France eager to avenge World Cup defeat against New Zealand

France beaten by New Zealand in 2011 final

France could be granted an opportunity to avenge their 2011 World Cup final defeat by New Zealand after the rivals were positioned in the same half of the draw for 2015.

The All Blacks are expected to top Pool C while Les Bleus have been drawn in the trickier Pool D, which includes RBS 6 Nations rivals Ireland.

If France finished runners-up they would meet the world champions and favourites - a team they dominated in Auckland last autumn only to succumb 8-7 - in the quarter-finals.

"Maybe we are going to have our revenge for the final against New Zealand," said France captain Thierry Dusautoir.

Following yesterday's draw, South Africa were installed as second favourites with France, England, Australia completing the bookmakers' top five.

Brian O'Driscoll reacted to Ireland's Pool D collision course with France and Italy by highlighting the threat that awaits from the southern hemisphere giants in the knockout stages.

The Six Nations will be eager to finish top and thus avoid favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals, with Argentina the likely opposition for the winners.

"It could have been worse. You're never going to lick your lips at a World Cup draw because you'll always have good quality opposition," the Ireland skipper said.

"It's bit of a double-edged sword because when you avoid New Zealand, South Africa or Australia, inevitably when you bet to the knockout stages you're likely face one of them sooner rather than later.

"It's an OK draw but I'd imagine France and Italy are quietly happy they've drawn us. They'll think they can beat us.

"It leaves it quite open because all three are capable of beating one another. It should make for interesting viewing."

Scott Johnson believes Scotland are capable of topping their group despite being drawn alongside South Africa and Samoa.

Johnson, Scotland's attack coach and a contender to succeed Andy Robinson, insists his side can humble the Springboks if they play to their potential.

"We've shown form in the last few years that proves we can take the scalps of the big teams," he said.

"The fact is if we get our parts completely right, we'll take anyone on on any given day. That's what we're aiming to do."

PA

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