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Mark Orlovac

Can France beat New Zealand? (85)

Paris - Yes I know it wasn't supposed to be like this, World Cup hosts France playing their quarter-final against New Zealand... in Cardiff.

The fact that Wales is the host for this epic contest has not gone down well here and the French mood is not helped by the fact that no-one expects them to win – with some French journalists giving them only a 10% chance of victory.

There is no doubt that the All Blacks are huge favourites but we all love an underdog don’t we? So let’s see if we can't give the hosts some hope.

REMEMBER 1999

You know, that semi-final at Twickenham?.

Probably the greatest game in the history of the World Cup - can the French do it again?

Just like for this game, the 1999 All Blacks were odds-on to defeat Les Bleus and two tries from a certain Jonah Lomu put them 24-10 ahead.

But, as we all know, things did not go to plan. Fly-half Christophe Lamaison helped spark an epic comeback and France ended up winning 43-31.

Now it would be some story if we were to get a repeat of that classic but lock Fabien Pelous, one of the two players in the present-day starting XV who featured that October day, says his side can be inspired by what they did eight years ago.

“It is an inspiration because we can say that it's possible to beat them. The teams are different, the stadium is different - all is different, but it's the same - it's possible."

HOME SWEET HOME?

Now bear with me on this one. Obviously, for the French and Kiwi hoards that have to travel to Cardiff, this is a real pain.

But it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the French players, who have had plenty of time to accept that this was on the cards following the defeat to Argentina. And could playing away from home actually be a bonus for Bernard Laporte’s men?

As you would expect, coverage here on television, radio and television is massive but centre David Marty says being away from that is a good thing.

“Maybe it's better to play in Cardiff, without the pressure from our supporters and the press,” he said. “It's better for us because there's no press.”

IT’S MAD, BUT IT JUST MIGHT WORK

France coach Bernard Laporte certainly made everyone sit up when the team for this game was announced.

What’s that you say Bernard? You are leaving out fly-half Frederick Michalak? Selecting centre Damien Traille at full-back - a position he has never filled for France before? Are you sure?

Hang on though, Laporte has a plan.

Laporte will want Traille and Michalak's replacement Lionel Beauxis to use their massive kicks to clear the ball far away from the French try-line and deep into the New Zealand territory.

France will target the line-out and as New Zealand have made the most errors of any team in the tournament according to the official stats, they will also hope to capitalise on any indiscretion.

BEAUXIS, WHO HE?

The 21-year-old Stade Francais fly-half from Tarbes has leaped ahead of both Michalak and the fit again David Skrela for this crunch game.

Beauxis was the International Rugby Board under-21 player of the year in 2006 after helping France win the Under-21 World Cup.

He claimed 24 points in the win over Georgia - taking his tally to 60 points in nine senior caps - and showed he can handle pressure by kicking the late penalty that sealed a draw for Stade against the Ospreys back in January.

Not a bad start to your career and just in case you are in any doubt, French rugby stars have backed his inclusion,

Lamaison said: “People rave about Jonny Wilkinson, but Lionel is just as talented,” while former France scrum-half Fabien Galthie added: “Lionel does not doubt himself.”

PRESSURE, WHAT PRESSURE?

New Zealand know all about this. It has been 20 long years since David Kirk lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy in Auckland and the Kiwis want it back.

In 1995 they lost to South Africa in the final while in 1999 and 2003, they suffered heartbreak in the semis - losses that sparked fury back home.

After the defeat to France in 1999, a horse owned by the then coach John Hart was spat on as it left a racetrack. Nice.

This All Blacks team has dominated the game since the last World Cup and they know they must deliver, starting with the game against France. Expect similar anger if they don’t.

MIND GAMES

Ever since it was known New Zealand were France's opponents, Laporte has tried not to call them “All Blacks” in an attempt to demystify the aura of the iconic shirt.

And he must have raised a smile when New Zealand found out they would have to wear their grey second strip in Cardiff after losing a toss of the coin.

When asked why he prefers to call them New Zealanders and not All Blacks, Laporte said: “It is more accurate given the fact they'll be playing in grey.”

There have also been some unfounded rumours going around that France’s home strip was changed to a darker blue with this eventuality in mind.

If I am honest I can't see this New Zealand team losing but you never know - France have done it before and they may just do it again. Let me know if you think I have left anything out or if I am just clutching at straws.

Mark Orlovac is a BBC Sport journalist based in London. He will be based in Paris for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:58 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

It'll be a colour clash like at Murrayfield.

  • 2.
  • At 07:29 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Jon W (LUFC, MOT!) wrote:

Never mind can do it, the French will do it. Then they'll bottle it against England in the semi-final. Then it's the match all England fans want to see the Blue & White rugby geniuses of Argentina, against the might of the Red & White Old guard (with Farrell back for the big games). With a fair wind & a bit of rain what price Sir Brian Ashton then?
P.S. This was my prediction when I saw the group draw & I'm sticking to it !
P.P.S. Gloucester for the Premiership (again) this year (it's a shoe in).

