France is always the bridesmaid, never the bride when it comes to the RWC.
They’ve reached 3 Grand Finals, 3 Semi Finals and 3 Quarter Finals.
They, along with Ireland, are always the wildcards during this tournament and are perhaps the number one side at producing big upsets.
A world ranking of 7 puts them in the top echelon of rugby powerhouses. They might not be busting the top four, but they’ve beaten nearly every team in it in the past 10 years.
This could very well be the year of the Frog and here is three reasons why.
1. New Zealands Kryptonite
If France meet New Zealand in the Quarter Finals (which is a very real possibility), they will go in with a mental edge over the current World Champs.
France has been the vein of nearly every New Zealand World Cup Campaign including facing them twice in the Final (nearly beating them last time) not to mention two early exits in 2007 and 1999 which were caused thanks to the French.
Its a consistency the French love to draw upon and no doubt it will weigh hugely on the All Blacks minds if they are to face each other in the quarters.
2. The Cheetah
Wesley Fofana is a game winner for the French. He’s one of those players that can carry a team through the hard times.
During his time at Clermont he has shown amazing ball skills, combined with freakish speed and the ability to bust through defence like a knife through butter.
The French have never lacked flair with their backs, but he will be a standout and will give them added arsenal on the counter-attack.
3. The Underestimated Factor
A big reason behind France’s World Cup success is constant underestimation by other teams and ‘expert’ panels.
The French are able to pull out some of the best counter attacking in World Rugby at a time when it matters; the sign of a great team.
They carry the label of a good side that will always be 2nd best and I’m sure that they’ll want to shed that, especially on the turf of one of their biggest rivals, England.
As mentioned earlier, they are one of the best teams in world rugby for producing upsets and the RWC stage is the best place to do it.
The only threat in their pool will be Ireland with the winner of their pool presumably taking on New Zealand.
Its hard to see the French making it past the All Blacks this time round, should the two meet in the quarterfinals. However, we cannot rule them out. If they can topple the All Blacks, there is no reason why they can’t go all the way. But for argument sakes we will say they drop the quarterfinal in a valiant effort and will once again bail out of the Rugby World Cup without the desired glory.