After two pool play defeats and an indifferent semi final victory over Wales, France have been tagged as overwhelming underdogs for the rugby world cup final against New Zealand at Eden Park on Sunday.
But All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who for the finale has kept faith with the side that dominated Australia in the semis, was full of praise for his Sunday opponents.
He said: “They feel they’re not being considered in this final by a lot of people. We don’t think that. We think they’re a very good rugby team. They’ve got some outstanding players and it’s going to be a huge final.”
New Zealand media believe France could resort to their former style of ill-discipline and foul play to get the better of the hosts, but France hooker William Servat disagrees.
‘‘I think that there are a lot of sentences, a lot of stories that revolve around this game, we’ve seen some names cited. It feels like they are trying to temp the referee to read all but I’m not sure we are such bad boys and I don’t think I’ve ever been given a red card for example,’‘ said Servat.
France have beaten the Blacks twice in their three world cup encounters – the one they lost was in the final of the inaugural competition in 1987 at Eden Park – venue for Sunday’s game.