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Rugby League World Cup Final 2008
25 October-22 November 2008
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New Zealand celebrate winning the World Cup after beating Australia
New Zealand won the World Cup for the first time

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said he was overwhelmed after his side defeated favourites Australia 34-20 to win the World Cup.

The Kiwis came from 10-0 down to pull off a huge upset in Brisbane and win the trophy for the first time.

Kearney said: "It was a wonderful effort. We came here with a specific plan and put the Australians in a place that they are not used to."

Skipper Nathan Cayless said: "It's going to take a long time to sink in."

The 30-year-old forward added that the victory was the biggest of his career.

"I've had a few chances in big games and this is the biggest for me," said the Parramatta Eels player.

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"I just thank the boys, they've been outstanding. We had a few players that couldn't be here, but the boys that were here took their opportunities."

Kearney said that the Kiwis, who lost 58-0 to the Kangaroos in Wellington last year, must make sure that they build on their victory.

"The game was in a bad state back home this time last year," added Kearney.

"Tough decisions had to be made and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to coach the side. This is a real boost for our game."

New Zealand, Australia, England France will compete in a tournament in a Four Nations Series in 2009.

And the Kiwi coach said: "What I want to be able to do is make sure that we back up again next year.

"That's the important thing for me, making sure we continue to be competitive and grow as a team."

Australia defeated the Kiwis 30-6 in their group game earlier in the tournament and had only conceded three ties going into the final.

But Cayless added: "We knew we could play a lot better than we did in the first game. We really deserved this, we worked hard for it and we're really going to enjoy it.

"The boys worked so hard for this. Most of us have not had a break (since the end of the NRL and Super League seasons)."

Super League official Steve Ganson was the video referee for the final and he awarded the Kiwis a penalty try with New Zealand leading 22-20 in the second-half.

This result has given a lot of nations hope

New Zealand team manager Dean Bell

The decision came after Kangaroos winger Joel Monaghan obstructed Lance Hohaia as the full-back closed in on a grubber kick.

"Lance never had the opportunity (to score), it was a decision that had to be made," added Kearney.

The Kiwis trailed 16-12 at the break but scored first after the restart through Hohaia and extended their advantage after a poor pass from Billy Slater gifted a try for Benji Marshall.

"We didn't need to score in those first 15 minutes, but we couldn't let them score," added Kearney.

"After that we dragged them into an arm wrestle and things went our way."

Team manager Dean Bell felt that the result would benefit the international game.

"It has given a lot of nations hope," said Bell.

"We have proved that if you get in their faces and upset them you reap rewards."

Bell, who spent a large chunk of his playing career in England, praised the support that the large number of travelling supporters from Britain gave the Kiwis.

"What about the England fans - they were fantastic," added Bell. "I really appreciate it."



see also
Australia 20-34 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Stuart silent over penalty score
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup pictures
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Justin Morgan on the World Cup final
22 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Stuart fears for England's future
16 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
PNG 6-46 Australia
09 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Australia 30-6 New Zealand
26 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Sydney Morning HeraldNew Zealand stun Aussies to win Rugy League World Cup - 36 mins ago
Teletext Australia 20 New Zeal 34 - 47 mins ago
Guardian Unlimited New Zealand 34-20 Australia - 1 hr ago
Al Jazeera New Zealand win RL World Cup - 1 hr ago
The Times New Zealand win Rugby League World Cup - 2 hrs ago
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