A match between France and New Zealand is a great rugby union classic. Before meeting again on Friday September 8 at the opening of the 2023 World Cup, the French and New Zealanders faced each other 62 times, including 7 in the World Cup.
The All Blacks have won 48 times, the French 13 times, with one confrontation ending in a draw. A look back at this rivalry with a selection of ten matches that left their mark on memories.
►1906, a double first
On June 1, 1906, the French public discovered the New Zealand rugby players, who already formed the best XV on the planet. This first France-New Zealand in history also constitutes the very first meeting contested by a French XV on the international scene. The visitors won largely (38-8) in Paris in the former Parc des Princes.
►1954, the first French success
On February 27, 1954, at the Colombes stadium, the French won their first victory against the New Zealanders (3-0). The only points scored were the work of Lourdais Jean Prat, the 3rd row and captain of the Tricolores, who scored a try worth 3 points at the time.
►1979, a glorious July 14th in the antipodes
Never has a French team experienced success on New Zealand soil. This deficiency was repaired on July 14, 1979. At Eden Park in Auckland, Jean-Pierre Rives’ Blues ended a series of seven defeats in New Zealand by finally beating the All Blacks (24-19), a national holiday.
►1987, the All Blacks masters of the world
The first edition of the World Cup ends with a dream final between New Zealand, co-host country, and France. Winners of the Australians in the semi-final, the Blues cannot prevent the All Blacks from triumphing at home in Auckland (29-9).
►1994, the end of the world essay
Already winners of a first test match in New Zealand, the French did it again a week later (23-21), on July 3, 1994. They won at the last minute by scoring a try called Jean-Luc Sadourny “the end of the world test”, which is still celebrated as one of the finest in rugby history. For the first time, the Blues won both test matches in a series in New Zealand.
►1999, the major feat at Twickenham
On October 31, 1999, at Twickenham, the French team accomplished the greatest feat in its history. Led 24-10 by the New Zealanders in the semi-final of the World Cup, the French turned the tide of the game and qualified for the final (43-31), thanks in particular to Christophe Dominici.
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During the 1999 World Cup, the #XVdeFrance faces the All Blacks in the semi-final ????
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) September 5, 2023
►2007, the Blues eliminate the Blacks again
Once again, on October 6, 2007, the French found the New Zealanders on their way to the World Cup, in the quarter-final, in Cardiff, Wales. Even before kick-off, a scene stands out: during the All Blacks’ haka, the French march towards their opponents. Guided by their captain Thierry Dusautoir, the Blues inflicted on the All Blacks a defeat experienced as a trauma in New Zealand (20-18).
►2011, the great French frustration
On October 23, 2011, the French met the New Zealanders in the final of the World Cup, in Auckland. Big favorites, the All Blacks were jostled by the French who dominated the end of the match, without managing to take the advantage. New Zealand wins its second world title, by a single point (8-7).
►2015, the Blues overwhelmed
Four years later, the gap has widened between the two selections. On October 17, 2015, in Cardiff, in the quarter-final of the World Cup, the New Zealanders overwhelmed the French, scoring nine tries. Their victory is clear (62-13).
►2021, the largest French victory
This is the latest confrontation between the two teams. On November 20, 2021, at the Stade de France, the XV of France confirms its rise in power by dominating New Zealand (40-25). The biggest score gap ever recorded in favor of the French.
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