It’s the game the All Blacks were secretly hoping to avoid as they take on their arch nemesis France.
The All Blacks were beaten by France in the 1999 Rugby World Cup and ever since then the French have been tough opponents for the world’s best team.
They did, however, get their redemption by beating France in the 2011 World Cup final at Eden Park, but the memories are still fresh and many punters believe the French can pull off the almighty upset once again.
The All Blacks progressed through an easy pool to record four consecutive victories, whereas France weren’t good enough against the sucker-punching Irish in their final pool game, losing 9-24.
Form is somewhat irrelevant when New Zealand play France as it usually provides a tough, forward dominated battle which could come down to the final 10 minutes.
A semi-final spot is up for grabs so expect both teams to give it their all this Sunday morning.
All Blacks vs. France betting markets and tips
All Blacks – $1.16
France – $5.25
Unsurprisingly, the All Blacks opened as the very short favourites with bookmakers, but punters can get the best head-to-head price for the All Blacks at Sportsbet.com.au.
France are at a value price, considering their World Cup history against New Zealand, but it takes a confident punter to place a large bet at the $5.25.
The points start betting option is where the majority of wagers will be placed.
All Blacks (-12.5) – $1.97
France (+12.5) – $1.84
As the market suggests, there has been strong support for France +12.5. The last time these two teams met, the All Blacks won by only seven points.
Granted, the All Blacks had previously beaten France by scores of 24-9 and 30-0, France usually pose a tough challenge, especially in big World Cup games.
The 2011 final was decided by a late Stephen Donald penalty kick which was all that separated the two sides. The All Blacks limped to an 8-7 win at Eden Park after France failed to kick a penalty in the dying minutes.
We think the All Blacks will be victorious on this occasion, but don’t count out the French. The All Blacks have looked average in patches throughout the tournament so far, and for all we know, the French might have taken it easy against Ireland.
All Blacks 2015 World Cup record:
All Blacks 26 – Argentina 16
All Blacks 58 – Namibia 14
All Blacks 43 – Georgia 10
All Blacks 47 – Tonga 9
The All Blacks are 0-4 against the points start this tournament. They failed to cover the big lines set by bookmakers, but they didn’t always play their best side and that shouldn’t be held against them. The -12.5 line is the smallest line they have faced in this World Cup.
France 2015 World Cup record:
France 32 – Italy 10
France 36 – Romania 11
France 41 – Canada 18
France 9 – Ireland 24
France haven’t been overly impressive in their four games to date. Moderate wins against Italy, Romania and Canada were expected, but losing their starting winger against Italy appears to have come at a cost.
The loss against Ireland is tough to weigh up. They shouldn’t have wanted to take on the All Blacks, but some conspiracy theorists say they threw that game. We don’t believe it, but we are expecting a better French team this Sunday morning.
Best bet: All Blacks 1-12 – $2.63 at CrownBet.com.au
All Blacks to win, but not by more than 13 points. To be on the safe side, punters can take France +12.5 at shorter odds, but there is much better value betting the margin market.
Team lineup and first tryscorer markets
All Blacks team list:
Julian Savea – $7.50
Nehe Milner-Skudder – $8.50 at Sportsbet.com.au
Ben Smith – $10
Ma’a Nonu – $11
Conrad Smith – $12
Sonny Bill Williams – $15
Aaron Smith – $15
Kieran Reid – $19
Victor Vito – $19
Sam Cane – $20
Richie McCaw – $21
Dane Coles – $23
Kevin Mealamu – $23
Dan Carter – $23
Tawera Kerr-Barlow – $23
Beauden Barrett – $26
Jerome Kaino – $26
Brodie Retallick – $41
Charlie Faumuina – $41
Sam Whitelock – $46
Joe Moody – $51
Owen Franks – $51
Wyatt Crockett – $51
France team list:
Noa Nakaitaci – $15
Brice Dulin – $17
Wesley Fofana – $17 at Bet365.com
Louis Picamoles – $19
Matthieu Bastareaud – $26
Alexandre Dumoulin – $26
Frederic Michalak – $26
Scott Spedding – $26
Rory Kockott – $34
Yannick Nyanga – $34
Remi Tales – $34
Morgan Parra – $34
Bernard Le Roux – $41
Thierry Dusautoir – $41
Dimitri Szarewski – $51
Guilhem Guirado – $56
Yoann Maestri – $67
Pascal Pape – $67
Rabah Slimani – $81
Eddy Ben Arous – $81
Damien Chouly – $81
Vincent Debaty – $101
Nicolas Mas – $101
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