  • 3.
  • At 07:39 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Taff wrote:

Yes. But they won't. :-)

  • 4.
  • At 07:51 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • MichaelG wrote:

Not only will The All Blacks win this game they will win it with style and a significant margin. it does not matter if they play in black white grey or pink, it does not matter if they play in paris cardiff or on the moon, The all Blacks are man for man the better team and not by a small factor. Not only do they square up as the better team they are motivated, motivated by having to play in grey, motivated by the hunger instilled into them by GH over the last few years and motivated by the expectaion of 4 million kiwi's who know this year the cup comes home. All Blacks by 40+

  • 5.
  • At 08:15 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Cam wrote:

I don’t think the upset will happen this time around, not because Im Kiwi but mainly because I dont think the AB’s team of 99 was all that good.

That game 8 years ago was not as much of an upset as everyone thinks it was, in fact you could see it coming. I remember watching All Blacks v England in 99 which I think from memory was a pool game. We were supposed to be the all mightily all blacks, but in honesty it was pretty even in most facets of the game and in some areas the AB’s were worse. The score was 16-16 in the second half and momentum was with England, before an individual moment of brilliance from Lomu - who ran through about 4 guys to score - turned the game. After watching that I thought: take away Lomu and we were very ordinary. So when we lost in the semi’s I was devastated but not that surprised. We would have lost the final had we made it.

This time there is not that reliance on just one player. One guy covering up team deficiencies in other areas. All still be a bit nervous come sat but I say AB’s by 20.

  • 6.
  • At 08:54 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • matt d wrote:

come on france!

  • 7.
  • At 09:47 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • steve wrote:

I'm sorry but I just can't see the French causing an upset against NZ. As post #4 says, man for man NZ are a far superior team, playing with aggression, flair and pace.
SAS - Speed, Aggression, Skill. Incredibly difficult to defend against and NZ have it in abundance.
They will win convincingly by performance, perhaps not by a massive points margin though.

  • 8.
  • At 10:48 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • PeterJ wrote:

Sorry Mark. "Just clutching at straws."
As all the NH teams have been since the start of the tournament.

  • 9.
  • At 11:29 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • MikeyB wrote:

Interesting article. There are elements that suggest it is possible. We've all seen France at their sublime best, we've all seen them at their shocking worst. The fact it, it's the latter more often than the former in recent times.

As MichaelG said, the AB's are just better players. But let's not forget they are notorious 'chokers'. They are. And contrary to what Cam wrote, they are a one man team. Not in the sense that one man does everything for them and he's their only good player, far from it, they are all fantastic players. But this AB side would be well and truly lost without Dan Carter... much like England have been for the last 4 years without Jonny. Carter pulls the strings. So if something were to 'happen' to Mr Carter (Serge Betsen with a late challenge anyone?) then I think the AB's would be vulnerable... but France would still have to play fantastically well.

Sadly I thin Bernard Laporte has thrown away any chance of seeing France at their best, because he has picked a team to kick the ball into New Zealand territory and try to put pressure on their pack... the best pack in the world. It's not the way to beat them, and it only takes a few stray kicks from Mr Trailles and the AB's have the best counter-attacking wingers in the world, they'll punish them.

So whilst a French victory is not impossible, it's very unlikely, and made even less so by Bernard Laporte's rediculous team selection... I hope he finally goes after this loss, because it could well be a big one if they try to take on the AB pack, kick the ball to Sivivatu and Rokococo and don't stop Dan Carter playing.

  • 10.
  • At 11:31 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • jamie dodd wrote:

never thought i'd say this - but COME ON FRANCE!!!! this is the world cup anything can happen, its only 80 minutes.

England arent going to do it - so it would be nice to see a northern hemisphere team reaching the latter stages!

  • 11.
  • At 11:41 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Charles Batham wrote:

I am not a Kiwi but was brought up with rugby, I sincerely beleive the French declared their fears/nerves when they changed their co;ours to the dark blue and the coach can not call the All Blacks 'The All Blacks'. Let the best team win..hope it is a cracker of a final.

  • 12.
  • At 11:54 PM on 05 Oct 2007,
  • Peter Singleton wrote:

France will have to play out of their skins but they have the potential to damage the All Blacks and to win. I saw the Blacks labouring to beat a 2nd string Scotland and wasn't that impressed.

What I like about the French team is their back row, so fast and so powerfull. If their backs can click the All Blacks will have their hands full. It will be a fierce battle in the contact areas. Could go either way.Love the patriotic optimism of fellow blogger Jon W. Just like Les Bleues England have so much potential. Will we see a last hurrah from Billy Wizz and Catty....its a glorious propect!

