France's coach, Marc Lièvremont, knew before the World Cup began that he would be handing the job over to Philippe Saint-André in the autumn. But the former flanker, who had spent the week arguing with the French press and admitting to a rift with his own players after the pool defeat by Tonga, could not keep a vengeful grin off his face at Eden Park.
"The whole week has been exhilarating," Lièvremont said. "In the past we have seen French teams transcend themselves against strong opposition and then after that they've failed. We'll see if this team want to write their own story."
France's captain, Thierry Dusautoir, admitted: "We started talking about Wales as soon as this match finished. But from 2007 [when France knocked out the All Blacks then lost to England] we know what can happen after a magnificent win. What we did have here was 22 players who wanted to go on. The defeat by Tonga was an eye-opener."Reuse content