Cowan: After World Cup win I knew it was time to move on
A NATION obsessed wiped its brow when the All Blacks finally ended their 24-year wait.
Relief rather than celebration was the watchword when New Zealand lifted the 2011 World Cup on home soil.
The Kiwis won the inaugural 1987 competition, then promptly set about peaking between tournaments.
If the All Blacks were frustrated to come up short when England did the trick in 2003, their 2007 failure had an entire country in near mourning.
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For many seasoned All Blacks, hoisting the Webb Ellis Trophy was the natural cut-off point.
So it proved for Jimmy Cowan – but he was not about to leave New Zealand without two more milestones, thank you.
Cowan signed his Gloucester deal in January this year, leaving himself a season to get the job done.
He left Southland last month with 100 provincial caps, 108 Super Rugby caps for the Highlanders – and 51 for the All Blacks.
The only other man to boast that triple cap haul is Tana Umaga.
Cowan admits World Cup glory was almost mind-blowing – but he has already shelved those memories in a bid to create plenty more at Kingsholm.
He said: "The one word with the World Cup was relief, the pressure was immense.
"It was great for us, but it was great for the public too, everyone bought into the whole concept.
"The support we had was amazing – it felt like all the four million were in that ground.
"Everywhere we went everyone was right behind us.
"Going down to the hotel lobby on the day, the whole thing was just full of black. It was crazy scenes.
"Those are memories I'll look back on with my kids when I'm old.
"After the World Cup I knew it was time to move on, and when I signed the Gloucester contract I had to sit down and go through some clear goals for that final year.
"The big aim was 100 games for Southland and the Highlanders, and I was lucky enough to achieve both of those, so I was able to leave on good terms.
"Now I'm enjoying a new chapter in life, and everything's just as I imagined it would be.
"I felt like a wee kid going to school again when I arrived, not knowing anyone. But everyone has helped me settle in quickly, and I feel like I've been here a lot longer than a few weeks."