A busy year of four World Cups has left New Zealand teams empty-handed.
While this failure comes with obvious disappointment, there were also a few examples of Kiwi teams punching well above any of the expectations set for them by the critics.
NZ Herald online sports editor Luke Kirkness tells The Front Page it’s a bit harsh to refer to the performance of the teams as a failure.
“It’s difficult, because in the world of sport, you’re either a winner or a loser, but I don’t think they’re quite failures,” says Kirkness.
“The All Blacks and the Black Caps weren’t expected to go as far as they did. Especially with the cricket, it’s quite hard for teams that aren’t from the subcontinent to thrive there. And for the Black Caps to go so far and make it to the semifinal against India is impressive.”
Arguably, the most impressive moment of the year came during the Fifa Women’s World Cup when the White Ferns ignited local excitement by toppling former winners Norway in the group stages.
“It was the first-ever World Cup win for a New Zealand football team and that’s including the men. That was a massive moment and it just captured the whole nation. I think people are more excited about football and especially women’s sport now than ever before.”
When you look at this event coming off the back of the Black Ferns winning the World Cup last year, it’s a reminder that there still are bright spots in New Zealand sport.
“It’s highlighted that women’s sport is just as exciting as men’s sport,” says Kirkness.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s rugby, football or tennis, you name it. That old-school idea that women’s sport is a bit of a joke and not awesome is done with now.”
Beyond this bright spot, there’s also growing hype about rugby league after the Kiwis’ incredible performance against Australia this year.
“Their 30-point win over the Kangaroos in Hamilton is a pretty awesome moment … It was the biggest victory over Australia in 139 tests, which is amazing. This dates all the way back to 1908.”
So could rugby league eventually become more popular than rugby union? And after a World Cup dominated by refereeing, is rugby union in danger of losing fans?
Listen to the full episode to hear a complete rundown of what we can take from the big events in netball, cricket, rugby and football.
The Front Page is a daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, available to listen to every weekday from 5am. It is presented by Damien Venuto, an Auckland-based journalist with a background in business reporting who joined the Herald in 2017.