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It doesn't get much bigger than this for France. A home World Cup with one of the best French teams in years. France have been the sleeping giants of world rugby and it looks like they have finally awoken. Les Bleus will begin their World Cup bid with a match against the All Blacks on the opening evening of the competition. It is a game that will set the tone of the tournament. In all likelihood, it could even be the warm up for the Rugby World Cup Final itself. These two teams have history after France knocked New Zealand out in the quarters in 2007 and they then faced each other again in the Final in 2011.
France have two traditions: flair and blowing it when it matters. France do not play boring rugby. They love to chuck the ball around and play the game on the edge. Sella, Blanco and Reves were just some of the greats who had people on the edge of their seats back in the day. However, playing on the edge has been costly. There have been countless braindead moments in the Six Nations where France have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. At the last World Cup, Sébastien Vahaamahina elbowed Aaron Wainwright in the head against Wales in the quarter finals resulting in a red card and an early exit for the French.
This time it feels different. Last summer, France were ranked the number one side in the world for the first time in their history having just come off the back of a Grand Slam and a Six Nations victory for the first time since 2010. The French are blessed with a strong domestic league and a squad packed full of world class talent including 2021 World Player of the Year, Antoine Dupont. Dupont is the heartbeat of this French side with everything he touches turning to gold. Unfortunately Dupont will be without his right-hand man as his club mate and fly half Romain Ntamack has been ruled out of the World Cup with an ACL injury. However, the Top 14 has such depth to it these days and there are a number of names who can step up to the plate in all positions. If France can keep their heads under the pressure of a home crowd, this World Cup is theirs for the taking!
World Cup Titles
Best RWC Finish
World Rugby Ranking
(as of 27th August)
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