Weight of a nation felt

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending - and Sky Sport producer Kevin Cameron and the nation got one in October last year.

Cameron, who has been involved in sports broadcasting for many years, has put together the two-hour documentary Weight of a Nation, the story of the All Blacks' victory at last year's Rugby World Cup.

The documentary goes right back to 2007 and the pain of the quarterfinal loss suffered by the All Blacks at the hands of France.

It then charts the plan and strategies by the three coaches - Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen - in the preparation for the tournament in New Zealand.

All the key men are interviewed, including manager Darren Shand, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew and, of course, the players.

''What I think comes through is the emotion of the whole thing. For many of them it was the chance to talk for the first time about something which had taken up a lot of their lives,'' Cameron said.

''They were really carrying the weight of the nation, especially after the failure back in 2007.

''They talk about the pressure they were under and how they dealt with it and the lessons they learnt from the experiencing of losing. There are some pretty compelling comments."

Cameron said the documentary showed how much work and thought went into the campaign and it did not simply start when the first game of the World Cup kicked off.

''There is lots of talk about: ways to improve, the philosophies and strategies the team worked towards, how the game will be played in the future."

Cameron said he had an inkling for the idea before the tournament started and, once the dramatic final was played out, decided to plough ahead with the project.

He talked to the players in June this year and then Sir Graham Henry after that, and said everyone liked telling their story which culminated on a famous night in late October at Eden Park.

''They talk about the challenges they face along the way. The losing of first five-eighths throughout the tournament and the Christchurch earthquake, which affected a lot of the players.

''There is nothing more powerful than hearing people talk about something when you can see the emotion in their eyes. The effect it had on them."

Everyone knows the end result of the documentary - a slim one-point win over France - but would Cameron have made it if the result had gone the other way?

''Probably, I don't know. There was a good story there to be told. But the good thing is it turned out to be a good news story and everyone loves those sorts of stories."

Weight of a Nation screens ON Sunday at 7.30pm on Sky Sport 1.


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