25 Sep 2011

Auckland mayor pays tribute to All Blacks and Warriors

9:50 pm on 25 September 2011

Auckland mayor Len Brown has paid tribute to Saturday night's big sporting double whammy - a win by the All Blacks and the Warriors.

The Warriors' upset 20-12 victory over the Melbourne Storm means they will play in next Sunday's National Rugby League grand final against the Manly Sea Eagles in Sydney.

On Saturday, the All Blacks beat France 37-17 at Eden Park to secure a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals as Pool A winners with a game to spare.

The Warriors arrived in Auckland on Sunday evening to a rapturous welcome from hundreds of fans.

They have only reached the grand final once before - in 2002 - when they lost to the Sydney Roosters.

Former New Zealand and Warriors coach Frank Endacott says the team gave a near-perfect performance and every player contributed the win.

Coach Ivan Cleary is delighted with his side's composure under relentless pressure. They led 14-12 at half-time.

Cleary, who will take the head job with Penrith next year, also hailed the performance of halfback Shaun Johnson who clinched the victory with a try in the 77th minute.