Anecdotes for 87'
The final took place on a Saturday afternoon, 20 June, with some bleak sunshine in the Kiwi winter.
On the Monday after the first final, John Gallagher was back on the beat as a police officer in Wellington.
Gallagher is now a headmaster at Colfe's preparatory school in London, and was one of only two Wellington players in the final. The other was second-row Murray Pierce.
Ten of the All Blacks played for Auckland, then the powerhouse of the game: John Kirwan, Joe Stanley, Grant Fox, David Kirk (captain), the late John Drake – the prop died of a heart attack in December 2008 – Sean Fitzpatrick, the Whetton brothers, Alan and Gary, and the stupendously gifted Michael Jones.
Warwick Taylor and Craig Green were from Canterbury, and the Wayne "Buck" Shelford played for North Harbour.
France’s second-row Alain Lorieux, was a lifeguard with the fire-rescue services and was one of those who became a star at this tournament, especially in France's epic 30-24 victory over Australia in the semi-final.
The winning try at the Concord Oval in Sydney was scored by Blanco, but France still came a distant second after an exhausting semi-final.
They were crushed by one of the great sides of all time with Fox drop-kicking a goal to start a trend in World Cup finals.
Tries by Jones – after a second drop at goal was deflected and France were left in a defensive muddle – Kirk and Kirwan ensured the match finished 29-9.
When captain Kirk hoisted the cup he gestured to the non-playing captain, Andy Dalton, who had been injured and who had not played a World Cup minute, to share the moment.
The victory stirred Kirk’s emotions, which was evident as he later explained: "There was a touch of melancholy. It must be how people feel at the top of Everest. They are here for only 20 minutes and won't ever be back. The only way is to go back down."