Rugby World Cup: All Blacks fans unbowed by defeat, as Paris rain fails to dampen Springboks celebrations

Some 80,065 packed into Stade de France to witness the Rugby World Cup final and while All Blacks fans were well outnumbered by green and gold, they arrived with belief.   

It wasn’t the ending New Zealand wanted.

There's nothing like it really - the whistle blows and sport splits fate, sparking the glorious high of sweet victory for some and dealing others the bitter, bitter hurt of defeat.   

By the finest no-nails-left margin, history now favours South Africa. 

All Blacks fans arrive with high hopes, but left unbowed by defeat.
All Blacks fans arrive with high hopes, but left unbowed by defeat. Photo credit: Newshub

Hugs of jubilation are matched by those of consolation, but some can't resist a wee vent.  

The night started with so much promise - a pinch-yourself party with a shot at redemption and gold. Stade de France was a blur of Kiwis - kiwis on top of Kiwis, Kiwis dressed as kiwis and Kiwis flying high.   

Even when the rain came, All Black fans took it as a good omen. 

Invercargill's Tazz O’Connell was branded with silver ferns and belief. 

"We better win or I'll be off to the barber." 

By the final whistle, he had changed his mind.   

"I'm just going to keep it," he said. "I'm so proud of the boys.

"Keep it for Nuggy, keep it for Cane, keep it for Whitelock - they left it all out there."   

The departing players were not sent off with World Cup glory, but they leave with the gratitude of a nation.  

The weather is perhaps more suited to the mood of New Zealand fans, but there is no containing the Springbok pride tonight. This is their moment and they will revel in it until the sun comes up.  

We all know what makes an All Black - a lot of heart - but they have challenged what it is to be a champion.   

The Web Ellis Trophy was shining on South Africa tonight, but the All Blacks jersey will always be golden to Aotearoa. 

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