"Les Bleus vs All Blacks" - Top 5 Moments in France vs New Zealand Matches - Ruck

“Les Bleus vs All Blacks” – Top 5 Moments in France vs New Zealand Matches

The opening match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup is fast approaching over the horizon, and after months of anticipation, fans are ready for the blockbuster clash between France and New Zealand to ignite the competition on Friday September 8th.

France and the All Blacks have one of the longest rivalries in international rugby, with a storied history that dates all the way back to New Years Day, 1906. These two titans of the game have battled it out for over a century, with their 62 total matches generating some truly unforgettable moments.

There is no doubt that the upcoming clash in the Stade de France will be equally as iconic, when the three-time World Champions take on the host nation. Both sides are amongst the four favourites (with Ireland and South Africa) to win the Web Ellis Trophy, and so, with the 2023 Rugby World Cup curtain raiser now just eight days away, here are the top five moments from France vs New Zealand matches.

1. Michael Jones Scores the First Ever Try in a Rugby World Cup Final

New Zealand 29 – 9 France: 1987 Rugby World Cup Final (Eden Park, Auckland)

The original and best for the All Blacks. In 1987, New Zealand and France met in the final of the inaugural Rugby World Cup, with the All Blacks awarded the honour of becoming the first ever winners of the Web Ellis Trophy. The legendary All Blacks flanker Michael Jones put in a stunning performance, and has the unique accolade of being the first man to score a try in a Rugby World Cup Final.

Regarded as the star performer of the 1987 Rugby World Cup, Jones had battled valiantly for the All Blacks all throughout the competition. He made history in the opening pool stage contest against Italy, by diving over to score the first ever Rugby World Cup try, so it was only fitting to have him start off the scoring in the competition’s first ever final.

Jones’ try settled the nerves for the All Blacks, before second half scores from captain David Kirk and flying winger John Kirwan, took the match out of sight for Les Bleus. The fine kicking of Grant Fox added 17 extra points from the boot, as New Zealand built a record-setting margin of victory for a Rugby World Cup Final. The 29-9 win established a 20-point deficit that has stood the test of time, albeit due to France having exhausted their ranks in the previous semi-final win over Australia.

France entered the 1987 final beaten and bruised, and ran out of steam after battling back from trailing three times against the Wallabies. France’s finest hour in ’87 was that 30-24 comeback victory, with their players depleted for the first ever final. However, there can only be one first world champion, with the All Blacks claiming the honours on home soil, some 36 years ago.