All Blacks face RWC demons
September 18, 2011
France winger Philippe Bernat-Salles celebrates victory over New Zealand in 1999 © Getty Images
New Zealand's aspirations of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy for a second time will come under severe scrutiny against chief World Cup tormentors France in Auckland on Saturday . After beating Les Blues 29-9 in Auckland to win the inaugural World Cup final in 1987, the All Blacks have twice lost to France in dramatic circumstances at the global showpiece.
In one of the greatest Rugby World Cup matches France shocked overwhelming favourites New Zealand in the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup. The All Blacks were leading 24-10 early in the second-half but France somehow found an inspired display to come from behind and eventually win 43-31 at Twickenham.
Eight years later New Zealand were again overwhelming favourites when the two sides met in the quarter-final showdown in Cardiff. But again the French ambushed the tournament favourites with a controversial later try from Yannick Jauzion - referee Wayne Barnes failing to spot a forward pass in the build-up to the try - giving France a 20-18 victory.
During the 2003 tournament New Zealand recorded a convincing 40-13 victory over the French in the Pool stages of the tournament, which means the teams head into Saturday's fixture level on two wins each at World Cups. However, history has taught New Zealand to fear the French, and their unpredictable nature.
New Zealand v France
All-time record: Played 49; France won 12; New Zealand won 36; One drawn match
Biggest winning margins: NZ: 51, (Wellington, 2007) Fra: 14 (Christchurch, 1994)
Highest score: NZ: 61 (61-10, Wellington, 2007) Fra: 43 (43-31, Cardiff, 1999)
Most tries: NZ: 9 (61-10, Wellington, 2007); Fra: 4 (43-31, Cardiff, 1999)
Most points (individual): NZ: 106 Dan Carter; Fra: 71 Christophe Lamaison
Most tries (individual): NZ: 8 Joe Rokocoko ; Fra: 3 Serge Blanco and Philippe Saint-Andre
Previous World Cup meetings: Four
Click Here for France's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click Here for New Zealand's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click Here for a full record of all France v New Zealand matches courtesy of Statsguru
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene