Rugby World Cup: erratic France big outsiders to beat New Zealand
Despite naming an unchanged team, France’s preparations for their second ever Rugby World Cup final have hardly been perfect.
France were far from convincing in their semi-final win over 14-man Wales but that same team will be tasked with seeing off overwhelming 1/9 favourites New Zealand.
Coach Marc Lievremont has been vocal in his criticism of his players this week, both for their performance against Wales and for their behaviour off the pitch that saw several players defie his orders not to go out and celebrate their semi final win.
The mood in the camp is far from encouraging and the odds on them winning make for even more disappointment for the French.
They are out at a massive 13/2 to win their first World Cup and it’s hard to find anyone who can see them snatching the Webb Ellis trophy from the hosts’ grasp.
Meanwhile, everything seems to be ticking along very nicely for the All Blacks.
They can go into the final confident that stand-in fly-half Aaron Cruden has more than enough quality to deputise for the injured Dan Carter.
Cruden has been excellent since he was called up as a late replacement for Carter and was solid in their semi final victory against Australia, scoring a crucial drop goal.
His rapidly improving kicking out of hand and ice-cool demeanour should prove vital weapons for New Zealand against the French as they look to win their first World Cup since 1987.