Sunday 19 November 2017

Unpredictable France to 'try things' against All Blacks

Brice Dulin
Brice Dulin

France have a history of upsetting the All Blacks at Rugby World Cups, but they will not be dwelling on former glories when they take on New Zealand in Saturday's quarter-final.

Les Bleus famously beat New Zealand 43-31 in the 1999 semi-finals and 20-18 in the 2007 quarter-finals. They then came agonisingly close in the 2011 final, losing by a single point in Auckland.

Though the French will take inspiration from the way their unfancied predecessors came from behind in both of those triumphs, the current crop of players insist they will do it their way when they take the field at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

"It's been done, so it's doable, but its another story (on Saturday)," flanker Damien Chouly said.

"1999, 2007; it was different. We will have to create our own history on Saturday," scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde said.

Whatever the approach, France will again face the All Blacks as underdogs, particularly after Sunday's dismal 24-9 defeat against Ireland.

With the side having shown little to suggest they can pose a serious threat to the defending champions this time, utility back Brice Dulin (inset) urged his team mates to let it flow in the quarter-final.

"We can't only defend, we must try things, we must not be minimalists," he said.

If they do that, who's to say that France's notorious stubborn streak and ability to turn on the style won't bring another famous victory over the All Blacks?

"As a Frenchman, it's never good to be the favourite," coach Philippe Saint-Andre said. "We'll have to show our greatest match. For several players, it will be the game of their lives."

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