France look to overhaul England hoodoo
October 2, 2011
Jonny Wilkinson kicks a penalty against France in Sydney in 2003 © Getty Images
England will head into their quarter-final clash with France in Auckland on Saturday with the psychological advantage of having beaten Les Blues on the way to the last two World Cup finals.
England overcame France 24-7 in Sydney in the semi-finals of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. As with this clash, Jonny Wilkinson went into the game under pressure after England struggled to dispatch Wales in the quarter-finals, but the talismanic No.10 kicked all of England's points in the semi-final. He, of course, went on to boot the drop goal that won England the World Cup.
Four years later the cross-channel rivals met again in the semi-finals. Again Wilkinson's kicking was significant as he slotted two penalties and a drop goal, following Josh Lewsey's early try, to help England to a 14-9 victory and crush France's hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil.
England also defeated the French in front of their fans in the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Will Carling and Rory Underwood both scored tries while fullback Jonathan Webb kicked three penalties and a conversion as England won 19-10 at the Parc des Princes. Therefore every time England and France have met in the knock-out stages of a World Cup, the English have not only progressed but ultimately reached the final of the competition.
The only other time the two nations have met at a World Cup was in the third and fourth play-off at the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, when France won 19-9 in Pretoria.
After losing five out of six clashes with France following their triumph at the 2003 Rugby World Cup, England have gone on to win four of their last five matches against Les Blues, including a 17-9 victory at Twickenham in this year's Six Nations Championship.
England v France:
All-time record: Played: 94, England won 51, France won 36, Draw 7
Biggest winning margins: Eng: 37 (37-0, Twickenham, 1911); Fra: 25 (37-12 Colombes, 1972 and 31-6, Stade de France, 2006)
Highest score: Eng: 48 (48-19, Twickenham, 2001); Fra 37 ( (37-12 Colombes, 1972)
Most tries: Eng: 9 (43-13, Richmond, 1907) Fra: 6 ( (37-12 Colombes, 1972)
Most points (individual): Eng: 159 Jonny Wilkinson; Fra: 74 Dimitri Yachvili
Most tries (individual): Eng: 8 Daniel Lambert; Fra: 4 Philippe Sella and Michel Crauste
Most points in a Test: Eng: 24 Jonny Wilkinson (24-7, Sydney, 2003); Fra: 19 Dimitri Yachvili (24-21, Stade de France, 2004)
Previous World Cup meetings: Four (Eng 19-10, Parc des Princes, 1991), (Fra 19-9 Eng, Pretoria, 1995), (Eng 24-7 Fra, Sydney, 2003), (Eng 14-9 Fra, Stade de France, 2007)
Click Here for England's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click Here for France's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click Here for a full record of all England v France matches courtesy of Statsguru
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games