I live in France.
In the bars everyone is saying they have no chance against NZ. But there is a certain something in the eyes that says that this is one game in which they will expect everything from their players and you never know with France. sublime on minute, ordinary the next. It will definitly not be a walkover. The French will be playing for pride and they are very, very proud.
On verra

  • 14.
  • At 01:14 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • diz wrote:

remember when New Zealand used to have a decent away strip for those very rare occasions when they needed one?

  • 15.
  • At 01:40 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Jim Dandring wrote:

France have quite a good chance. So far the AB's haven't had a genuinely competitive match in this world cup and this could well work against them in a knockout game. No more time to iron out the glitches. And even in the Scotland match where they had such territorial and possession advantage, against the Scotland 2nd side, they weren't impressive. I can't remember anyone dropping the ball as often, even England on a bad day. France are as good as the AB's at turning dropped ball into points. If the AB's drop a quarter as much against France, they'll get murdered. And the French always have their x-factor, they often don't know what they're going to do next so the other side can't fully plan for them. By their own admission, the AB's lineout isn't a strength, they still haven't sorted out their best centre partnership and they're short of a full back. The French have a very good lineout and rarely scrummage badly. As the AB's will also remember, France have done them in their own backyard with the "try from the end of the world" so, like a boxer with a knockout punch, unless they're several scores down with minutes to go, they can pull something out of the bag. And a France who aren't expected to win is the most dangerous and unpredictable animal in the rugby jungle. The AB's score a lot of tries from turnover ball but, with Betsen on the field, Richie McCaw is going to have to work a lot harder to get any. If the match is refereed fully to the law, this will further limit his effectiveness. And with Dan Carter's fitness not fully assured, the AB's have a few more problems than their supporters seem to think. The AB's are rightly the bookies favourite's as they go on form and money bet but, if the odds are right, France look like a good punt. I very much doubt if they are, but if the AB's management and players are as arrogant and complacent as some of their supporters seem to be, the French would be a racing certainty. They've had their wake-up call, the AB's may just be about to have theirs.

  • 16.
  • At 02:21 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Shore Boy wrote:

This All Black team is a better side than the 1999 one in terms of mental toughness and skill levels. They are a more united team with a stronger captain and will not crack easily when the going gets tough.
France will give it everything and in my opinion the margin will be ten points or less.The French coach is kidding himself if he thinks calling the All Blacks side "New Zealand" is going to have any effect on the mindset of his team.

  • 17.
  • At 03:29 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

France has no chance. Henry was the most successful Welsh coach ever and had a bunch of misfits to work with. He now has more weapons at his disposal than George Bush could dream about and his coaching class is the one major reason the All Blacks could win this world cup. (Maybe he will return to Wales in the near future)

I think England might have a chance against Australia who are massively over rated, either team will be massacred by the AB's next week setting up a NZ v South Africa (Puma's at an outside chance) final, and that will be anyone’s game.


  • 18.
  • At 03:36 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew Gebbie wrote:

Not a chance France will get anywhere close to the All Blacks. New Zealand has quality all over the park and man for man are far superior side. I can't see France getting any quality ball against the All Black pack and the speed and skill set of the New Zealand backline will be too much for the French to handle. Prediction: All Blacks by 25+

  • 19.
  • At 06:11 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • FH wrote:

Quoting Argentina's second row Juan Martín Fernandez Lobbe: "If we have to play against New Zealand, I'll explain it like this. To win, their 15 players have to have diarrhoea and we will have to put snipers around the field shooting at them and then we have to play the best match of our lives."

http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/home/news/newsid=2013571.html

  • 20.
  • At 06:16 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Fred wrote:

I agree with a lot of comments on this blog. NZ is a stronger side than in 99, but France also is despite their defeat to Argentina in the opener. The ABs looked very vulnerable in defense against the Scotland B team, but they might be hiding their game.
It will either be an easy 20-30 point win by the ABs or a tight match finally won on moral by the French. If France scores a first try and take the lead, you can bet it will be the second scenario.
In any case I think the winner of this one will probably reach the final and meet the Springbocks. If it is France then ... my money is still on them to keep the Cup in Paris.

  • 21.
  • At 06:25 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Alex Blake wrote:

I think the blacks will win, but I don't think they will win the cup. They have not played well so far. And underestimating France is a bad mistake. When expected to win they bottle it, but when put as outsiders they can be awesome.

As for England I think it will be closer than the S Africa game, but unfortunately I don't think they will win.

My prediction for the final is another win for Australia. The only team to play to full potential so far.

  • 22.
  • At 06:27 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • shelby jake wrote:

So France plan to kick it deep.
Madness. To win a game of rugby your team needs "possession, position and pace". France might have positional sense but they haven't a lot of pace and they're planning to give us their possession. Incroyable!

AB's by 30.

  • 23.
  • At 07:42 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Pat wrote:

All Blacks had the easiest group.
They did tons of tries to nobody.
Now the cup really starts for them, so let's see if they can become that
arrogance into tries.
They are media overinflated, and they know what to do to feed that illusion, but in fact they are a cold and passionless team, that bring nothing new to world rugby.
I hope France gives them a lesson,
we don't need so much arrogance in this sport.

