Of the seven World Cup final matches played, only three have been settled by a score bigger than six points.
In 2011, we witnessed the closest contest yet. New Zealand on home soil had seemed able to keep the lid firmly clamped down on the pressure and expectation from a clamouring public.
Twenty-four years of hurt surely had to end on this night in Auckland, but that hope hung over this match like a tonne weight.
France knew it, too. Having gone ahead through an unconverted Tony Woodcock try, New Zealand lost Aaron Cruden to injury, the young No. 10 already having replaced injured golden boy Dan Carter earlier in the tournament.
When Cruden departed, the mighty All Blacks were forced to resort to a man who had already decided he’d seen that last of his time on the big stage and was heading for a pay day in the English Premiership.
Steven Donald was drinking beer and catching fish when he got the call from Graham Henry.
Arriving as a backup option, now he was thrust into the biggest game in his country’s rugby history. Donald landed a penalty on 45 minutes that proved to be the winning act.
Thierry Dusautoir burrowed over for a converted score after 57 minutes to make it 8-7 and that’s the way this tense, nerve shredding final stayed: France unable to break the will of New Zealand’s defensive effort, the buccaneering All Blacks denuded of their attacking thrust through injury and pure, unfettered terror.
This was no classic encounter, but it was fitting that the side the All Blacks had to overcome once again to climb the mountain were their bogeymen of so many years gone by.
They did it with a bloke jettisoned 12 months earlier, who put down his fishing rod, pulled on his boots and became a national hero with one swing of his right peg.