the Blues challenge the Blacks and their legend

By Laurent LouetFor TVMagazine

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The players of the XV of France Federico Pestellini / PANORAMIC

In the opening match of the 2023 World Cup which takes place until October 28, the XV of France faces its New Zealand counterpart at the Stade de France and on TF1.

As the opening of the World Cup, rugby fans could not have asked for more. This Friday in Saint-Denis and live on TF1 (9 p.m.), France, the organizing country, faces New Zealand, a historical and global reference, in the inaugural match of the 2023 World Cup.

Placed in pool A on the occasion of the 1er round (with Italy, Namibia and Uruguay), the two selections are among the favorites of the tournament. And dispute from the outset a meeting which takes on the appearance of a final before the hour. In any case, this is what the supporters of the XV of France hope for.

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The history of rugby

In sixty-two official confrontations, the All Blacks largely dominate the Blues: they have won forty-eight times, losing only thirteen times to the French, for a single small draw. It’s the 1er June 1906 in Paris that took place the first face-to-face, which is also the first official match of the French team, beaten 38 points to 8. It took forty-eight years for the French to l won for the first time, in 1954, with a score of… 3-0. Since then, the meetings between the two selections have often given rise to tough and fierce fights, which have written the history of rugby.

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No one has forgotten the victory of the XV of France led by its brave captain Jean-Pierre Rives, on July 14, 1979 on the lawn of Eden Park in Auckland. That day, “Golden Helmet” and its heroic players offered France its first success (19-24) in New Zealand.

Eight years after this victory, the French were beaten (29-9) in this same stadium in the final of the 1987 Rugby World Cup, the first in history. Les Blanco, Sella, Charvet, Mesnel, Berbizier, Champ, Lorieux and Garuet watch their “all black” opponents lift the William Webb Ellis Cup.

The Colossus Jonah Lomu

A real heartbreak that the incredible performance in the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup cannot erase. On October 31 in Cardiff, the French rugby team nevertheless achieved one of its most famous feats by winning (43-31) after a match with an improbable scenario. At the 56e minute, Christophe Dominici mystifies the colossus Jonah Lomu to score a legendary try. It was Australia, however, that was crowned that year.

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How not to remember the final of the 2011 World Cup? If the New Zealanders win a second world title (8-7) at the expense of the Blues, the real heroes are called Dusautoir, Harinordoquy, Yachvili, Clerc, Médard or Parra. The French XV formed against the Haka of the All Blacks was not enough to ensure victory…

November 20, 2021 put an end to an interminable series of fifteen defeats for the XV of France, the worst in the history of matches against his best enemy. Antoine Dupont and his teammates won 40-25, the biggest points difference ever inflicted on their New Zealand counterparts. A founding success for the coach, Fabien Galthié, who used the lessons of this match to prepare for the 2023 World Cup.

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