Rugby World Cup 2011

Quake adds more pressure on ABs

Quake adds more pressure on ABs

THE DEVASTATING earthquake in Christchurch has only increased the pressure on New Zealand to come good at this year’s World Cup, says former All Blacks wing Jonah Lomu.

Not since the inaugural tournament in 1987 have the Men in Black lifted the Webb Ellis Cup.

While the pressure this time around would be immense given the tournament will be played on home soil, Lomu reckons it has only increased following the 6.3-magnitude quake in Christchurch which has killed at least 166 people.

“In the back of the players' minds, there's a lot of pressure now because of the earthquake that has happened in Christchurch,” he said.

The All Blacks have enjoyed a lean run at rugby’s showpiece event since winning the first World Cup in 1987.

They lost the 1995 final against South Africa, were eliminated in the semifinals of the ’91, ’99 and ’03 tournaments and were knocked out in the quarter-finals at the last tournament in ’07.

"The pressure for New Zealand will be immense,” said Lomu.

“You have to shut that out, and basically the only thing the All Blacks need to do is put pressure on themselves to perform.

“Let's put it this way: New Zealand will go into mourning (if it doesn't win). It will be a tough pill for New Zealanders to swallow. But also at the same time, this is what sport is all about.

“If you want to be the world champions you've got to beat the best. So bring on France, bring on everyone else.”

The All Blacks open their campaign against Tonga at Eden Park on September 9.

They will also play Japan, France and Canada in pool play.

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