Today New Zealanders woke up to the realisation that an elusive World Cup victory is out of reach for four more years.
Headlines in Stuff.Co.NZ (carried below) convey an appalling sense of gloom and despair. Graham Henry and the players and coaching staff face a firestorm of criticism. Henry will be consigned to the dustbin of New Zealand Rugby history notwithstanding the fact that he is an outstanding coach.
In addition the outflow of star players to France and England is a threat to New Zealand dominance in the Southern Hemisphere. However it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise as new talent is thrown in at the deep end. This talent would have four years to establish itself. The All Blacks host the 2011 World Cup. This in itself is probably a double edged sword. Pressure to succeed at home may be overbearing. However if channeled correctly it might propel the All Blacks to victory.
• All Blacks plead for mercy
• Heartbroken Richie admits – French rattled us
• Our darkest hour - ever!
• History repeats for Kelleher: The pain is chronic
• Haka inspires French
• Nightmare continues: ABs fried by French
• It ain't all bad!
• Sunday, Bloody Sunday
• Only the French cheering in NZ
• Our Gods fall to earth
• French guillotine hovers over Henry's future