World Cup wins, Olympic glory and cricketing heartbreak: New Zealand’s sporting moments of the decade | 1 NEWS


There has been no shortage of New Zealand sporting history made this decade.

From left to right: Richie McCaw, Valerie Adams, Laura Langman and Phoenix Karaka, Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham, Lisa Carrington.
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From the All Whites going undefeated at a FIFA World Cup, back-to-back Rugby World Cup triumphs, the Silver Ferns becoming world champions again and no less than 10 Olympic golds in a haul of 31 medals. There is an argument to be made that it’s been New Zealand’s greatest sporting decade.

Relive the great moments – in no particular order – here.

All Whites at the 2010 World Cup

Rory Fallon and the New Zealand All Whites celebrate reaching the 2010 Fifa World Cup
Source: Photosport

Going right back to the start of the decade, where the All Whites made a return to the Football World Cup for the first time since 1982.

Under Ricki Herbert, the All Whites qualified after a dramatic play-off victory over Bahrain. Rory Fallon’s strike and a fine display from goalkeeper Mark Paston sending the Kiwis to South Africa.

Even though many expected them to be the tournament’s easy-beats, the All Whites showed a remarkable fighting spirit under inspirational captain Ryan Nelsen.

A last-second equaliser from defender Winston Reid saw the All Whites take a 1-1 draw with Slovakia in their opener.

In their second match against then-defending champions Italy, the All Whites made the world sit up, taking the lead through Shane Smeltz in the first half. A debatable penalty was converted by Vincenzo Iaquinta, before another admirable showing from Paston meant the All Whites came away with another point.

A goaless draw with Paraguay meant that the All Whites finished the tournament unbeaten and while it wasn’t enough for them to progress out of the group, they did make history.

With eventual winners Spain losing their opening pool match to Switzerland, the All Whites will go down as the only side to have not been defeated in South Africa.

All Blacks end 24 years of heartbreak

Richie McCaw was exhausted at the final whistle.
Source: Photosport

After winning the first Rugby World Cup in 1987, Kiwis would have to wait another 24 years to see the All Blacks do the same again – and it was far from an easy watch.

Coming into the tournament on home soil as hot favourites, the All Blacks thrashed France as they breezed through pool play, though not before losing superstar Dan Carter to a training ground injury.

A semi-final victory over Australia had fans breathing a sigh of relief, with only the enigmatic French standing between the hobbling Richie McCaw and the Webb Ellis Cup.

Living up to their reputation, Les Bleus gave the All Blacks a fight to remember, refusing to go by anyone else’s script and threatening to spoil a Webb Ellis Cup homecoming 24 years in the making.

The All Blacks would somehow get over the line, final score 8-7, with fourth-choice first-five Stephen Donald kicking the most significant three points in New Zealand’s history.

A special mention also needs to go to McCaw, who played through the final stages of the tournament with a broken foot.

Valerie Adams 

Adams’ silver was later upgraded to gold.
Source: Photosport

Entering the decade as the reigning Olympic and World Champion, Dame Valerie Adams cemented her status as one of the titans of track and field in the last 10 years.

Dame Val’s honours from this decade alone prove her legendary status. Another gold at the 2012 Olympics in London was followed by a silver in Rio de Janeiro four years later, as well as Commonwealth Games golds (Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014).

World Championships golds in 2011 in Daegu and Moscow in 2013, plus Indoor World Championships wins in 2012 and 2014, not to mention a World Cup win in Croatia 2010.

Adams’ incredible career was acknowledged in the 2017 New Year Honours list, named Dame Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Perhaps topping it all though came with the birth of daughter Kimoana in October 2017 before she returned to win a Commonwealth Games silver medal on the Gold Coast in 2018.

New Zealand’s first Test triple century

Brendan McCullum celebrates his triple century.
Source: Photosport

Three hundred. Coming into the decade, a triple-century loomed as the Everest for New Zealand’s Test batsman and even the most optimistic of Kiwi cricket fans would have struggled to believe it would be conquered.

But in 2014, Brendon McCullum finally reached the milestone that Martin Crowe had fallen one agonising run short of in 1991.

With the Black Caps in a backs-to-the-wall scenario as they looked for a rare Test series win over India, McCullum’s side found themselves 246 runs behind the game heading into their second innings at the Basin Reserve.

The position made even more precarious when India ran through the NZ top order to leave the Black Caps in tatters at 94/5.

Step up McCullum. Alongside BJ Watling (124) and debutant Jimmy Neesham (137 not out), McCullum rescued the New Zealand innings, bringing up our first triple ton and finally knocking the bastard off that Crowe had fallen one short of.

America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand Helmsman Peter Burling and skipper Glenn Ashby hold aloft the America’s Cup.
Source: Photosport

There was no greater reminder of the value of perseverance in the decade than Team New Zealand, who brought the Auld Mug back to Kiwi shores.

Leading 8-1 against Oracle Team USA in 2013, Team New Zealand were on the wrong end of one of sport’s great comebacks, leaving them distraught as antagonist Jimmy Spithill lifted the America’s Cup.

Fast forward four years, and the shoe was well and truly on the other foot. Led by honorary Kiwi [who is technically an Australian] Glenn Ashby, and with the rising duo of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, plus a revolutionary crew of ‘cyclors’, Team New Zealand got their sweet revenge in Bermuda 2017.

