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What All Blacks hopeful Cortez Ratima thought after World Cup heartbreak

By Finn Morton
Chiefs Cortez Ratima in action during a Chiefs Super Rugby training session at Chiefs HQ on March 08, 2023 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

With the blow of a whistle, referee Wayne Barns brought an end to last year’s World Cup final in France. For All Blacks fans at the Parisian venue and back in New Zealand, time stood still.


The Springboks erupted into celebration on the sacred turf of Stade de France while the All Blacks were left to wonder what could’ve been after the agonising 12-11 defeat.

Among those wearing green in the stands – who, just like their rugby heroes, were also lost in a sense of jubilation – supporters in black were left gutted. You could see it on their faces.

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But well beyond the walls of the famed sports venue, all the way back in a small rugby-mad nation at the bottom of the world, All Blacks fans began to process the loss.

With the match getting underway on the morning of October 29, fans were still coming to terms with the undesired defeat by the time lunch was served on a now-historic Sunday in October.

Just like any other All Blacks fan, Test hopeful Cortez Ratima made sure to watch the World Cup final with loved ones – and just like any other All Blacks fan, Ratima was left “gutted.”

Ratima, who was joined by his own young family and his partner’s parents, watched on as Chiefs teammates including Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick were beaten by the Boks.


“I might have been at home just up early, because it was an early game,” Ratima told RugbyPass. “Just at home watching.

“I was pretty gutted to be honest. We had a few of our Chiefs boys, seniors, probably their last game for the All Blacks and their last shot at a World Cup.


“Just felt gutted really for the boys. I was definitely supporting them hoping they’d go all the way because man they’re looking good, especially after that Ireland game.

“Just gutted for them really.”

Starting in the No. 9 jumper that night was All Blacks great Aaron Smith. But that was also Smith’s final Test in black which presents other young halfbacks with an opportunity.


Ratima is widely considered an All Black-in-waiting. With Brad Weber leaving the Chiefs after last season, the 22-year-old is tipped to start for the Chiefs in 2024.

While Cam Roigard and Finlay Christie are still in the mix for national honours after last year’s World Cup, and Folau Fakatava is another potential candidate, Ratima is a chance.

The young scrum-half is firmly focused on taking hold of starting duties at the Chiefs this year, but after that, Ratima will continue to chase the “ultimate goal” with the All Blacks.

“That’s always gonna be the ultimate goal for myself. That’s the pinnacle of New Zealand rugby and where every nine wants to be,” Ratima added.

“I don’t know what you’re doing if you don’t want to be an All Black.

“That’s 100 per cent always the goal heading into this year, also obviously the goals of winning a Super Rugby championship title, being the number nine come round one, they’re all goals.

“Just pretty much gonna do what I can, park them up (and) have them in eyesight but try and live in the now and do what I can and take it one step at a time.”


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Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

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