New Zealand
Heroic All Blacks fly-half speaks out over hate mail
ESPN Staff
August 14, 2014
New Zealand's Stephen Donald kicks for World Cup glory, New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup Final, Eden Park, Auckland, October 23, 2011
Donald says he received public abuse following the All Blacks loss to the Wallabies in Hong Kong in 2010 © PA Photos
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Stephen Donald will forever be remembered as the man who kicked New Zealand to victory in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final over France, but he claims an on-field error 12-months earlier sticks with him just as much.

In a match against the Wallabies in Hong Kong, Donald made a string of errors that ultimately cost New Zealand the victory. In the wake of the match, Donald became the target of significant public abuse.

The mistreatment spread to talk-back radio, rugby functions he attended and even matches in New Zealand. Ahead of a new film The Kick, which is an adaptation of his role in New Zealand's World Cup triumph, Donald has spoken about how the abuse started to get "out of control".

"There were times when it wasn't hell of enjoyable to be living in the country," Donald told Fairfax Media. Not only was it tough for Donald, but also his family. "Obviously after Hong Kong things got pretty intense for the family. I can take most of it. But for your family to have to put up with it, it was getting a bit tough."

Donald was an unlikely player in the World Cup final after injuries to Colin Slade and Dan Carter meant "Beaver" was to back-up Aaron Cruden.

A first-half injury to Cruden in the finals saw Donald take to the field in his most memorable match. Donald converted a penalty to extend the All Blacks lead to eight points in what was to be the match-winning kick that ended a 24-year World Cup drought.

Donald added: "To be able to go down the street and not have some wise joker from across the street heckle you was a nice feeling."

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