New Zealand: Why the Blues are favorites against the All Blacks

New Zealand: Why the Blues are favorites against the All Blacks

After being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Wales four years ago, the Blues are attacking the World Cup on home soil with confidence and ambition. They have the weapons to dominate the All Blacks on Friday (9:15pm) during their opener.

It's the big day of the 15th of France. The World Cup will open on Friday evening with a summit clash against New Zealand at Stade de France (kick-off at 9:15pm). Antoine Dupont's Blues are destined to become the first team in French rugby history to win the world title. But before thinking about a potential final, we must first negotiate this encounter against a fearsome All Blacks side. A match that symbolizes the culmination of several years of work for Fabien Galthier, who took over the leadership of this team at the beginning of 2020 when it was ranked seventh in the world.

>> Live – Follow the confrontation between France and New Zealand

At the time of his appointment, his rhetoric was immediately very clear: we must win games again, win trophies and become a strong rugby nation again. From the start, during the Six Nations, the Blues managed to defeat the English vice-champions. For several months, they continued to beat anyone who stood in their way. And the big names: New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Australia… No country is up to this task.

France even offers itself a Grand Slam title in 2022, twelve years after the last tournament, and also erases sad records. In 2020, it is the first victory in Cardiff in 10 years (23-27). In 2021, the first victory in Dublin in 10 years (13-15), the first victory in Australia in 31 years (26-28), and even a historic success against the All Blacks (+15, 40-25, previous) scored +14 Dated 1994). In 2022, there is the Grand Slam, then in 2023 a historic victory in England (10-53), ending a series of nine defeats for the Blues on English soil. Today it ranks third in the world.

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“All Blacks” is less scary…

Despite some injuries, and Roman Ntamack up front, the Blues never looked ready when it came time to attack in the World Cup. In contrast, the legendary All Blacks, three-time world champions, are less formidable than usual. Although last July they won the last rugby championship, the competition in the southern hemisphere, they have suffered extraordinary defeats in recent months. Historical setbacks due to their difference: against France in 2021 or against South Africa two weeks ago in preparation, which is the worst in their history (35-7). They are having difficulty replenishing their workforce and are going through a governance crisis in a country where they have always been the standard bearers. But beware, these players, keen to silence critics, have one statistic going for them: in 31 World Cup group stage matches, they have never lost.

“I'm sure they can come back and go all the way,” says former All Blacks player Dan Carter in an interview with AFP. “This will be the closest World Cup ever, with Ireland, South Africa and France all playing.” Great rugby. There is something between the French and the All Blacks and the history of World Cup finals goes back to the first tournament in 1987. When they played against each other in the final and we also know what happened in 1999 when the French won. In a great match that eliminated the All Blacks in the semi-final, I would love to see the All Blacks and the French meet again in the final. The same confidence in former New Zealand fullback Mills Molina, the 2011 world champion who is in France to watch the World Cup as a consultant.

'I think the All Blacks will beat the French. I hope they do it. It will be a tough game. The rugby team can do it. I hope it will be a close game in the tournament, for us rugby fans.' I'm really looking forward to it (…) We have a great team with experienced players as well as the coaching staff, and their motivation will be to win this first match to get a good start in the tournament. We lost our last match to South Africa, and this will set the tone for the rest of the tournament because the team The host usually plays the first match against a lower level country, he explained in an interview with RMC Sport.

…But be careful not to underestimate them

But New Zealanders, lacking leaders, appear to be suffering the blow. But for our advisor Denis Charvet, be careful not to underestimate them too much. “The Blacks are great compared to the popular enthusiasm in France. It increases the sauce. We need a show. This match is very dangerous in the sense that we must not lose it. If we lose it, it will have serious consequences.” The match against Italy will be decisive, before moving to the quarter-finals. The World Cup is a marathon, you have to know how to manage your time,” said the former World Cup midfielder. She added: “We have been seduced by this French team for four years, they have played amazing matches.” And he wins. “It is a victorious French team, which allows us to dream of this title. The expectation is huge.”

Max Gozzini, the former symbolic president of the Stade de France and a key figure in French rugby, wants to be very quiet. “In favor of Ireland and Africa, we will be in the 'Apolline Matin' on the RMC. In France – the place where the English language is not at home at this moment – will be answered at all.” The North African country and it is formidable because it is not a favorite country in the country: South Africa, Ireland and the All Blacks I would like to know that this transformer is located in France. On an insider, Fabien Galthié, who is a transformer in this equipment of France, wants to choose his condition. “Psychological state of mind.”

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Florian Grill, president of the French Rugby Union, also need not worry: “Our players are driven by their mission and want to bring smiles back to the country. They have prepared like crazy for four years and they want to experience a crazy team adventure.” In recent days, the All Blacks have taken it upon themselves to put pressure on Blues through increased praise. “France are probably one of the best teams in the world,” third-row Ardi Savea said. “It will be a physical match, and we have to be attentive to their many qualities and what they have to offer.” At the start of the World Cup, New Zealand will have to deal with second-row Brody Retallick, who has a knee injury, and third-row winger Shannon Frizell, who has a hamstring injury.

The All Blacks also withdrew center Jordie Barrett from the opener, replacing him with the experienced Anton Lienert Brown. Winger Emoni Narawa, who suffered a back injury in training on Monday, will miss the entire World Cup.

RR with Wilfred Templier

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