'Greatest Rugby World Cup Rivalry': New Zealand Meet France In Opener

PARIS (AP) — A brief history of Rugby World Cup matches between France and New Zealand before they meet again on Friday on the opening night of the 10th tournament at the Stade de France.

1987 final: New Zealand 29, France 9 in Auckland

The inaugural final was too one-sided at Eden Park to be considered great. New Zealand’s forward power and open play set up tries for Michael Jones, David Kirk and John Kirwan. Grant Fox’s relentlessly accurate boot added 17 points. France trailed 29-3 before a late try by Pierre Berbizier.

1999 semifinal: France 43, New Zealand 31 in London

Jonah Lomu’s two tries put title favorite New Zealand up 24-10 as scripted just after halftime at Twickenham. But France flyhalf Christope Lamaison, in for the injured Thomas Castaignede, chipped at the lead with dropped goals, penalties and conversions to three tries: 33 points in 29 mind-blowing minutes capped one of the greatest comebacks.

2003 bronze final: New Zealand 40, France 13 in Sydney

A full-strength New Zealand side, stung by the semifinal loss to Australia, was too strong and slick for a second-string France team. The All Blacks scored six tries to one but the match was a flat affair.

2007 quarterfinal: France 20, New Zealand 18 in Cardiff

Tournament host France was given no chance far from home against big title favorite New Zealand. The All Blacks dominated without scoring enough. France hustled and held on and went ahead for good from some Frederic Michalak magic that set Yannick Jauzion free for a converted try. A blatant forward pass was missed, and the All Blacks missed the semifinals for the first time.

2011 pool: New Zealand 37, France 17 in Auckland

New Zealand celebrated captain Richie McCaw’s 100th cap in style. The All Blacks led 19-0 after 21 minutes and 29-3 in the second half. France coach Marc Lievremont was forced to deny accusations he fielded a deliberately weakened squad.

2011 final: New Zealand 8, France 7 in Auckland

France overcame two pool losses and a player revolt to almost win the World Cup. New Zealand missed three goalkicks but led 8-0 after a penalty kick by fourth-choice flyhalf Stephen Donald. France captain Thierry Dusautoir’s converted try cut the gap to one with 23 minutes to go. But New Zealand ended a 20-year drought to be crowned world champion, led by captain Richie McCaw playing on a broken foot.

2015 quarterfinal: New Zealand 62, France 13

France was humiliated by a record World Cup defeat. Julian Savea scored three of defending champion New Zealand’s nine tries, one of them through three defenders, and eqauled the single tournament record of eight tries by Jonah Lomu (1999) and Bryan Habana (2007).


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