APART FROM BEING the oldest-looking 27-year-old in world sport, Stephen Donald is New Zealand’s newest and most unlikely rugby hero.
Branded a brittle presence at stand-off and persona non grata by pundits and fans alike after New Zealand’s capitulation in the final moments of the 2010 Bledisloe Cup decider, that it should have fallen to the man they call “Beaver” to steer the All Blacks to their first World Cup victory in 24 years is an outcome every bit as perverse as it is stirring and redemptive.
But as usually happens when big, historical outcomes hinge on the chance movement of an unlikely cog, some observers are having difficulty adjusting.
Brace yourself, then, for rugby’s newest conspiracy theory: Stephen Donald actually missed the penalty that decided the World Cup final and, paralysed by fear and their innate pro-New Zealand bias, match officials refused to assert themselves.
I suspect it glanced off the inside of the right upright, but it doesn’t help that the video is less than conclusive.
Did Stephen Donald score the penalty that decided the Rugby World Cup?