The party is already promising. The authors of the draw for the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023 had a happy hand on Monday, December 14 at the Palais Brongniart. From the group stage, the Blues will face the All Blacks. The certainty of not seeing the giants of the South again before the final, in the event of an ideal scenario.
Because no one can doubt that in this pool A, the two teams that will come out of these preliminary debates to reach the quarter-finals will be France and New Zealand. The two teams will be accompanied by Italy, and once the qualifications have been organized, which should offer by 2023 eight places for the World Cup, an American team (probably the United States or Canada) and an African team (probably Namibia or Kenya).
Like at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand
This France-New Zealand from the outset is in fact the repetition of the 2011 World Cup which took place among the leaders of the Pacific. The two nations faced each other in the first round on September 24: a stinging memory for the Blues, defeated 37-17 and five tries to two. But the two rivals met in the final on October 23, for a similar conclusion but otherwise more debated. A very small point in advance for the Blacks (8-7), and an eternal regret for the Blues, passed so close to the feat.
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Time for revenge in 2023? At least the certainty of an additional chapter in a very long common history. The All Blacks occupy a special place in the saga of the Blues, because they are the ones who participated in the birth certificate of the French rugby team. It was the 1er June 1906, the first official match of the Blues, thirteen years before the constitution of the French Rugby Federation. We spoke at the time of “football-rugby”. But the All Blacks were already masters of the oval. And they had devoured 38-8 of the small Blues all happy to have at least managed to plant a test.
A saga spanning over a century
A victory over these southern monsters was to be expected for a long time. Until February 27, 1954 exactly. A new tour of the Blacks in the northern hemisphere, for about thirty matches, including this duel with the Blues in Colombes. A match of big arms, a fury of unbreathable forwards. The Blues had scored a try in the first half (3-0, the test then worth three points), and the score had not changed. Even if in the second half, the Blacks had camped 32 minutes in the tricolor half of the field.
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Winning is good, but winning in New Zealand is better. The French are cockardiers, and they therefore apply to do so in 1979, July 14. The gang of Jean-Pierre Rives, Jérôme Gallion, Jean-Michel Aguirre, Robert Paparemborde and Philippe Dintrans made history that day by making their opponents go crazy (24-19). A festival, but almost nothing compared to this October 31, 1999, in the semi-finals of the World Cup at Twickenham.
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The Blues are there and it’s already huge, so much their V Nations Tournament was sad to cry (last), their summer tour in New Zealand calamitous, and their course in the competition almost a hold-up. But no doubt they are transcended by this meeting. They won 43-31 after a dazzling match. This is often the case with Blacks. Roll on 2023.
The groups :
Group A: New Zealand, France, Italy, America 1, Africa 1
Group B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Asia / Pacific 1, Europe 2
Group C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Europe 1, repechage tournament winner
Group D: England, Japan, Argentina, Oceania 1, America 2