Graham Henry’s 2007 squad remains the only All Blacks team to fail to make the Rugby World Cup semifinals, yet its ranks featured some of New Zealand’s all-time rugby greats and a couple of current Super Rugby head coaches.
The talk 12 years ago was that the All Blacks had two teams capable of winning the World Cup, such was the depth at Henry’s disposal.
It’s history now that their campaign foundered against France in that fateful cup quarterfinal in Cardiff.
Controversial refereeing rulings aside, there remains a palpable feeling that the All Blacks were looking one game ahead. A fired-up French XV capitalised, claiming a famous 20-18 victory.
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It could have been a career-crushing moment – captain Richie McCaw looked a broken man at the post-match press conference.
Yet McCaw, his comrades and his coaches survived their worst moment and prospered in the future.
Ten 2007 All Blacks picked up winner’s medals at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and five Class of ’07 survivors – McCaw, Dan Carter, Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Conrad Smith – collected another in 2015.
Where are the 2007 World Cup All Blacks now?
GREG SOMERVILLE (prop) Age: 41. Tests: 66.
Hawke’s Bay-raised ‘Yoda’ Somerville played his last test in 2008 and later stints with Gloucester and the Melbourne Rebels. Now based in Blenheim, Somerville had a season as the Tasman Mako’s scrum coach, but now owns Think Water Marlborough, a business involved in the irrigation industry.
CARL HAYMAN (prop). Age: 39. Tests: 46.
The 1000th All Black ended his career at French glamour club Toulon in 2015. Had a difficult year in 2019 after his dismissal as Pau’s forwards coach and a suspended prison sentence for domestic assault. Returned to play lower grade club rugby in Taranaki. Hayman is currently taking part in the Samsara Expedition in the Himalayas.
NEEMIA TIALATA (prop) Age: 37. Tests: 43.
The big bookend from Wainuiomata served the Hurricanes and the Highlanders faithfully until he moved to France in 2011. Served Bayonne and Toulouse before joining third-tier club Narbonne. Still based in France.
TONY WOODCOCK (prop) Age: 38. Tests: 118.
Scored the only All Blacks try in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final win over France and earned a second winner’s medal in 2015 despite injury ruling him out of the big games. Now farms at Kaukapakapa, north-west of Auckland.
ANDREW HORE (hooker) Age: 41. Tests: 83.
Last capped in 2013 – 11 years after his debut – he came out of retirement for one more game with Otago in 2016. Runs his own sheep farm near Ranfurly and has played for and coached the Maniototo Maggots.
KEVEN MEALAMU (hooker) Age: 40. Tests: 132.
Busy since retirement following the All Blacks’ 2015 Rugby World Cup win, the committed Christian runs a gym in Takanini, is a NZ Rugby ambassador and is standing for the Papakura District Council at the local body elections.
ANTON OLIVER (hooker). Age: 44. Tests: 59.
An All Black for a decade, the former patron of Otago’s Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust left for Toulon after the ’07 World Cup but soon retired to study environmental policy at Oxford University game and play in the famous Varsity game. Has since completed a MBA at Cambridge and is now head of equities for an investment company in London.
CHRIS JACK (lock). Age: 41. Tests: 67.
Left after the ’07 World Cup for a couple of seasons with glamour London club Saracens. Also played in South Africa and Japan and had a couple more Crusaders campaigns. Now settled with his family in Nelson, where he works as a builder.
KEITH ROBINSON (lock). Age: 42. Tests: 12.
Forced to retire after the ’07 tournament with a chronic knee injury. Still living on a rural property near his hometown, Te Aroha.
ALI WILLIAMS (lock). Age: 38. Tests: 77.
A World Cup winner in 2011, “Comical Ali” played in France for Toulon and Racing 92, who sacked him in 2017 after his arrest for allegedly attempting to buy cocaine. Now back in Auckland, where he has business interests and is an expert rugby commentator for Sky TV.
REUBEN THORNE (loose forward/lock). Age: 44. Tests: 50.
Selected by four All Blacks coaches and the most decorated player in Super Rugby with seven titles for the Crusaders. Wound down his career with two seasons in Japan. Now bringing up a family in North Canterbury, he coaches the Christ’s College First XV and is Canterbury’s Mitre 10 cup forwards coach.
RICHIE MCCAW (loose forward). Age: 38. Tests: 148.
The all-time great flanker – the only man to captain two Rugby World Cup champion teams – retired in 2015. Co-owns a helicopter company in Christchurch and involved in adventure racing. He and his wife, ex-Black Sticks hockey player Gemma Flynn, have an infant daughter.
CHRIS MASOE (loose forward) Age: 40. Tests: 20.
The versatile backrower and former NZ Sevens rep moved to France in 2008 where he played for the next decade, winning a European title with Toulon before retiring at Racing 92 in 2017 at 38. Still in Paris as Racing’s defence coach.
JERRY COLLINS (loose forward). Tests: 48.
Just 34 when tragically killed in a car crash with his partner in France in 2015. Played in Wales, Japan and France after leaving the All Blacks. Much-mourned by his All Blacks mates, who flocked to his funeral in Porirua and performed a moving roadside haka at the accident site in France.
SIONE LAUAKI (loose forward). Tests: 17
The Tonga-born flanker died prematurely aged 35 in 2017 after battling kidney and heart problems. The ex-Pacific Islanders international earned his last cap in 2008 and later played for Bayonne in France until his health declined.
RODNEY SO’OIALO (loose forward). Tests: 62.
