The inaugural Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and Australia was a great success, but was a mere shadow of what the tournament has become. For sure, it's a money-spinner for the IRB first and foremost, but there's not doubting the effeect that RWC has on the host country, especially a rugby-loving country such as New Zealand.
But we remember the 1987 tournament with some fondness. We were working on the Friday afternoon of the opening match between New Zealand and Italy, with an ear on the radio. And well we remember John McBeth's excited commentary as John Kirwan scored his length-of-the-field try in the second half.
And at the end of the tournament, we were on the terraces at Eden Park for the first-ever RWC final; Michael Jones scored the opening try of the match around 10 metres away from us. The atmosphere at Eden Park that afternoon was fantastic, and although we've been to dozens of live sports matches, it wasn't topped until that night at Westpac Stadium when the All White's qualified for football's World Cup.
So here, for those with long memories like ours, or for those who were just youngsters back in 1987 (or possibly even just twinkles in their fathers' eyes!), here's some memories of the All Black campaign in 1987, thanks to the Sports Cafe team:
Good luck to all the teams participating in RWC2011. May the best team win, and may that team be OUR team!