Rugby World Cup: Why France and New Zealand face each other in the first match

Rugby World Cup: Why France and New Zealand face each other in the first match

France – New Zealand. You don't need to be a rugby expert to know that this is a huge shock. France XV, one of the big favorites for the World Cup on home soil, will challenge the New Zealand ogre, the haka and the three world champion titles to its name, in Friday's opening match at 21. But how can there be a duel that feels like a final from day one?

To do this, we must go back to the draw held in December 2020. At that time, for the composition of the different hats, the world rankings as of January 1, 2020 have priority. Consequently, France, who finished seventh on that date, were placed in Pot Two alongside Ireland, Australia and Japan. Fabian Galthie's team could therefore fall into the group of South Africa, New Zealand, England or Wales.

“How could we miss such a poster? »

Thanks to the lucky hand of chef Guy Savoy, the All Blacks eventually found themselves in Group A with the host country's tricolour. A draw can be considered good news because if they qualify, the Blues could avoid the Kiwis until the final! As a reminder, the two teams share the rest of the group with Italy, Uruguay, and Namibia.

So it was also possible for the French XV to face one of its three teams. The choice to start with a shock against the All Blacks was made by the World Cup Organizing Committee in February 2021. “How could we miss such a poster in the opening match? “It was impossible.” This was simply justified by the head of France 2023, Claude Accher, who nevertheless admitted that “financial and sporting considerations” played a role.

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All tickets will be sold out for the opening match at the Stade de France, with all seats already sold out. For those unlucky, it will be broadcast live on TF 1 at 9pm on Friday.

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