In the first instalment of a new article series from the SA Rugby magazine team, MARIETTE ADAMS reflects on a spine-tingling individual performance that lit up RWC 2007.
After France’s stunning 20-18 quarter-final victory over tournament favourites New Zealand, most of the talk following the game was in regard to referee Wayne Barnes’ supposed ineptitude and Thierry Dusautoir’s Herculean display.
I was still a high schooler back then and didn’t much care for a Test match that didn’t involve the team I supported. But on Saturday, 6 October 2007, I found myself in a setting where the quarter-finals were pretty much the only topic people talked about.
I didn’t watch the first quarter between the Wallabies and England, but settled down in front the television to battle through the second playoff, which I legitimately thought the All Blacks would win and win commandingly.
But the match turned out to be Dusautoir’s magnum opus. The ‘Dark Destroyer’, as he was affectionately known, produced one of the greatest performances at a World Cup.
New Zealand opened a handy 13-0 lead, but that was through no fault of Dusautoir. He was sensational from the outset. And as France mounted the comeback, he was at the heart of everything they did that night.
Staggeringly, Dusautoir made a record 38 tackles as he led the French procession that suffocated the All Blacks and forced them to ultimately surrender to the two-point defeat.
In what was the 25-year-old Dusautoir’s defining game, he covered every blade of grass inside the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. From his defensive display to his breakdown disruption and the crucial try he scored, Dusautoir was otherworldly that night. Even the great Richie McCaw played second fiddle to the Dark Destroyer’s prowess.
Of course, I was too young to fully appreciate and marvel at what Dusautoir had just pulled off, but I’ll never forget that it was a performance that gave me goosebumps, a performance that made me remember his name.
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