Match Preview: France v NZ

France V New Zealand
Saturday 31st October 2009, 5:00pm at the Stade Ernest Wallon

Match build up

Following their debut in the competition last Friday France play their first game on home soil. They’ll definitely have to use this to their advantage if they are to get anything from this one.

Newcomers to the competition this year they showed in the first half of their game against England that they are capable of mixing it. Fitness, composure and nerve however evaded them in the second and they let in 30 unanswered points. They must learn from that and try to compete for longer rather than peak too soon.

In their last five attempts Les Tricolores have failed to beat the Kiwis. That said, only 8 points divided them last time while a 4 point win for New Zealand in 2004 can give France hope. They have undoubtedly

New Zealand were on fire against Australia and will want a repeat of that this time round. The Kiwis had a tough hit out against Tonga prior to flying to the northern hemisphere and boy could this prove to be a masterstroke from Stephen Kearney. His team certainly hit the ground running last weekend and looked like they could be serious competitors this year.

For France David Ferriol is suspended for his strike on Kevin Sinfield, while Jean Phillipe Baile is able to play following his red card. The Kiwis have Leeds bound Greg Eastwood available following a hamstring injury but Bronson Harrison is expected to miss out with a calf strain.

Stat Attack

These two have met 30 times in France, with New Zealand winning 15 and France 11 with four drawn. France’s last win was 6-5 at Perpignan in 1980. Since then New Zealand have remained unbeaten in 18 matches, including a draw. After drawing 16-16 at Palmerston North in 1995 New Zealand have won the last six encounters.

Form guide

France – LLLLW
L 12-34 V England, Doncaster, 23 October 09 – Four Nations 09 Game 1
12-66 V England, Paris, 13 June 09 – International Match
L 10-42 V Samoa, Penrith, 9 November 08 – RLWC 9th Place Play Off
L 42-6 V Fiji, Wollongong, 1 November 08 – RLWC Group Game
W 36-18 V Scotland, Canberra, 26 October 08 – RLWC Group Game

New Zealand – DWLWW
D 20-20 V Australia, 24 October 09 – Four Nations 09 Game 2
W 40-24 V Tonga, Auckland, 14 October 09 – International Match
L 38-10 V Australia, Brisbane, 8 May 09 – Anzac Test
W 34-20 V Australia, Brisbane, 22 November 08 – RLWC Final
W 32-22 V England, Brisbane, 15 November 08 – RLWC Semi-Final

Last five meetings

New Zealand 22-14 France, Paris, 17 November 07 – International Match
New Zealand 38-22 France, Toulouse, 18 November 05 – International Match
New Zealand 24-20 France, Carcassone, 12 November 04 – International Match
New Zealand 36-10 France, Perpignan, 30 November 02 – International Match
New Zealand 36-0 France, Auckland, 10 June 01 – International Match

Total Meetings

  • Played - 52
  • France - 14
  • New Zealand - 33
  • Drawn 5
Tournament record
  • n/a

Key battles

Sebastien Raguin V Junior Sau
Former Toulouse centre and second rower Raguin has played in Super League for three years and can be a real handful. Had a good game against England last week and is one of the more experienced French players with XX caps to his name. His opposite number Sau made his international debut in the recent game against Tonga. Boy oh boy is this lad a big un! The Newcastle Knight caused the Aussies several problems in NZ’s opening Four Nations game. Just 22 years of age he has a huge career ahead of him.

Oliver Elima V Frank Pritchard
Taking over from Jerome Guisset, captain Elima is a tough tackling second rower. Enjoyed his best season in Super League and knows several members of the side will be looking to him to lead the way. Pritchard is an athletic forward who can rip holes in any defence, reads the game very well and is always on hand to lead the side. Turns 26 a few days after this game and will want a try or two as his own present.

Kane Bentley V Thomas Leuluai
Born in Auckland, Bentley moved to France as a youngster and played a lot of rugby learning his trade. Having played for UTC (Catalans feeder club) he was promoted in 2007 and has blossomed into some hooker. He will come up against our very own Tommy, the only Super League player in the NZ squad he showed why Stephen Kearney likes him so much last week. Had a great game controlling the ruck against the Kangaroos and if fit he will cause France problems too.

Referee

Aussie Shayne Hayne has been given the honours for this one. One of the top NRL refs, he is Australia’s representative in the Four Nations. Hayne has been refereeing top flight rugby for eight years and has took charge of several State of Origin games and this years NRL Grand Final. Hayne was also an official at the 2008 world cup.

Key info

The game takes place at Stade Ernest Wallon. For more information [click here].

TV Coverage

  • LIVE – Saturday 31 Oct, 4:55pm, Sky Sports 2
  • Replays – Throughout the night and next day - Sky Sports
  • Highlights – Sunday 1 Nov Four Nations Tournament Highlights, 10:45pm - BBC Two

Recent News & Media

A very good day: Farrell
Faz is a legend: Marshall
Taking positives: Lam
Rhinos overcome Warriors