France edged a 14-man Wales 9-8 in a nailbiting affair in Auckland in Saturday to reach their third World Cup Final.
However, they will not take much confidence into the tournament's showpiece.
The Tricolours reached the inaugural Final in 1987 (where they lost to hosts New Zealand), then advanced to the Final again in 1999 (where they lost to Australia). It is again 12 years later, but this French does not inspire the same confidence as the outfits of '87 and '99.
The French, on Saturday, did their best to gift the game to Wales and the referee also chipped in with a shocking penalty late in the game.
However, the error-riddled Welsh could not kick their goals and ended their campaign with a handling error.
Jan de Koning rates the French players!
15 Maxime Medard:
His options throughout the match were shocking - as he kept putting his team under pressure by handing the ball back to Wales. He also did not deal very well with the high ball and put the ball directly into touch. In short, he had a mare!
14 Vincent Clerc:
He was targeted by the Welsh, slipped of an early tackle and also struggled under the high ball. He had few chances with the ball in hand and made no real ground.
13 Aurelien Rougerie:
He did not have many chances with ball in hand, but made his tackles - slipping only one. Put in one crucial kick in the second half.
12 Maxime Mermoz:
Took the ball up a couple of times, but was mostly very quiet. Made seven tackles and slopped one.
11 Alexis Palisson:
Raced back and showed his speed to save the French from a neat kick in behind the defensive line. That turned out to be his biggest contribution in the game.
10 Morgan Parra:
Produced some handy kicks out of hands, but his options were not always the best and his drop-kick attempts were also poor. There was a nice break around the 23-minute mark, and France just couldn't finish it off. There was another half-break just before half-time as he stood up a rushing James Hook. Also made his tackles and add in his points (three penalty kicks) and he was France's most productive back.
9 Dimitri Yachvili:
There was a great early chip kick that put Wales back on their heels and some great clearance kicks under pressure. However, a few handling errors and poor clearance kicks in the second half spoiled an otherwise great performance.
8 Imanol Harinordoquy:
Won a couple of handy turnovers and two crucial line-outs steals, although he didn't have too many chances with ball in hand. On the occasion that he carried the ball he hardly made ground.
7 Julien Bonnaire:
Won a crucial turnover late in the first half, won a line-out on the opposition throw, his tackle count was into double figures and he good vision and a great kick downfield early in the second half.
6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain):
Conceded early penalty at the breakdown, but then produced a near faultless display. His tireless workrate, especially on defence, saw him rack up the biggest tackle count in the game.
5 Lionel Nallet:
Made his tackles and was a dominant force in the line-outs ... even sever on the Welsh throw. Did not carry the ball much.
4 Pascal Pape:
He appeared to be quiet, almost antonymous, but racked up a big tackle count. However, he slipped a crucial tackle on Mike Phillips that resulted in the opening try of the match.
3 Nicolas Mas:
Had early pressure on Gethin Jenkins in scrum and worked hard on defence. But in a game of inches, he was most effective in the close exchanges.
2 William Servat:
Great early run, made about 20 metres, and ran hard till he was yanked off early in the second half. It was a big surprise when he was replaced so early.
1 Jean-Baptiste Poux:
Put Paul James under pressure in scrums and won a penalty midway through the first half in the scrums. However, his work rate was disappointing. Not surprising he was pulled off early in the second half.
16 Dimitri Szarzewski (on for William Servat, 45th min):
Carried the ball strongly and added the fresh legs the French looked for. His tackle count was also impressive.
17 Fabien Barcella (on for Jean Baptiste Poux :
Worked hard in the close exchanges, especially when the Welsh were using the pick-'n-go, and produced an impressive tackle count. But produced little else.
18 Julien Pierre (on for Pascal Pape, 61st min):
Was reduced to a defensive effort - made seven tackles and slipped none. If that is the job that was required of him, then he did fine.
19 Fulgence Ouedraogo (on for Julien Bonnaire, 75th min):
Not enough time to rate accurately.
20 Francois Trinh-Duc:
21 Jean Marc Doussain:
22 Cedric Heymans:
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