  • 24.
  • At 07:51 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • philippem wrote:

The game wil be won by the team that make the less handling error and penality. The French have a good defence. The AB have the strongest men but they need to avoid handling error to win.

  • 25.
  • At 08:04 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Tim L wrote:

Yes, the All Blacks were not impressive against Scotland but it was still 40-0 despite all the errors etc. It gives all the other contenders a glimmer of hope. Sure the quarter final is a one-off and anything can happen on the day. Judging by the heavy defeats inflicted on France in recent matches between these two sides,the odds are on an All Blacks win perhaps with a narrower margin. The trouble with the All Blacks' superiority is that when they score less than 50 points in a match, they are treated as "not as good as one would think". My only disappointment with this fixture that the All Blacks will be in their away kit. It's not the same watching Brazil playing in lilac in football!coloursy

  • 26.
  • At 09:00 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • manuxv wrote:

Well well I have got a ticket I’m off to see France VS ABs does it get any better (from a French perspective) I have got hopes they are only human and always favourite rarely winners so ALLEZ LES BLEUS still it would be nice if Dab Carter had a wee bit of a choker and still blame the ball for is misfortune
And hope for a semi against England in France

  • 27.
  • At 09:31 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Juan wrote:

Everything can happen but the AB's are much better than the French.

It is clear in this RWC that the northern hemisphere is behind the southern. We will see al southern teams in the semifinals this time. Then any of them can win.

Today AB's by over 20, likely by 30.

  • 28.
  • At 09:39 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Billy WU wrote:

NZ to beat France but not by a margin. Prediction: 32-22
One of the tournament's best matches.
Aus to beat Eng 20-10
Zaf to beat Fiji 40-8
Sco to beat Arg 15-13 This weekend's upset

  • 29.
  • At 10:05 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Lou wrote:


Lightning doesnt strike twice and there is no team that unfortunately can threaten NZ. The only threat is NZ own overconfidence.

  • 30.
  • At 11:07 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Holly wrote:

Allez France!

  • 31.
  • At 11:17 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Michaël wrote:

I'm French and just as I backed England last time around, I hope my team can make it against all odds. North v South. They're more talented, more passionate, more constant, and they have four world-class nations, which makes us the underdogs, any which way you look at it. If we fail to go through and England pass, I'll be 100% English. I don't think Scotland have what it takes. Better leave it to international and European football!

  • 32.
  • At 11:59 AM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Glawster Joe wrote:

Am I watching a different game to some of you?

'The ABs looked vulnerable in defence against Scotland B' er, 40-0!
'Not that impressive...' um, 40-0...
Against a team of professionals desperate to make an impact and keep their place. Against a team hiding in the same kit...

Having said that, of course they are not invincible and SA, Australia, and even France on their day, could turn them over. Sadly, however, I do not include England in that list, though perhaps we could make them look vulnerable in defence by losing 40-0 ;)


Well this is going to be a real humdinger of a match, but in the end France will win.
Dan Carter will miss a few penalties his head will go down and so will the rest of the AB's.
In a real competitive game which the AB have not had at this WC, France are head and shoulders better.
As for NZ, four more years.

  • 34.
  • At 01:46 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • HapiNZ wrote:

As a NZer getting ready for the game some of these comments just make us laugh down here. France will be the first real team to cop the result of 3 years of one of the most meticulously planned assaults on a sporting trophy. After today Scotland will be holding the hopes of the entire Northen hemisphere. Without a doubt. Not bragging, just pointing out the obvious.

  • 35.
  • At 02:05 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Ollie wrote:

I think some of the comments on here show what a distorted view some of you NH rugby fans have.

Dan Carter? He is sublime when in good form, which he has not been this year. Nick Evans would be an ample replacement should DC's fitness fail him.

I also read somebody say that the All Blacks are passionless and bring nothing to world rugby? As far as I know the All Blacks have been setting the benchmark for world rugby for the past 4 years. Passionless? We call that down here modesty.

Any of you people tipping France willing to put your money where your mouth is? I have got $70 on the AB's point start of -15.5 points. Best of luck to anybody who has enough balls to put money on France...

  • 36.
  • At 02:05 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Donnyballgame wrote:

Well, if France were playing this French RWC match in France, they would have a good chance. But we know how that fiasco happened. And if there was even slight confidence in any team selection made by Laporte, we might feel better about French chances.

On the other hand, if France can put some pressure and hits on Dan Carter early in the match, he will stop playing what little defence he plays and his kicking will fall off. That is where French chances lie. Because once France gains confidence, they can start to run anyone off the pitch, even the ABs. And France does have the personnel to win, but do they have the emotion?

