Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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Ok, ok, ok, I know. The All Blacks blew it again (please don’t use that ‘choked’ word, we were simply beaten by a better team). Yes they are out of the World Rugby Cup at an early stage again. Yes it will be ‘four more years’ before they have the chance to end a 24-year drought between successes. Enough! But the All Blacks jumper, signed by the 2007 squad, featured on this page, is still worth a fortune. And this is why…
On Friday night at the ‘Turning Tears into Smiles’ fund-raising dinner in Hong Kong on behalf of The Smile Train cleft charity, Auckland International Airport Limited and adidas New Zealand generously offered the signed jumper for auction.
At that stage the New Zealand All Blacks remained hot favourites to win the tournament, though first they had to navigate a distinctly tricky match with World Cup hosts France on Saturday. If they lost, they were out of the tournament – plain and simple.
So here was an item that was potentially a wonderful (and valuable) memento of a great Cup-winning side – or (at least in the rest of the world’s eyes) a symbol of failure should the unthinkable happen.
Firstly, let’s deal with the predictable. As a passionate All Blacks supporter I bid for the jumper. And bid again. Then bid some more. US$7,000 to be precise – “going, going, gone! to The Moodie Report Publisher” said auctioneer David Spillane.
Ah, the framed jersey looked splendid in the Moodie bedroom that night, all those famous signatures – from McCaw to Mealamu, McAllister to Mauger – surely a sign of World Cup glory that lay in waiting?
Er… no actually. What a difference a day makes. In the early hours of Sunday morning Hong Kong time, Les Bleus overcame the All Blacks to deservedly win a thriller by 18-16. While one nation celebrated wildly on the streets, another went into symbolic mourning, the collective mood as black as their team’s outfits.
The resultant exit makes the All Blacks class of 2007 the worst performers in the country’s proud history.
So does that make the jersey worthless? Entirely the reverse is the case. Why? Because it funded no fewer than 28 cleft lip and palate operations for children in developing countries who could otherwise not afford them. At US$250 an operation that strikes me as a pretty good investment. The All Blacks and their supporters aren’t smiling now – but 28 kids soon will be.