Black and Bleu

Skysports.com's rugby union writer Tony Curtis looks back on some of France's past successes against the All Blacks

Last Updated: 20/10/11 1:38pm

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New Zealand may go into Sunday's RWC final as the overwhelming favourites to repeat their success from 1987 - but France have proved in the past that they should not be underestimated.

Some bookmakers have already paid out on the All Blacks winning, while New Zealand fans have been spotted getting commemorative tattoos.

The confidence - or even arrogance - is based on New Zealand's march through the tournament, including a 37-17 romp over France in the pool stages.

The French, themselves, have done little to enhance their reputation - with a further loss to Tonga, a much-criticised win over 14-man Wales and constant reports of disharmony in the camp.

However, Les Bleus are never more dangerous when they have been written off and ahead of the showdown at Eden Park skysports.com looks back on some of France's recent upsets against the All Blacks.

2009 - New Zealand 22 France 27

France recorded their first win on New Zealand soil in 15 years as they took advantage of a weakened All Blacks side.

New Zealand coach Graham Henry was without the likes of Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Conrad Smith for the first Test, but they still had plenty of quality in their ranks.

France played with the freedom that hadn't been seen from them for years, though, and they were rewarded with tries from Maxime Medard, Francois Trinh-Duc and Williams Servat, while Julien Dupuy added 12 points from the boot.

2007 - New Zealand 18 France 20

The most recent of New Zealand's World Cup chokes saw them slump at the Millennium Stadium when massive favourites for victory.

Les Bleus had been trailing 13-3 and 18-13 before Yannick Jauzion crossed for the deciding try - although the All Blacks were left fuming as the pass to the French centre had looked decidedly forward.

Thierry Dusautoir also scored for France as they progressed to the semi-final, while New Zealand, who entered the tournament as the world's top team, were left to wonder what could have been.

2000 - France 42 New Zealand 33

A 27-point haul from Christophe Lamaison kicked the life out of the All Blacks in Marseilles.

Both sides scored three tries apiece - with Fabien Galthie, Xavier Garbajosa and Olivier Magne crossing for France, while Doug Howlett, Justin Marshall and Gordon Slater responded for New Zealand.

However Lamaison added three conversions, five penalties and a couple of drop-goals for good measure to seal the win - and enhance his reputation as New Zealand's nemesis.

1999 - New Zealand 31 France 43

In a match to give New Zealand nightmares, France overturned a Jonah Lomu-inspired 24-10 deficit to reach the World Cup final.

Lomu had helped himself to two tries and was simply unplayable as the All Blacks looked destined to reach the final.

Lamaison, who had only been added to the line-up at the last minute after Thomas Castaignede picked up an injury, had other ideas as weighed in with 28 points and inspired the back division brilliantly.

Richard Dourthe, Christophe Dominici and Philippe Bernat-Salles also scored tries - with Lamaison a playing key role in each - to leave New Zealand stunned.

1994 - New Zealand 20 France 23

New Zealand may not have lost at Eden Park for 17 years but it was Les Bleus who were the last away team to taste victory there.

Emile Ntamack had crossed for a try, while the kicking talents of first Christophe Deylaud and then Thierry Lacroix had kept France in the game.

However they were trailing 20-16 with three minutes left, when they launched a trademark French counterattack from their own 22 after Matthew Cooper had failed to find touch. Nine players touched the ball in total, with Jean-Luc Sadourny diving over for the match-winning try - a score rated up with the greatest of all time.

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