All Blacks draw inspiration from 1987 team
AUCKLAND, 12 Oct. – As they move closer to their ultimate goal at Rugby World Cup 2011, the All Blacks are getting advice and inspiration from the men who lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 1987 and had ‘New Zealand’ inscribed for the first and last time on rugby’s greatest prize.
The New Zealand team rubbed shoulders with their heroes over a casual lunch at the team hotel on Tuesday.
Assistant coach Wayne Smith believes the opportunity for his men to mingle with the 1987 team is just the kind of inspiration the All Blacks of 2011 need.
"The 1987 team has grown to be legendary and held in very high esteem by this group," he said.
"We had a small address by (1987 final captain) David Kirk which I think hit the spot, on how they felt for the quarters, how they felt for the semis.
"I think there were some good words there so we can take a bit out of it."
For Stephen Donald, called into the New Zealand squad this week to replace the injured Colin Slade, the opportunity to meet some of his rugby idols topped off a whirlwind week for the fly half.
"It was good,"he said. "I had a good yak with John Gallagher who obviously when we were young was the original attacking full back so it was awesome to have lunch with him."
But while it was clear that rugby and the World Cup was always going to be the first item on the agenda, All Blacks hooker and farmer Andrew Hore had plenty in common with his predecessors.
"Obviously most of them are farmers and stuff so it wasn’t too hard to strike up a conversation," he said.
"Those boys did it pretty well in '87 and we’re in a pretty good place to try and do the same."