Rugby World Cup: New Zealand firm final favourites against France

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New Zealand’s ruthless dismantling of Australia in their World Cup semi final has seen them installed as big 1/8 favouirtes for their final against France.

The All Blacks were impressive against Australia, but their odds have as much to do with France’s uninspiring performance against Wales as their own good form.

France failed to score a single try in their 9-8 victory over a Wales side who were reduced to 14 men for over an hour of the game after captain Sam Warburton was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Vincent Clerc.

Marc Livermont’s side are now out at 6/1 to win their first ever World Cup after losing twice in the final in 1987 and 1999.

The odds and the form guide may be against the French, but New Zealand have a reputation for choking in the latter stages of the World Cup – and France have a very good record against the All Blacks in the competition.

New Zealand won the inaugural title in 1987 when they destroyed France 29-9, but things have been difficult for the Southern Hempisphere giants since then and they have yet to win a second title – despite heading into the previous four tournaments as favourites.

They lost the final in 1995 and haven’t even reached that stage since – losing to France in the 1999 semi finals, Australia at the same stage in 2003 and France again in the 2007 quarter finals.

It would take a huge improvement on France’s behalf to upset the odds and beat New Zealand but, with the pressure mounting on the All Blacks and France’s good record over previous tournaments, they shouldn’t be completely discounted.

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