Dreadlocked Hurricanes backrower last wore the black jersey in Rome in 2009. Had two seasons as Honda Heat player-coach in Japan. Later coached the Petone and Wellington clubs and was Wellington’s assistant-coach for a ear. Now a police custody officer.
ANDY ELLIS (halfback). Age: 35. Tests: 28.
One of the few 2007 All Blacks still playing, Ellis won a Japan Top League title with the Kobelco Steelers last season. The award-winning landscape designer has fronted the Kiwi Backyard TV programme. Commutes to Japan from his base in hometown Christchurch.
BYRON KELLEHER (halfback). Age: 42. Tests: 57.
The Highlanders and Chiefs halfback played out his career in France with Toulouse and Stade Francais, retiring in 2012. Briefly owned a bar, known as The Haka Corner, in Toulouse. Now splits his time between New Zealand and Bali, where he and his partner operate a travel business, Fly Me To Paradise.
BRENDON LEONARD (halfback). Age: 34. Tests: 13.
The Morrinsville product left New Zealand in 2013 – five years after his final cap – to some to join Italian club Zebre before shifting to Ospreys in Wales. Returned home in 2018, playing four games for Taranaki.
DAN CARTER (first five-eighths). Age: 37. Tests: 112.
Rehabbing from neck surgery but still planning to suit up for a second season with Japanese clubs Kobelco Steelers. Has numerous business interests in NZ and maintains a strong social media presence. Carter and wife Honor, a former hockey international wife, and their three sons are based in Auckland.
NICK EVANS (first five-eighths). Age: 39. Tests: 16.
Dan Carter’s deputy became one of the best players in Britain in a 10-year stint with London club Harlequins. English Rugby Players player of the year in 2012. Retired in 2017, aged 36 and is now Quins’ attack coach and a rugby analyst for The Guardian news site.
AARON MAUGER (midfielder). Age: 38. Tests: 46.
The nephew of 1990s All Blacks Stephen and Graeme Bachop left for English club Leicester in 2007, but a back injury ended his career in 2010. Launched a coaching career with Canterbury and became Todd Blackadder’s Crusaders assistant till he became Leicester’s head coach in 2015. Sacked by Leicester in 2017, Mauger became the Highlanders’ head coach on a three-year deal due to expire in 2020.
LUKE MCALISTER (midfielder). Age: 36. Tests: 31.
A naturally gifted back, often unfairly maligned for the Cardiff defeat. Quit NZ at 24 to join English club Sale. Returned later to win his last cap in 2009 before joining Toulouse, winning the French title in his first season. Returned to live in Toulouse after retiring in 2018. His Instagram home page says he is “lost somewhere in Japan”, supporting the All Blacks.
CONRAD SMITH (midfielder). Age: 37. Tests: 94.
The Hawera-born lawyer was a fringe player in ’07 but went on to win two World Cup medals, retiring from test rugby after the 2015 final. Smith played several seasons in France with Pau, where he is now director of rugby and a consultant to the International Rugby Players Association.
ISAIA TOEAVA (wing). Age: 33. Tests: 37.
An All Black at 19, the Aucklander was once hailed as “The Project” by the national coaching staff due to his talent and versatility. Never really nailed a regular place, but picked up a World Cup winner’s medal in 2011. Left in 2012 for four years in Japan before moving to French club Clermont in 2016. Still playing there, often at fullback.
JOE ROKOCOKO (wing). Age: 36. Tests: 68
A personable Fijian flyer, who burst on the test scene as a 20-year-old in 2003 to earn a World Cup place. Rokococko scored 46 tries in 68 tests up till 2010. Left for French club Bayonne in 2012 and later starred for Racing 92, winning a French title. Retired at the end of last season. Still based in France.
SITIVENI SIVIVATU (wing). Age: 37. Tests: 45.
A test regular from 2005 to 2010, he played two early season tests in 2011 but missed selection in the World Cup team and later turned out for Clermont and Castres in France. After retiring, he joined Castres staff as a technical advisor and foreign player liaison.
LEON MACDONALD (fullback). Age: 41. Tests: 56.
The Marlborough product finished his playing career with two seasons in Japan. Returned to Blenheim in 2010 to become Tasman’s assistant-coach, later stepping up to head coach. Had a season as Scott Robertson’s Crusaders assistant in the 2017 title winning campaign. Now about to enter his second year as Blues head coach.
MILS MULIAINA (fullback). Age: 39. Tests: 100.
Samoan-born Muliaina moved to Invercargill at three – hence his Southland burr. Captained the All Blacks in three tests and received his 100th cap in a special ceremony at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Later played in Japan, Ireland, Italy and the United States. Retired in 2016 to study to become a chiropractor. Also a Sky Sport rugby panellist and an athlete mentor for Roar Sports Management.
SIR GRAHAM HENRY (Age: 73)
Coached the All Blacks to the 2011 Rugby World Cup title before handing over the reins to Steve Hansen. Knighted in 2012 and now living happily on Waiheke Island and does coaching consultancy and media punditry work.
STEVE HANSEN (Age: 60)
Nearing the end of his 16th season on the All Blacks coaching staff. Head coach since 2012, and in with a serious shot of becoming the first coach in history to coach back-to-back world champions.
WAYNE SMITH (Age: 62)
A key member of the coaching brains trust for the 2011 and 2015 gold medal campaigns, the former All Blacks first five-eighth remains highly regarded for his technical knowledge. Stepped down in 2017 and is now director of rugby for Japanese club rugby champions Kobelco Steelers.
Source link : https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/rugby-world-cup/rwc-2019-japan/116442995/rugby-world-cup-where-are-the-2007-all-blacks
Publish date : 2019-10-09 16:00:00