  • 37.
  • At 02:08 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • ireland wrote:

no 24- how exaxtly are the abs arrogant? and as gfor australia being better than nz this tournaent. rubbish. australia and nz groups were similar. as for arrogance- it's a bit rich to be calling the kiwis arroagant and not the french. so far the kiws have walked the walk and thye'll win it . the fact thay haveent played out of 1st gear bodes ominously for france and other teams. nz and argentina in the final would be great.

  • 38.
  • At 03:41 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • lucy wrote:

no they cannot. france have not shown the kind of form needed to beat the all blacks

  • 39.
  • At 04:01 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

The thing about the French inside centre playing FB is that the move is not just about his kicking for field position and a challenge to the AB lineout.

It's about a big man running out wide at the AB defence (they made the selection wondering who would be AB centre - it's Muliaina not the two centres Smith and Toeva).

Can France win?

My answer is this week in Cardiff they have a chance - in Paris in two weeks, it would have been less so. The AB's are improving to peak in the final. They will need to. France is a challenge, Australia is more of one (because of our record of never beating them at World Cups 0-2) and South Africa the main one in this Cup (because of their recent form).

Carter, Robinson and Muliaina in particular are short of games. The team in general is short of some competitive games.

So France can win.

Whoever wins, I hope the winner goes on and beats England and South Africa.

  • 40.
  • At 04:26 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Loic wrote:

Wonderful England!!!!

Let's hope us (Froggies) can do as good as you (Rosebeefs)!

I 90% know that ABs will win... but I also have that 10% of je ne sais quoi in my heart that tells me... something must happen this evening, something will happen!!!!!

Congratulations England... we'll see u in the semis...

Cocoricoooooo!!!!!!

  • 41.
  • At 04:27 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Dectora wrote:

This is the BBC; surely even sports journalists should be able to spell?
It should be hordes, not hoards, Mark. Tackle him hard lexicographers!

  • 42.
  • At 04:34 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Sydney wrote:

Nope.

AB's by 12.

  • 43.
  • At 04:35 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • grouchmonkey wrote:

Er, no, the can't. it's going to be a sad day for France

  • 44.
  • At 04:42 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Chris Papatwotoes wrote:

I just woke up and heard about the English defeat of Australia. I can imagine what the Aussie press are saying.

Can a similar upset happen between France and NZ. As the French say C'est possible. I would not bet my money on it.

Hoping for a hard fought, competitive game.

The ABs will be victorious.

  • 45.
  • At 04:51 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Sydney wrote:

Nope.

AB's by 12.

  • 46.
  • At 04:52 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • sally wrote:

have just seen England play a great game against the wallabies so who knows? Allez France-lets hope it's a close match, they may be underdogs but on a good day it could be close!

  • 47.
  • At 05:04 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • steve wrote:

I don't think France will do it but then anything can happen in a single match, especially with France. They could be aided by the fact their in Cardiff. Both because their pride will be hurting after the 1st match defeat and because it will reduce the pressure somewhat. It all depends what teams turn up on the day. I wasn't expecting us to get past the Aussies today [and glad to be wrong]. Think the French are facing longer odds but still possible. The AB's haven't really been tested yet which could mean an awesome display from them or that they struggle to get up to full pace and get turned over.

Steve

  • 48.
  • At 05:07 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • craig wrote:

Sure France can win but they'll have to give 100% across the field and hope for a poor NZ display. They will also need to play quick rugby à l'argentina with excellent handling and lightning forward play and so far their handling hasn't be good at all and against the Argies, they were literally outplayed.

France should take inspiration from England's victory but Australia, in my view, are not in the same league as the Blacks. We shouldn' forget that Wales put 20 pts on the board against the Aussies. By the way, England's forwards were immense today! Really a big, big hats off to all the lads - you proved yourselves as a major rubgy force again!

To summarise, this NZ team has very few weak spots not like in 1999. The dead ball kicking from Carter against the Scots might be a slight worry as might be the fact the Blacks have always looked like winning the competition since it started but choked on the big occassion - this could play a part but France are playing in Cardiff and not in France so this will play against the frogs.

From England's point of view, it would be interesting and perhaps easier to play France in the semis but my head says the All Blacks will win this by a clear margin. Certainly, if you make any reference to recent encounters where they were literally murdered and effortlessly murdered at that.

  • 49.
  • At 05:07 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • peamak wrote:

"After today Scotland will be holding the hopes of the entire Northen hemisphere. Without a doubt. Not bragging, just pointing out the obvious."

... Go England !!!!

I think the French never loved the English as much as they did this afternoon... England gave us hope, let me tell you that ! ;)

Allez les bleus !

  • 50.
  • At 05:21 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Heather wrote:

Well No. 29, you were wrong about England, and this time Eng were the better side. Anyway, hopefully France will win as I think that England stands a better chance of beating them. Also, I hope that Scotland beat Argentina. It would be great to get 2 British sides through to the semis.

  • 51.
  • At 05:23 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Jason wrote:

Allez les bleus!

England did it - the French boys should have some belief now. Lets show that Southern Hemisphere Rugby isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I wonder who the Welsh neutrals will be supporting in Cardiff tonight?

