France great Jean-Pierre Rives said the current team could turn the tables and win the World Cup after meeting up with the squad at training on the eve of their Eden Park final against New Zealand.
Fired up: New Zealand fly-half Piri Weepu during a practice s ession in Auckland on Saturday. (inset) Rives PIC/AFP
Ever since they scraped a 9-8 semi-final win over 14-man Wales, France -- beaten twice in the pool phase, including 37-17 by New Zealand -- have been derided as the worst team ever to reach a Rugby World Cup final.
But Rives, captain of the first France team to beat New Zealand at Eden Park in 1979 was in an optimistic mood after talking to members of the current squad.
"I think they can win," legendary flanker Rives, who led France to a 24-19 win at Eden Park 32 years ago, insisted. "It's not a matter of the score but their spirit. I think they are ready."