zealand 17–37 Match 3  France 37–17
 Tonga 14–19 Match 4  Canada 79–15
Team Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 36 240 49 +191 4 20
 France 4 2 0 2 13 124 96 +28 3 11
 Tonga 4 2 0 2 7 80 98 −18 1 9
 Canada 4 1 1 2 9 82 168 −86 0 6
 Japan 4 0 1 3 8 69 184 −115 0 2
Final standing
Team Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 36 240 49 +191 4 20
 France 4 2 0 2 13 124 96 +28 3 11
 Tonga 4 2 0 2 7 80 98 −18 1 9
 Canada 4 1 1 2 9 82 168 −86 0 6
 Japan 4 0 1 3 8 69 184 −115 0 2
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 England 19–12 Quarter-finals  Argentina 33–10
 Wales 9–8 Semi-finals  Australia 20–6

Match summary

Choice of colours

France won the toss for choice of colours ahead of the final at Eden Park, but agreed to play in their white change kit to allow New Zealand to play in their traditional all-black kit.[4]

Haka and French response

After the national anthems, the New Zealand players performed the Kapa o Pango haka as the French team stared back and then advanced towards them in a V-shaped formation before fanning out into a straight line.[5] The French had decided to meet the haka in this fashion on Sunday morning, and French captain Thierry Dusautoir stated that "it was a great moment".[6] They were later fined £2,500 by the IRB for crossing the half-way line,[7] a decision that was labeled "pedantic" and the "final insult".[8]

First half

In a match of "grim physical attrition",[9] New Zealand scored first. From a line-out in the French 22, Tony Woodcock received the ball and broke through a hole in the French defence to score his first try of the World Cup. Piri Weepu, who had already missed a penalty kick, failed with his conversion effort. Weepu missed another attempt in the 25th minute.[10] Nine minutes later, New Zealand's Aaron Cruden, the team's third choice fly-half, only playing due to injuries to Dan Carter and Colin Slade, hyper-extended his knee, and was replaced by Stephen Donald.[11] The French were forced to defend stoically for much of the first half, due to New Zealand playing a good running game, but late in the half François Trinh-Duc missed a drop goal attempt and had a run to the line cut off by Weepu.[10]

Second half

French captain Thierry Dusautoir was named man of the match.

The French came back into the game in the second half, although it did not begin well for them: Dimitri Yachvili missed the team's first penalty attempt after two minutes, and Stephen Donald pushed New Zealand further into the lead by successfully kicking a penalty two minutes later. The French reacted straight away: Trinh-Duc made a run towards the line, and after several attempts, Dusautoir scored a try, which Trinh-Duc converted to take the score to 8–7. Trinh-Duc attempted a penalty kick from 48 metres in the 65th minute, but missed the goal, and thereafter there were few chances for either side.[10] The French captain, Dusautoir, who was described as "enjoying a heroic game in defence" by The Daily Telegraph's Brendan Gallagher, was named man of the match.[12]

Another historic milestone occurred when Jean-Marc Doussain came on as a late substitute for France. He became the first player ever to make his Test debut in a Rugby World Cup Final.[13]

Match details

23 October 2011
21:00 NZDT (UTC+13)
France 7–8 New Zealand
Try: Dusautoir 47' c
Con: Trinh-Duc (1/1)
ReportTry: Woodcock 15' m
Pen: Donald (1/1) 46'
Eden Park, Auckland
Attendance: 61,079[14]
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
New Zealand
FB 15 Maxime Médard
RW 14 Vincent Clerc downward-facing red arrow 46'
OC 13 Aurélien Rougerie
IC 12 Maxime Mermoz
LW 11 Alexis Palisson
FH 10 Morgan Parra red cross icon 12' to 18' downward-facing red arrow 23'
SH 9 Dimitri Yachvili downward-facing red arrow 76'
N8 8 Imanol Harinordoquy
BF 7 Julien Bonnaire
OF 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c)
RL 5 Lionel Nallet
LL 4 Pascal Papé downward-facing red arrow 70'
TP 3 Nicolas Mas
HK 2 William Servat downward-facing red arrow 65'
LP 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux downward-facing red arrow 65'
HK 16 Dimitri Szarzewski upward-facing green arrow 65'
PR 17 Fabien Barcella upward-facing green arrow 65'
LK 18 Julien Pierre upward-facing green arrow 70'
FL 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo
SH 20 Jean-Marc Doussain upward-facing green arrow 76'
FH 21 François Trinh-Duc upward-facing green arrow 12' downward-facing red arrow 18' upward-facing green arrow 23'
FB 22 Damien Traille upward-facing green arrow 46'
France Marc Lièvremont
FB 15 Israel Dagg
RW 14 Cory Jane
OC 13 Conrad Smith
IC 12 Ma'a Nonu downward-facing red arrow 76'
LW 11 Richard Kahui
FH 10 Aaron Cruden downward-facing red arrow 34'
SH 9 Piri Weepu downward-facing red arrow 50'
N8 8 Kieran Read
OF 7 Richie McCaw (c)
BF 6 Jerome Kaino
RL 5 Sam Whitelock downward-facing red arrow 49'
LL 4 Brad Thorn
TP 3 Owen Franks
HK 2 Keven Mealamu downward-facing red arrow 49'
LP 1 Tony Woodcock
HK 16 Andrew Hore upward-facing green arrow 49'
PR 17 Ben Franks
LK 18 Ali Williams upward-facing green arrow 49'
FL 19 Adam Thomson
SH 20 Andy Ellis upward-facing green arrow 50'
FH 21 Stephen Donald upward-facing green arrow 34'
CE 22 Sonny Bill Williams upward-facing green arrow 76'
New Zealand Graham Henry