  • 52.
  • At 05:54 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • ben wrote:

France 21-19 NZ!!! Allez les Bleus!!

  • 53.
  • At 05:56 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Julian wrote:

The outcome is uncertain, but one thing i think we can be sure of is that, just like this afternoon's game, there will be some wonderfully entertaining rugby ce soir.

Congratulations to the England forwards for creating such a stable platform for the backs to actually get accurate fast ball.

As for who to support this evening, I think Bristol City could be in with a chance!

  • 54.
  • At 05:58 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Loic wrote:

Cymru with France!!!!!

Look at Beauxis today... he will be a Star!!!

  • 55.
  • At 07:10 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • JOSEPH wrote:

If les blues can do what England did today and play with heart and belief anythink is possible.And for the good of the cup we dont want to loose the hosts in the 1/4 finals.Viva la France

  • 56.
  • At 07:15 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • sebastian wrote:

i think the gameplan of playing the lineouts is very risky because all it takes is a couple of bad kicks and you are on the backfoot against those AB wingers.

i see this as a close one with carter along with his pack grinding it out.

  • 57.
  • At 07:21 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • JOSEPH wrote:

If les blues can do what England did today and play with heart and belief anythink is possible.And for the good of the cup we dont want to loose the hosts in the 1/4 finals.Viva la France

  • 58.
  • At 07:30 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • possibly wrote:

I think France CAN win but I doubt they will. Even though we know that France can turn-on some superb rugby at times I think the All Blacks greatest opposition for this game will be themselves. If they let the demons of former World Cup disappointments rob them of their confidence - then they'll be in real trouble.

  • 59.
  • At 07:48 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

regardless of who wins the NZ-France game let us hope both teams actually turn up intending to play Rugby rather than just kicking penalties - let's have some tries from both sides and show the English how the game is actually meant to be played .

  • 60.
  • At 07:56 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Lets hope after many years we can get rid of the haka and similar nonsense, its no longer amusing/entertaining and gives NZ an unfair psychological advantage.

  • 61.
  • At 08:48 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • edgeways wrote:

heart and belief are well and good, but it doesn't produce winning teams all by itself. Tell ya what, you take heart and belief and I'll take talent and good training, wonder who will win 8 out of 10 times.

I say keep the haka, and let any other team that wants to develop their own war dance

  • 62.
  • At 09:55 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Chris A wrote:

5 minutes to go and France in front by 2 (20-18) go les Bleus.

  • 63.
  • At 10:43 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Can we now put this whole debate about NZ being chokers behind us; )

  • 64.
  • At 10:51 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • bellier sylvaine wrote:

c'est fait!

  • 65.
  • At 11:07 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • french supporter wrote:

see you in half

  • 66.
  • At 11:11 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • don wrote:

absolutely fantastic. I am not a fan of france or england at all, but i do support all 6 nations teams ahead of any southern hemisphere team, what a fantastic days rugby, New Zealand and Austrailia sent packing, good riddance, just hope someone can sent the odius SA team home, would prefer anyone but those so and so's to win. C'mon the 6 nations teams, what a turnaround, fantastic, makes the irish results seem not so bad anymore, there is hope for northern hemisphere rugby, this is turning out to be the best world cup by a distance, so far

  • 67.
  • At 11:27 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • don wrote:

absolutely fantastic. I am not a fan of france or england at all, but i do support all 6 nations teams ahead of any southern hemisphere team, what a fantastic days rugby, New Zealand and Austrailia sent packing, good riddance, just hope someone can sent the odius SA team home, would prefer anyone but those so and so's to win. C'mon the 6 nations teams, what a turnaround, fantastic, makes the irish results seem not so bad anymore, there is hope for northern hemisphere rugby, this is turning out to be the best world cup by a distance, so far

  • 68.
  • At 11:28 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • haka queen wrote:

NZ HAD NO COMMENT TO MAKE AFTER TODAYS GAME BECAUSE WHAT WORDS COULD DESCRIBE WHAT UNFOLDED BEFORE MILLIONS OF VIEWERS EYES TODAY??

DID THE REF KNOW WHICH CODE HE WAS REFFING??

WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO OUR MISTAKES BUT HE SHOULD BE SHOT FOR THE APPALLING JOB HE PROBABLY GOT PAID MILLIONS FOR (FROM THE FRENCH LOL)!!!
WHO HAS AN AMEATUER REF A INTERNATIONAL CUP GAME??
WAS THAT THE BEST YOU COULD DO??

THE HAKA HAS GREAT MEANING TO NZ COUNTRY AND IS THE ONE THING THAT NZ SHOULD NOT BE ROBBED OF AS THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST 150 YEARS (REFER TO THE TREATY OF WAITANGI).
MAYBE THE FRENSH SHOULD REPLY BY GETTING ON-SIDE AND COOKING NZ SOME EGGS (LOL).

