All Blacks not taking France lightly, says Henry
New Zealand coach Graham Henry says there’s no chance of France being underestimated for Sunday’s World Cup final.
The bookmakers have made the All Blacks 1-9 on favourites to clinch lift the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first time in 24 years after France’s less-than-impressive performances throughout the tournament.
While New Zealand were imperious form as they dispatched Australia in their semi-final, Les Bleus laboured to a 9-8 victory over the 14 men of Wales, who missed opportunities to win the game.
But having been beaten by France in the most unexpected of circumstances in 2007 and 1999, Henry maintains complacency has been banned from the All Blacks dressing room.
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“It’s very important we come down,’ he said. “It was a huge game against Australia on the weekend – we can’t stay up there.
“We’ve got to come down, get to base again, have a clean sheet of paper and build again for this Test match on Sunday against the French.
“Although they didn’t play particularly well in their semi-final, we know they’ve got the ability to play outstandingly, and they have done that in the past.
“The French team, they can be the best in the world on their day.
“The All Blacks have had some great Test matches against the French during the last eight years. In 2007, after beating the French by 50 points or thereabouts in a game prior to that, we got beaten by them in the (World Cup) quarter-final. That’s the reality.
“There is history in All Black-France Rugby World Cup games. There is a lot of history there. The boys respect the French team, they’ve got a lot of very talented players and it will be a good final.”