Man of the Match:
Thierry Dusautoir (France)

Touch judges:
Alain Rolland (Ireland)[15]
Nigel Owens (Wales)[15]
Television match official:
Giulio de Santis (Italy)[15]


New Zealand France
Tries 1 1
Conversions 0 1
1(3) 0(2)
Drop goals
0(0) 0(1)
(7/0) (6/0)
(14/2) (15/2)
Turnovers 3 4
(111/120) (87/97)
Line breaks 2 2
Possession 45% 55%
Territory 45% 55%
Time in opp. 22 4'34" 6'35"
(3/2/1) (7/3/0)
Possession kicked
(in play/touch/errors)
1 2
Penalties conceded 7 10
Replacements 5 7
Yellow cards 0 0
Red cards 0 0
Reference: IRB[16]

Refereeing controversy

Craig Joubert's refereeing was heavily criticised by the French team[17][18][19][20] and many international observers.[21][22] Greg Growden writing for The Sydney Morning Herald accused Joubert of "ignoring offside play and breakdown indiscretions that should have cost the home team penalties".[23] Hugh Farrelly interviewed in The Irish Independent stated laconically that "France were significantly better over 80 minutes" and "Craig Joubert did not referee evenly" and "some of the decisions were disgraceful for a game of this magnitude".[24] On the other hand, former French referee Joël Jutge reviewed 24 instances of the game and concluded 17 times Joubert made the correct decisions, four incorrect decisions favoured the All Blacks and three incorrect decisions favoured the French.[25]

Richie McCaw and New Zealand coach Graham Henry pointed out that New Zealand had deliberately tried to play the game in a way that did not result in them conceding penalties, especially in the second half.[26][27] After the game McCaw expressed surprise that Aurélien Rougerie was not cited by the IRB for gouging at his eyes and noted that the final became "filthy" as it went on but made no mention of Joubert or his performance.[28]


In July 2013, it was announced that a made-for-TV movie, to be called "The Kick", would be made.[29] The telemovie focused on Stephen Donald, and his successful penalty kick early in the second half that ultimately provided the winning points. Donald had been unwanted for the All Blacks squad prior to the final, due to some previous poor international performances. However, injuries to Carter, Slade (both earlier in the tournament), Cruden and Weepu led to the opportunity for a "charming story of redemption".[30] David de Lautour was cast as Donald.[31] The movie debuted on New Zealand television on 10 August 2014.[32]

See also


  1. ^ The 2023 final was also decided by a single point, 11–12.


  1. ^ "Craig Joubert to referee New Zealand v France final ahead of Alain Rolland". The Daily Telegraph. London. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  2. ^ "New Zealand an overwhelming favorite to win Rugby World Cup". The Washington Post. October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Harinordoquy admits to French uprising". ESPN Scrum. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  4. ^ "N. Zealand granted French leave for All Black final". Times of Malta. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  5. ^ Jenkins, Graham (23 October 2011). "All Blacks edge out France for World Cup glory". ESPNscrum. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  6. ^ Robinson, Georgina (26 October 2011). "Too much hoopla over haka: All Black great". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (25 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup 2011: France fined for advancing on New Zealand's haka before final kick-off". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  8. ^ "World media call France haka fine 'final insult'". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  9. ^ McMorran, Steve (23 October 2011). "New Zealand win Rugby World Cup". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 24 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "All Blacks survive scare to clinch Cup". International Rugby Board. 23 October 2011. Archived from the original on 24 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  11. ^ "2011 Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand 8-7 France". BBC Sport. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  12. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (23 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup 2011: New Zealand 8 France 7: match report". telegraph.co.uk. London. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  13. ^ "First for Juniors at RWC 2011" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 1 November 2011. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  14. ^ Kilpatrick, Mike (October 2011). "World Cup Glory for the All Blacks". Yahoo. Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ a b c "23 October 2011 – 21:00, Eden Park, Auckland". International Rugby Board. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  16. ^ "2011 Rugby World Cup Final: Match Stats". International Rugby Board. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  17. ^ "L'incompréhension (in French)". L'Equipe. 23 October 2011. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Les Bleus frustrés par l'arbitrage (in French)". Le Figaro. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Furious French hit out at Craig Joubert". ESPN Scrum. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  20. ^ "French Media: Les Bleus feel robbed". TVNZ. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  21. ^ "All Blacks emerge from the trenches smiling". London Evening Standard. 24 October 2011. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Sad kiss for Bill from French hero". Johannesburg Times. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  23. ^ Growden, Greg (24 October 2011). "Long dark clouds lifts as All Blacks close the door on 24 years of pain". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  24. ^ "A final word from Down Under". Irish Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Vis ma vie de Craig Joubert » - Le débrief de Joël Jutge". Le Rugbynistère.
  26. ^ McCaw, Richie and McGee, Greg, The Open Side published Hachette New Zealand Ltd
  27. ^ Howitt, Bob, Graham Henry: The Final World published Harper Collins Limited
  28. ^ "Richie McCaw breaks silence on eye gouge". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  29. ^ "Movie planned on Donald's winning kick". Radio New Zealand. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Donald's heroic kick to be made into movie". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Actor to play Stephen Donald revealed". stuff.co.nz. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  32. ^ "The Kick – So bad it's good, or just bad?". stuff.co.nz. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.