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Can France Finally Win the Rugby World Cup?

21st September 2023 Print

France have had tremendous bad luck at Rugby World Cups, suffering three defeats in the finals. The class of 2023 is determined to put things right, and Fabien Galthie’s troops are genuine contenders to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

France in the Mix

Predicting the Rugby World Cup winner is never an easy task. The likes of New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia are usually there or thereabouts, while the Home Nation and Ireland are also tipped to go far. With the 2023 edition taking place on home ground, France are expected to go far this year. Looking at the latest odds on the Rugby World Cup, the hosts are available at 3/1 to win the competition for the first time.

They kicked off the tournament with a stunning victory over New Zealand at the Stade de France. The atmosphere was electric after the opening ceremony, and the French crowd roared their nation to glory in Saint-Denis.

The New Zealanders are arguably the best rugby country in the world, but France made light work of the All Blacks. What's more impressive is they picked up a 27-13 win without their returning captain, Anthony Jelonch, and in front of almost 80,000 spectators. France are desperate to build on that with more Pool A wins before they can turn their attention to the knockout phase of the tournament.

Three Final Defeats

France have lost out in the finals on three occasions. They were introduced to this feeling at the first ever Rugby World Cup. This took place in Australia and New Zealand in 1987 where the French went all the way to the final but were easily beaten by the All Blacks.

History repeated itself in 2011, as the French were once again beaten by New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland. It was a far tighter game this time, with the All Blacks edging the final 8-7.

France were also runners-up in the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Wales. Australia were waiting in the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and the Wallabies secured a comfortable 35-12 win.

Can the Blues Go One Better in 2023?

France headed into their home World Cup in fine fettle. Before the New Zealand match, the Blues sealed successive victories over Scotland, Fiji, and Australia.

Earlier this year, they finished runners-up to Ireland in the 2023 Six Nations Championship. The French won four of the five matches, beating Italy, Scotland, England, and Wales. The victory over the English was special, as Galthie’s troops ran out 53-10 winners at Twickenham Stadium.

France have been building nicely under Galthie, who took over in 2019. They have an incredible squad of players with the perfect blend of youth and experience, and the big win over New Zealand in game one was a real statement of intent.

Of course, several nations will have the same idea on French soil, and the hosts will have to beat the very best if they are to win their first World Cup crown. However, home advantage is key in rugby, especially in the Rugby World Cup, and France will be tough to beat on their own patch.