Henry takes France seriously

October 17, 2011
Rugby Union - International Rugby - Bet Now at Bet365

New Zealand head coach Graham Henry has said ahead of the World Cup final next Sunday that his side will not under-estimate opponents France.

The All Blacks are 1/9 to win the tournament on home soil, with most pundits predicting a one-sided affair after France struggled to overcome 14-man Wales 9-8 in their semi-final.

However, Henry is aware that Les Bleus, 7/1 to be crowned world champions for the first time, are capable of upping their game - as they have done on several occasions against New Zealand.

In 2007 France won a tense quarter-final 20-18 in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, while eight years earlier the northern hemisphere side ran out 43-31 winners in a lively semi-final at Twickenham.

"We don't underestimate them," Henry told reporters. "Although France didn't play particularly well in their semi-final, we know they've got the ability to play outstanding rugby.

"They will play well in the final and we've got to make sure we do the business. France can be the best in the world on their day."

"They will be no more difficult to prepare for than Australia. It's a question of building in the week and there'll be subtle changes in the game plan."

New Zealand are 5/1 to win by a margin of 11-15 points and are 3/1 to open the scoring in Auckland with a try.

Meanwhile, Henry is content with the appointment of South African Craig Joubert as referee for the final against France.

He added: "He's a referee who relates well to the players on the field. He's very clear in his instructions and he's got a lot of composure out there.

"The players enjoy playing when he's refereeing and I think that's the sign of a good ref."

 

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