IT JUST GOES TO SHOW NOT EVEN THE BEST CAN WIN WHEN ALL ODDS ARE AGAINST THEM GO THE ABS. KIA KAHA!!!

  • 69.
  • At 11:47 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • franck wrote:

Great victory by the french and the english teams! the north hemisphere is not as weak as some hoped it would be !
concerning the AB, I had the feeling they were not so confident. Their haka was so close to the french it gave me the sensation the were more trying to get confidence than to impress the opposite side. And at the end of the game, when france was leading the score, their mental failed.
winning easy matchs definitely doesn't help to buid a strong mental. To no 29, sometimes lightning strikes twice ;)

  • 70.
  • At 11:53 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • jules wrote:

They did it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next in line...

  • 71.
  • At 11:53 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • haka queen wrote:

NZ HAD NO COMMENT TO MAKE AFTER TODAYS GAME BECAUSE WHAT WORDS COULD DESCRIBE WHAT UNFOLDED BEFORE MILLIONS OF VIEWERS EYES TODAY??

DID THE REF KNOW WHICH CODE HE WAS REFFING??

WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO OUR MISTAKES BUT HE SHOULD BE SHOT FOR THE APPALLING JOB HE PROBABLY GOT PAID MILLIONS FOR (FROM THE FRENCH LOL IF IT WAS WORLD CUP FOOTBALL HE WOULD HAVE BEEN )!!!
WHO HAS AN AMEATUER REF AN INTERNATIONAL CUP GAME??
WAS THAT THE BEST YOU COULD DO??

THE HAKA HAS GREAT MEANING TO NZ COUNTRY AND IS THE ONE THING THAT NZ SHOULD NOT BE ROBBED OF AS THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST 150 YEARS (REFER TO THE TREATY OF WAITANGI).
MAYBE THE FRENSH SHOULD REPLY BY GETTING ON-SIDE AND COOKING NZ SOME EGGS (LOL).

IT JUST GOES TO SHOW NOT EVEN THE BEST CAN WIN WHEN ALL ODDS ARE AGAINST THEM GO THE ABS. KIA KAHA!!!

  • 72.
  • At 11:53 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Helios wrote:

Hi hi hi : they did it ! Congratulations to the french team !

  • 73.
  • At 11:58 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Congratulations to France. Who would have believed yesterday that an all northern hemisphere would be taking place a week today?! And as for the haka, Chabal growling at me 1m away from my face would scare me much more. Best response to the haka I've seen in ages from France today and really set the tone for a great win. Now if only someone can do a job on South Africa England might even have a shot...

  • 74.
  • At 11:59 PM on 06 Oct 2007,
  • haka queen wrote:

NZ HAD NO COMMENT TO MAKE AFTER TODAYS GAME BECAUSE WHAT WORDS COULD DESCRIBE WHAT UNFOLDED BEFORE MILLIONS OF VIEWERS EYES TODAY??

DID THE REF KNOW WHICH CODE HE WAS REFFING??

WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO OUR MISTAKES BUT HE SHOULD BE SHOT FOR THE APPALLING JOB HE PROBABLY GOT PAID MILLIONS FOR (FROM THE FRENCH LOL IF IT WAS WORLD CUP FOOTBALL HE WOULD HAVE BEEN )!!!
WHO HAS AN AMEATUER REF AN INTERNATIONAL CUP GAME??
WAS THAT THE BEST YOU COULD DO??

THE HAKA HAS GREAT MEANING TO NZ COUNTRY AND IS THE ONE THING THAT NZ SHOULD NOT BE ROBBED OF AS THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST 150 YEARS (REFER TO THE TREATY OF WAITANGI).
MAYBE THE FRENSH SHOULD REPLY BY GETTING ON-SIDE AND COOKING NZ SOME EGGS (LOL).

IT JUST GOES TO SHOW NOT EVEN THE BEST CAN WIN WHEN ALL ODDS ARE AGAINST THEM GO THE ABS. KIA KAHA!!!

  • 75.
  • At 12:00 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Fred wrote:

Cheerio NZ...hopefully this defeat will finally bring some humility to the Kiwi game. Goodness knows it needs it. The crowing that one has to endure as Englishman living in NZ around world cup time is almost too much to believe...luckily, it never seems to make it to the final!! Well done to the French. Certainly made this another WC to remember.

  • 76.
  • At 12:03 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Barney Mcseoin wrote:

Thank god the arrogant all greys were beaten.They like the Irish believed their own hype!!! Venga Argentina y vive la France. As an Irishman I hope these two sides reach the final and may the best team win!!!!!

  • 77.
  • At 12:39 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • claire t wrote:

ha! they won! i am doing a victory dance for all you people above who said it was never going to happen.
WHENEVER people think france are going to lose, they win. (and vice versa). they thrive on odds.

  • 78.
  • At 12:44 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • claire t wrote:

ha! they won! i am doing a victory dance for all you people above who said it was never going to happen.
WHENEVER people think france are going to lose, they win. (and vice versa). they thrive on odds.

