Originally Posted by MontyB
I don't think you understand just how apprehensive New Zealand was over that match, there was a huge collective national sigh of relief when the full time whistle went but I wouldn't judge the French rugby team from that performance they are a phenomenal team and when it counts will perform better however tonight they met a New Zealand team that was not going to give them an inch.
Trust me as a Kiwi we have learnt how dangerous France are if you let them get on the front foot and if I am prepared to bet that a sizeable proportion of the country would choose France to win this thing if we can't.
So were the French! The Front Page of "Le Monde" on Friday was "Le Mer Noire" (the Black Sea, a good analogy) referring to all the All Blacks. Of all the teams playing, it was the All Blacks the French were dreading the most.
The All Blacks played spectacularly, once they got up a full head of steam they were like a Tsunami against the French Defense...simply overwhelming and unstoppable (like the sea). You guys have the right to be proud of your team, it was truly a wonderful display.
In French Rugby (and Football), the focus on always a very strong Defense, it is always key to victory for French teams. France can only win if the Defense can completely shut down the opposing offense. Unfortunately for "Les Bleues" ever since the tournament started the defense has simply been asleep. The narrow victory against Japan got everyone worried about how off the defense was.
The offense played as expected, but there was no hope to win against a offense minded team like the Blacks unless the defense was there...which it wasn't.
They will probably still qualify for the quarterfinals, but they had better get their defense in better shape otherwise the tournament is going to be over quickly.
As for the Blacks, if they don't win it all this year, I don't know what else to say. They've got both the team, and home-field advantage.
This is their year.