Has there been another night like it in New Zealand sports history?

Close to four million Kiwis on the edge of their seats, hearts thumping as the French launched repeated attacks on the All Black line.

Some covered their eyes from their expensive Eden Park seats as Richie McCaw's men held on to break our Rugby World Cup jinx.

And now we learn the reason the final was so unbearably close, 8-7 in fact, was because of ... the Herald on Sunday.


That's what the French captain, Thierry Dusautoir, would have us believe. In an interview this week, world player of the year Dusautoir revealed that the New Zealand media coverage of the French during the World Cup had been one of their main motivations.

"In the week before the final there were many disparaging newspaper articles written about us," Dusautoir said. "I remember that after the semifinal there was a picture in the Herald where it was written '80 minutes before laughing'. That annoyed us."

It's a pity, however, the French haven't accepted what the rest of the world knows: English is the predominant language and it pays to properly understand it.

The headline actually said: 80 minutes and we're laughing. It ran the day of the semi-final between the All Blacks and Australia. It was over an image of Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg laughing in the build-up. It reflected the fact we were one game away from disposing of our closest rivals and making the holy grail, the World Cup final.

Still, if we're to blame for the most fantastic piece of sporting theatre in most of our memories, so be it.