  • 79.
  • At 12:58 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • French froggy egg cooker wrote:

Haka is a war dance, it has nothing to do with sport as it's threatening opponents in a rude way, it should be forbidden from rugby games, as being the opposite of fairness and respect...you know, these valours that sport should normaly promote...

Anyway, it seems your so called very dangerous warriors have been scared by opponents daring facing them toe to toe for once...so bad for you, generally french people are at their best when provoked, and they surely have more fighting spirit by far than you, having fought in europe for centuries (I'm not proud of this matter of fact though).

So, as poor chickens afraid when true opposition occurs, I agree we should have fed you with fried eggs.

  • 80.
  • At 01:07 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • french froggy wrote:

Haka is a war dance, it has nothing to do with sport as it's threatening opponents in a rude way, it should be forbidden from rugby games, as being the opposite of fairness and respect...you know, these valours that sport should normaly promote...

Anyway, it seems your so called very dangerous warriors have been scared by opponents daring facing them toe to toe for once...so bad for you, generally french people are at their best when provoked, and they surely have more fighting spirit by far than you, having fought in europe for centuries (I'm not proud of this matter of fact though).

So, as poor chickens afraid when true opposition occurs, I agree we should have fed you with fried eggs.

Otherwise, well done england as well!

  • 81.
  • At 01:36 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Dermott wrote:

YEE HAA
Well done France. Reports the game in the Northern Hemisphere was dead were premature.

However if you asked me who the best team in the world are I would still say New Zealand.

Napoleon used to ask when appointing Generals, I don't care if he's good, is he lucky? Graham Henry, in my opinion is not. The Lions of 2001 were the better team, and New Zealand have been the best for years, but you must have luck in the big games.

So after sparing a thought for the vanquished, COME ON FRANCE-WIN IT. Third final lucky hopefully.

  • 82.
  • At 02:36 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • olivier wrote:

what a haka that was! i keep watching the vid again and again, makes me shiver with delight and pride :)
so far my fav moment of the WC (with Chabal try against namibia :)
the AB are good, probably the best, but they cant cope with strong opposition and dont have this fighting spirit that keep u in the game when u're 13-0 down.

  • 83.
  • At 03:18 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Kepa wrote:

It's a bit of a delight to scan thru all these posts ... once the match result is known ... and be even more able to measure the valley between some decent efforts of objective analysis of forces to clash (N.4,9,12,15,20,36,48,58; the palm going in my opinion to N.15) ... and some miserable attempts (between many, N.4,18,34,35,etc) to inject oneself stronger doses to pretend confidence and strive to hide genuine mountains of doubt and lack of assurance (in this regard, haka is more self-harmful than anything else ... beside looking and sounding somewhat ridiculous ...) ...
French are usually blamed for being arrogant ... however, this arrogance has nothing to do with how 'big' as a nation France may be ...
Some equally big or bigger nations may suffer from superiority complex (e.g, past or present empires : UK, US, etc) ... just as small nations may suffer from inferiority complex ... In the latter case, a typical syndrom is showing/trying desperately to persuade oneself that one is bigger than it is in reality ... which can lead to arrogance and complacency, a disease typical of bigger nations, not smaller ones ... hence the comments (N.15,23) highlighting the arrogance, complacency and inclination to overinflation plaguing the AB team and some of their fans ...
Would NZ any suffer from inferiority complex and its poisonous offspring consisting in self-overinflation and underestimation of the opposite party ? It might well be the case ... since NZ has ceased to rule in the America's Cup ... putting all their hopes and national pride on their rugby squad ... Too much pressure for the ABs, on top of too much arrogance, complacency, self-overinflation and underestimation of opposite parties ??
History seems to tell all this is too much for the AB squad, weirdly squashed every time it was the clear favorite for the title ... !!
ABs were punished in 1999, and as lessons seem difficult to learn for some ... have just been punished anew this year ...
This major rugby force in the world may not be the one with most world titles before long ... anyway until lessons are learned and NZ rightsize themselves in their heads ... Congrats to the same good professional teacher in 1999 and 2007 !! ... and good travel back home to ABs and their fans !! And remember, patience, and rather a lot of, is definitely a quality ...

  • 84.
  • At 06:06 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Dave Morgan wrote:

Why is it that passion pride,guts & determination will beat the best professional players in the world

  • 85.
  • At 07:59 AM on 07 Oct 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

What an amazing turn-up for the books!
Well done England and France!
May the remaining games be played in the true spirit of Sport, and not in the tenor of some of the comments I have read above. Personal attacks on some Teams/Countries, using Comment 66 as an example, are best left out of this blog. As a South African, I find it extremely offensive for my team to be called "odius". Don should learn how to spell before he makes such remarks, as well as find out more about a Country before he shows his ignorance. May the best team win in the end, and may those who lose learn how to take the loss. Some teams have a lot to learn!

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