The All Blacks have been named sports’ biggest chokers by a British newspaper.

The New Zealand rugby team’s spectacular and unexpected lose to France in the Rugby World Cup semifinals, finished number one in the Times Online’s 40 greatest chokers in sport. But the poor All Blacks feature not once but twice on the list of shame, also appearing at number 20 for their 2007 bottling of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals against France.

The paper said:

“It may be cruel to include the All Blacks twice in this list, but has self-belief and potential ever exploded so often, so predictably?

“As well as 1999 and 2007, we could include the World Cups in 1995 World Cup (damn that food poisoning), 1991 (two moments of brilliance by David Campese upset the tournament’s best side in the semi-finals) or 2003 (averaged 62 points per game until the semi-final then blew it against Australia). How will they self-destruct on home soil in 2011?”

“It’s all Wayne Barnes’s fault, embittered All Blacks fans protest. If the English referee hadn’t sin-binned Luke McAlister for blocking Yannick Jauzion and if he had annulled one of France’s tries for a possible (and fairly marginal) forward pass, New Zealand would have won this World Cup quarter-final.

“In fact, New Zealand paid the price for arrogance in the second half. They led 13-3 at the break and assumed the game was won. Discipline went, cockiness entered and it was only halfway through the second period that New Zealand realised the game might be lost. They led 18-13 with 12 minutes to go, but Jauzion snatched victory for France and broke New Zealand hearts yet again.”

The 40 greatest chokers in sport

40: Andy Murray, 2010
39: Barcelona, 1986
38: Lewis Hamilton, 2007
37: England rugby union team, 1991
36: Bernhard Langer, 1991
35: Alex Bogdanovic, take your pick
34: Frank Bruno, 1996
33: England cricket team, 1987
32: David Bedford, 1971
31: Tony Romo, 2007
30: New York Yankees, 2004
29: Europe Ryder Cup team, 1999
28: Roberto Duran, 1980
27: England cricket team, 2006
26: Tim Henman, 2001
25: Paula Radcliffe, 2000
24: Gareth Southgate, 1996
23: Devon Loch, 1956
22: England football team, 1970
21: Jana Novotna, 1993
20: New Zealand rugby team, 2007
19: England football team, 2010
18: Gavin Hastings, 1991
17: Newcastle United, 1995-96
16: Scott Norwood, 1991
15: Colin Montgomerie, 2006
14: Jimmy White, 1992
13: Chris Waddle, 1990
12: Dustin Johnson, 2010
11: Don Fox, 1968
10: Houston Oilers, 1993
9: Doug Sanders, 1970
8: Guillermo Coria, 2004
7: Somerset cricket team, 2010
6: Jean van der Velde, 1999
5: Scott Hoch, 1989
4: Asafa Powell, 2007
3: Greg Norman, 1996
2: South Africa cricket team, 1999
1: New Zealand rugby team, 1999

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