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'Weakest in history': France will 'trounce' All Blacks in opener says former French international

By Ben Smith
Cameron Woki of France reacts during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Former French international Olivier Magne has brutally labelled the 2023 All Blacks the “weakest in history” ahead of the Rugby World Cup opener in Paris on Friday night.


Magne, who was a part of the famous 1999 side that upset New Zealand in the semi-final, believed that there was only three real contenders for this year’s World Cup.

He predicted a “tough” opening game for the All Blacks as a “humiliation” could be on the cards similar to what France dealt to England during the Six Nations.

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“To me, the Big Three of this World Cup is France, SA and Ireland,” said former France flanker Olivier Magne in the columns of Midi Olympique.

“I am especially worried about this New Zealand team.

“When I see the level that the XV of France is able to display over 80 minutes today against Australia, with “finishers” who have maintained the same level of performance, and the determination of these players, this opening game could be tough for the All Blacks,” he wrote referring to Les Bleus’ 47-17 victory over the Wallabies.

Magne felt that the 35-7 win by South Africa exposed the All Blacks for who they really are, which called into question the “sham” results of the Rugby Championship.

“South Africa’s display against New Zealand is significant for the world of rugby,” he wrote.

“Now, isn’t this All Black team the weakest in history? I’m wondering. Really. I feel like New Zealand’s Rugby Championship wins were a bit of a sham.”


The rhetoric has been so intense that All Blacks defence coach Scott McLeod told media he is happy that his players “can’t read French” as they try to put all their focus into the first pool match.

He revealed that they have reviewed the 2021 match, the last time the two sides met which resulted in a 40-25 win to France in Paris.

“That hurt and we have held on to that a little bit. A couple of clips have been shown, which still hurts the boys.”

The team has been dissecting the loss to South Africa as the try to find solutions for the misfiring lineout and potentially having to play with men in bin.


“We spent a fair bit of time in Germany going through that and looking at the footage and what we could have done better. Responding to the ref was one takeaway that will be consistent through this World Cup,” he said.

“However, the big areas we looked at were around the lineout, and how we responded to some tactics that the South Africans brought, but also what we didn’t adjust [to] both in the lineout, [in defence] and around it as well, particularly with a man down, two men down.

“How we defend that, it is not something we want to train [for] or be aware of, but it’s something we have to, in today’s climate.”




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brian 299 days ago

Magne, who does he think he is? he was a member of more losing French Teams against the All Blacks that he wouldn't want to remember! He was a big useless last to the breakdown slow as a wet week player, he was virtually useless! I have seen French Teams play many, many times against the All Blacks and without getting my Rugby Bible out, I'm sure they never won a game! They spend more time jogging on the spot and either running backward more than they ever went forward! ~ The French have never been a good Rugby team and I remember the 1960's Touring Team to New Zealand who got flogged big time as I said they;ve never ever been a top tier team The team at this World Cup has as many Foreign Players than French players! ~ Another one also is the All Blacks owe the Chooks big time as they have never forgotten that four metre forward pass to a French player to score a try verified by the Referee who is at this World Cup, and beat the All Blacks by a couple of points, then promptly got put out of the Competition after the next game! It's called cheating! The All Blacks have not been the TOP team playing the game for over a hundred years for nothing, ~ check the records, and remember there's not one team playing the game that beat the All Blacks regularly! So prepare yourself Mr Magne to get you BUTT kicked by the Kiwis come game time!

Backinblack 312 days ago

So Magne… the weakest AB team in AB history scored two brilliant tries and held your highly fancied number one team to a 7 point game right up to the 73rd minute. Plus with France having 30 professional teams in two divisions to 5 professional teams in NZ the score line was pathetic…on this basis the score line should have been 50-0 to France.

B.J. Spratt 312 days ago

Well Peter it wasn't such a "dumb" comment and most of us agreed with "Magne"

Motivation based on "negativity" has never worked Peter.

Ireland or South Africa. . . Really doesn't matter. . . Either or will beat the All Blacks and then Foster will have completed the World Rugby Worst Trifecta. Worst Coach, Worst All Black Team and Worst Rugby World Cup Result in 36 years.

Totally predictable by thinking New Zealand rugby pundits, except the New Zealand TAB Bookies and the "Breakdown"

It will be interesting what "Wilson, J.K. and Mils will say tonight.

Mind you "Being "Yes Men pays their wages. Same as 'Foster" "Schmidt' and "Sam"

Overall, not good enough, compared with France, Ireland and South Africa.

Epitaph: We still have to beat Italy?

Backinblack 315 days ago

This has to be the dumbest comment of all time… first of all it’s yet another great motivator for the AB plus what happens if the weakest AB in history beat the French tomorrow night?

spencer 315 days ago

Just like to say why have the ABs gone with 2 open side flankers.its a recipe used before and failed. I mean we have Jacobsen a Real 6 and they put in another 7 cant understand that at all. Look what happened when they used Scott Barrett at 6 against England last world cup very costly. 6 is a Specialist position why not put a real blind side flanker there just doesnt stack up.If we Lose to the French our world cup is over.

Ross 315 days ago

As an All Black I totally agree with Magne. France at home in front of 80,000 fans will not disappoint. Expect a big score.

Bernard 315 days ago

All and sundry seem to be fixated on the idea that there are only four teams in this RWC.There will be upsets and at least one of the big four will not partake in the quarter,semi and final.Spiritually speaking the All Blacks are just another team and the haka is no longer as relevant as it once was.

David 315 days ago

That's the beauty of sport, on the day either team could win the first game. Kiwis just keep your finger (and toes) crossed.

Jason 315 days ago

Unfortunately, the ABs won't win this edition of the world cup. Let's hope a different name appears on the cup come final whistle time. It gets a little boring having the same teams win it every single time. France deserve to be world champions, but they will need to work hard for it, it won't just get handed to them.

Bradley 316 days ago

So funny, coming from Someone who played for the biggest chokers in world rugby. 3 finals, 3 losses.

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