New Zealand media call for resignations
November 2, 1999
The newspapers in New Zealand have been unanimous in calling for the axing of All Black coach John Hart and captain Taine Randell (pictured) in their Tuesday editions, and have also questioned the multi-million dollar corporatisation of New Zealand's once proud amateur rugby team.
Sunday's defeat grabbed the headlines in every paper with the New Zealand Herald proclaiming "Au revoir Monsieur Hart".
The Christchurch Press said the All Blacks were pathetic "and that's being kind... Yesterday they were bullied and roughed up by the French and meekly submitted. They are soft and that is the ultimate in degradation."
"On all counts Hart must shoulder the blame. He set himself up to reap the rewards had the All Blacks won the World Cup, so should accept the consequences of their dismal demise."
The Press also called for Welsh coach Graham Henry to be lured back to New Zealand.
The New Zealand Herald said the rugby union had to look at the whole way professional rugby had been introduced.
"For some reason, it really hasn't worked at the highest level," the newspaper said.
"The new All Blacks do not have rounded lives. There is not enough of a cerebral challenge to their days--playing golf and watching videos is not giving them a complete life."
However the coverage also praised the French.
"They harnessed their passion to their natural skills, they played with calmness and brought a beastly forward fire to Twickenham which the All Blacks could neither resist nor compose themselves against," said the Herald.
The players, save Jonah Lomu, have also been criticised for not returning to the pitch after the game to thank their fans, many of whom had travelled half way round the world in the expectation of seeing Taine Randell lift the trophy next Saturday.
The Dominion said the balance between the business of rugby and the game that is rugby appeared to have swung too far one way.
"These All Blacks play in a climate of manufactured super-stardom.... Its impossible to turn on a television, or radio, without hearing what they eat for breakfast (or what commercials say they eat), where they're supposed to bank, what they shave with and just about every other function they still have to do for themselves."
The Press in a tongue in cheek editorial claimed that instead of relaxing on the Riviera after the pool games of the World Cup the team should have gone to the Orkneys and wrestled highland cattle."
The newspaper also said it would have a serious blow on the kiwi psyche.
"A young, muscular country without a deep intellectual tradition defines itself by its sporting successes. We might have scant success at the Olympics these days, or even at the Commonwealth Games, but by God were champions at rugby. Not like the effeminate English who always promise so much and deliver so little. Now we know how it feels."