It wasn’t until I started the #RugbyChat that I understood how France worries Kiwis more than any other team come Rugby World Cup time. There is this belief that France always comes good at Rugby World Cups, well let’s look at their results and see.
The seed for this piece was an article in the New Zealand Herald called Stats that explode chokers myth. They have come to the same conclusions that I did back in November with Have the All Blacks peaked mid-cycle? I want to take their numbers and look at it from another angle.
Let’s compare France with the other “big 5” as the Herald calls them.
If anything this suggests that France are the worst of the “Big 5” at Rugby World Cups, if only marginally worse than England by a game or two. With their record of making at least the semifinal in all but one Rugby World Cups this is surprising but as there have been 7 Rugby World Cups that means they have lost or drawn 6 pool games.
Clearly looking at these stats New Zealand should not be worried by France at Rugby World Cups or at least worried about other teams more.
Let’s look at the games just between New Zealand and France at Rugby World Cups:
Even if we look at games between the two sides New Zealand have won 4 and lost 2. The other 4 losses were:
Not only do Australia and South Africa have better records at Rugby World Cups than France but they have also beaten the All Blacks twice each.
My conclusion is that Kiwis paranoia with France is unjustified and that they should be just as, if not more, concerned about their Southern Hemisphere neighbours.