Spithill and Oracle had no answer to the Kiwi syndicate as Team New Zealand reclaimed the Auld Mug with a 7-1 thrashing.

Setting the stage for a cup defence of our own in 2021.

Black Caps make the final

The Black Caps went into the 2015 World Cup on the crest of a wave of public goodwill for arguably the

first time since 1992, looking to this time do what Martin Crowe’s ‘Young Guns’ couldn’t.

Led by Brendon McCullum, the Black Caps went through pool play unbeaten, including a low-scoring thriller over Australia at Eden Park.

Martin Guptill made history with New Zealand’s first ODI double-ton in the quarter-final as he slayed the West Indies to all parts of Westpac Stadium to finish 237 not out.

That set up a semi-final with South Africa, another nation yet to play in the Cricket World Cup final. 

The match than more than lived up to its billing, after batting first, Proteas stars Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and David Miller belted the NZ attack to all parts of Eden Park. Then came the rain – bringing a complete hault to South Africa’s momentum.

Chasing 298 for a spot in the final, McCullum got the ball rolling with 59 from 26, before quick wickets pegged back the run chase. The hero of the day would be South Africa-born Grant Elliott, who famously sent Dale Steyn into the stands to hit the winning runs and put the Black Caps in their first World Cup final.

It wasn’t to be though, with Australia outplaying New Zealand in every department to lift the trophy for a fifth time.

The writing on the wall as soon as Mitchell Starc knocked over McCullum in the opening over.

Football Ferns under-17s blaze their way

The U17 Football Ferns celebrate after defeating Japan in penalty kicks during the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 quarter final.
Source: Getty

While there are some that would have doubted if a Kiwi side could compete on football’s biggest stages, the New Zealand Under-17 women showed that they were there for anything but to make up the numbers.

Group stage wins over Finland and Uruguay saw them through to a history-making quarter-final against Japan. Scores locked at 1-1 after fulltime, a penalty shootout would seal both sides’ fates, with Kiwi goalkeeper Anna Leat stepping up both in net, before taking the winning spot kick herself.

A 2-0 semi-final loss to eventual winners Spain ended any hope of a tournament win, but the Kiwis would rally to take third place with a 2-1 bronze medal playoff against Canada.

What’s more, with plenty of scouts from European clubs and American colleges in attendance, you can be sure that it won’t be the last time the under-17 girls get to show their stuff on the world stage.

Lisa Carrington

New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington wins gold in the womens k1 200m at Lagoa Stadium, Rio.
Source: Photosport

Starting the decade by becoming the first Kiwi woman to win a canoeing World Championship title, Lisa Carrington went from strength to strength in the 10 years that followed.

With most of her early career coming as part of the K2 class, it was Carrington’s work in the K1 that saw her become a household name.

Carrington’s Olympic gold in the K1 200m at London 2012 was defended in Rio four years on, also adding bronze in the K1 500m.

But Carrington wouldn’t finish there, taking no fewer than five separate World Championship titles during the 2010s.

The heartbreak of Lord’s

Martin Guptill is consoled by teammates and opponents.
Source: Photosport

Bouncing back from the pain of 2015, the Black Caps travelled to England for this year’s Cricket World Cup, at least hoping to go one better.

A new tournament format saw the Black Caps sneak into the semi-finals off the back of a Nottingham washout against India, the same team that they would meet in the final four in Manchester.

Rain again would favour the Black Caps, this time splitting an ODI into two days, with the Kiwis posting 239/8. In response, Trent Boult and Matt Henry ripped the top off India’s batting order, the pre-tournament favourites reduced to 5/3, eventually rolled for 221 and sending Kane Williamson’s men to Lord’s.

Up against their hosts at the home of cricket, and with either side looking to lift the trophy for the first time, Williamson won the toss and batted first, posting 241/8.

With the help of an incorrect decision, Kiwi-born all-rounder Ben Stokes accidentally deflecting a throw to the boundary for six runs that should have only been five, England and the Black Caps finished tied, sending the Cricket World Cup final into a Super Over for the first time in history.

Even then, the two sides couldn’t be separated, with the Super Over also finishing even. However, fate would prove to be a cruel mistress, the ICC rules stating England had won the World Cup by virtue of a boundary count back, hitting 26 to New Zealand’s 17.

It hurt cricket fans the world over, but New Zealand could at least hold our heads high in the fact that even though England won the World Cup, the Black Caps certainly didn’t lose it.

Silver Ferns back on top

Humiliated on the Gold Coast at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, even the most loyal of Silver Ferns fans couldn’t have seen this coming.

Sending out an SOS that coach Noeline Taurua answered, the Silver Ferns began to restore pride in the black dress, bringing legends Laura Langman and Casey Kopua back into the fold.

A one-goal loss to heavy tournament favourites Australia in the semi-final seeding stage showed that Taurua’s Ferns had something about them, going on to beat hosts England to set up a rematch between the trans-Tasman foes in the final.

Building a healthy lead over the first three quarters, the Ferns held off a late fightback from Australia, defeating the Diamonds to win the Netball World Cup for the first time since 2003, vindicating Taurua’s leadership.

In the span of 15 months, the Ferns had been transformed from a laughing stock to world champions, and with Noeline Taurua not going anywhere, we could be seeing a truly special era of netball in New Zealand.

By Daniel Fraser and Alex Powell


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