Muliaina: I am not over 2007

Yahoo!Xtra Sport / Neil Reid
Yahoo Sport

Mils Muliaina has opened up on his 2007 Rugby World Cup heartache, saying the chance to ease the mental scars at the next tournament motivated him to re-sign with the NZRU.

Muliaina needed to be consoled by team-mates at the All Blacks' hotel when the side fronted the media at their Cardiff hotel the day after their quarter-final loss to France.

The New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed on Wednesday morning that the 68-test veteran had signed on with the national body through to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

He has twice tasted failure at the four-yearly tournament; firstly in 2003 during his debut season of test rugby and then in 2007.

The world-class fullback, the most capped All Black No 15 of all-time, said the latter had hurt the most.

The All Blacks had widely tipped as landslide tournament favourites before being stunned 20-18 by France in Cardiff.

"Definitely, it definitely does mate," Muliaina told Yahoo!Xtra when asked if the pain was still there.

"I am still a little bit emotional about that. It hurt for a very long time.

"That probably, (and) trying not to think too much about that, (the thought) of not doing it again and if I stayed a bit longer going through that again was in my thought process.

"But again, you have to put that aside and put it to bed and look forward to another two years to hopefully being in the All Blacks."

He joins the likes of Daniel Carter, Richie McCaw, Ali Williams, Tony Woodcock, Rodney So'oialo, Keven Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu, Brad Thorn, Andrew Hore, Neemia Tialata, Luke McAlister, John Afoa, Andy Ellis, Richard Kahui, Brendon Leonard, Jamie Mackintosh, Rudi Wulf and Liam Messam to have signed through to 2011 or beyond.

In the process he turned down a raft of lucrative offers to play overseas, including a multi-million dollar deal from Toulon.

However, the 28-year-old said things could have been vastly different had the All Blacks won the 2007 World Cup.

"It is probably fair to say that if we had done it right in 2007 (I would have gone)," Muliaina said.

"That is the one thing that is burning inside me. I desperately want to be there and succeed in that.

"It really hurt after that last one. I know now that I have got an opportunity to do things right and make sure that come 2011 that I am in the best shape of my life, to give it a decent crack."

Muliaina said the chance to continue the black jersey, and chase World Cup glory, was worth the "financial sacrifice" he made in turning down the overseas offers.

He said his passion for the All Black jersey and New Zealand was more important that chasing rugby wealth off-shore just yet.

"Mate, it means a hell of a lot to me," he said.

"The black jersey is precious and not many people get the opportunity to do it.

"In my case, I love the All Blacks, love this country and the dream to win a World Cup is still burning deep inside me.

"Obviously we haven't done it for the two times that I have been there. But it (the black jersey) just means a lot.

"People tend to think it is something that is just thrown out there, that guys just say or the NZRU say, but it is not until you are in that environment that you realise that it does (mean a lot).

"I am certainly one of those players who does realise and appreciate that it is and (I am) not wiling to give it up just yet."