Saturday, September 24, 2011

RUGBY WORLD CUP: New Zealand v France, Pool A


Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Referee: Alain Rolland

This is the game that New Zealand and France have had their eyes on for weeks, months even. These two teams have a long history. Recent history has meant pain for the All Blacks. Twice, in 1999 and again in 2007, France dumped the All Blacks out of World Cup contention with unexpected wins in the quarter or semi-final stages. New Zealanders are talking about pay back time.

Neither team has been seriously challenged so far in this tournament (although Japan did give France a first half fright). This match will be a tough outing for both teams.

When the teams were first announced earlier in the week there was a huge outcry from New Zealand media about France throwing this test. Now that time has allowed passions to cool it is plain to see nobody wants to lose this game. Too much pride is at stake.

France has made a few surprise selections for whatever reasons. It matters not. France will be desperate to win this game and gain a huge psychological advantage over a team they may face in the final.

New Zealand is placing their best team on the paddock. They are desperate to win this game and celebrate captain Richie McCaw’s 100th test match in style. France will be desperate to spoil his party.

Richie McCaw will play his 100th
rugby test match.

The revelry and pre match ceremonies (drinking, face painting, flag waving, halloolering, singing, yelling and bantering) will begin up the road from here, in Kingsland, in a few hours. I’m not missing any of it. Eden Park is the place to be tonight. I have been looking forwards to it since I bought my ticket months ago. It’l be a cracker!

Previous Encounters
28.11.2009 New Zealand 39-12 in Marseilles
20.06.2009 New Zealand 14-10 in Wellington
13.06.2009 France 27-22 in Dunedin
06.10.2007 France 20-18 in Cardiff (World Cup, Quarter final)
09.06.2007 New Zealand 61-10 in Wellington

France This World Cup
10.09.2011 v Japan W 47-21 in Albany
18.09.2011 v Canada W 46-19 in Napier

New Zealand This World Cup
09.09.2011 v Tonga W 41-10 in Auckland
16.09.2011 v Japan W 83-7 in Hamilton

New Zealand v France Previous World Cups
06.10.2007 France 20-18 in Cardiff (World Cup Quarter final)
20.11.2003 New Zealand 40-13 in Sydney (3rd-4th Playoff)
31.10.1999 France 43-21 at Twickenham (Semi-Final)
20.06.1987 New Zealand 29-9 in Auckland (Final)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 4th, France 6th

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 90.55, France 83.78

Prediction: New Zealand by 8 points



New Zealand
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt. 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Bradley Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Alistair Williams, 19 Anthony Boric, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Sonny Bill Williams
Head Coach: Graham Henry


15 Damien Traille, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir,Capt. 5 Pascale Papé, 4 Lionel Nallet, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
16 William Servat, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Imanol Harinordoquy, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Fabrice Estebanez, 22 Cédric Heymans
Head Coach” Marc Lievremont

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