• France's news in English

All Blacks vs France: 'Expect the unexpected'

AFP/The Local · 8 Nov 2013, 08:50

Published: 08 Nov 2013 08:50 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The All Blacks may have beaten Les Bleus three times in a row in home tests in June -- including a 30-0 thrashing in Christchurch in the second test -- but the former Wales coach says history has taught him never to underestimate the erratic French.

Only two years ago, New Zealand thrashed France in a World Cup group stage match 37-17 but they were left hanging on by their fingernails in a gripping final in Auckland before claiming their second world title with an 8-7 success.

"The first thing you've got to do with France is expect the unexpected," said Hansen.

"Plan for everything and once you've stopped planning for that, try to think outside the square and think about what else they'll chuck at you, because that's the way they are.

"They will turn up definitely with something different from what we got last time.

"But you would imagine they will try and take us on up front initially."

France had mostly been awful in the World Cup, losing 19-14 to Tonga in the group stages while scraping through 9-8 against Wales in the semi-final despite playing 70 minutes with a numerical advantage following Sam Warburton's early red card.

Yet they still bounced back to give the All Blacks a scare in the final.

"They're very unpredictable. You've only got to think back to the 2011 World Cup and everyone wrote them off and expected us to win by heaps (in the final), and they came out and played probably the best game they played all tournament," added Hansen.

"When they're written off, that's when they're at their most dangerous I've found.

"We've got a lot of respect for them, we think they're good athletes, they're good at the core role of the game and they've got the flair when they choose to use it."

There are certain similarities between France's build up to this game and the World Cup final of 2011.

Les Bleus had had an inconsistent year then too, losing to Italy for the first time ever in the Six Nations, although they warmed up for the World Cup with back-to-back home and away wins over Ireland.

This year they have not so much been inconsistent as largely poor.

They again lost in Rome as they finished bottom of the Six Nations for the first time since Italy were admitted to the competition.

They have only one win in eight internationals this year compared to New Zealand's 11 out of 11 tests in 2013 that has seen them retain the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship with a 100 percent record for the second year in a row and complete triple successes over both France and Australia.

They are aiming for their first ever unbeaten calendar year and prop Tony Woodcock admitted it is on the players' minds with matches against England and Ireland to come.

"That's definitely something we want to achieve, it's been mentioned but we know we have to take one day and one game at a time. If we put every amount of focus on that one game, the result will take care of itself," he said.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, who has picked a new half-back pairing in Morgan Parra and Remi Tales, admits his players are the underdogs but insisted they would not accept being a New Zealand punchbag.

"They have a huge desire but also fear, which should be positive," he said.

"We respect New Zealand rugby but we want to show that French rugby exists.

"From a mental point of view, the players are ready. Now it's time to stop talking and show some action, and action is done on the pitch."

Previous France vs. New Zealand encounters have brought some of the finest and most dramatic action ever seen on an international rugby pitch, not least the 1999 World Cup semi-final, regarded by many as the greatest match in RWC history.

Relive the best moments with these video highlights.

Story continues below…


Played:                 54
France wins:         12
New Zealand wins: 41
Drawn:                   1

Highest Scores: France 43-31, 1999; New Zealand 61-10, 2007
Biggest Wins: France 22-8, 1994; New Zealand 61-10, 2007

Last five results
2013 New Plymouth:        NZL 24-9
2013 Addington:           NZL 30-0
2013 Auckland:            NZL 23-13
2011 Auckland (WC final): NZL 8-7
2011 Auckland (WC):       NZL 37-17

Teams (15-1)


Brice Dulin; Yoann Huget, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Maxime Medard; Remi
Tales, Morgan Parra; Wenceslas Lauret, Damien Chouly, Thierry Dusautoir
(capt); Yoann Maestri, Pascal Pape; Nicolas Mas, Benjamain Kayser, Yannick

Replacements: Vincent Debaty, Dimitri Szarzewski, Rabah Slimani, Sebastien
Vahaamahina, Antonie Claassen, Jean-Marc Doussain, Camille Lopez, Gael Fickou

New Zealand
Israel Dagg; Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau; Dan Carter,
Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Messam; Sam Whitelock,
Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua,
Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (RSA)

Kick-off: 9pm local time

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available