Rugby World Cup 2011
All Blacks won't fail - Masoe
Chris Masoe (File)
Castres - The All Blacks will end their 24 year hiatus and win the World Cup for the second time this Sunday while ending their poor record tournament record against France, former All Black and Castres skipper Chris Masoe said.
The 32-year-old - who felt the full force of French rugby icon Sebastien Chabal in a fearsome tackle in a 2007 Test in New Zealand - said despite shock defeats by the French in the 1999 semi-final and 2007 quarter-final the All Blacks would repeat their win over the French in the inaugural final in 1987.
"France do have a mental advantage, one can't say anything to the contrary," said Masoe, who was a member of the 2007 side that lost to the French.
"Honestly, I believe that this time the stories of 1999 and 2007 will not be repeated.
"Things are going to change and the All Blacks are going to win. Everything will depend on the capacity or the possibility of 'Les Bleus' to slow the game down.
"If there is rhythm to the match and a lot of movement, then it risks being a tough day for the French.
"My prediction? 25-15 for the All Blacks," added the flanker, who will watch the match on television with French friends and perhaps fellow former All Black Carl Hoeft.
Masoe, who has been at Castres since 2008, said that nevertheless the French would be a tough opponent regardless of the poor impression they have made at the tournament, becoming the first side to reach the final having lost two pool matches.
"The best possible final? I don't know, maybe it is the case for France and the French people because they have got into the habit of beating us in World Cup knockout matches.
"It is true that the French have not played very well in many of their pool matches and even against the Welsh (9-8 in the semi-final against opponents who played for an hour with 14 men).
"However, be careful as France matches are always difficult and very physical.
"The French have the habit of playing under pressure. And that is one of their qualities.
"They also know how to put pressure on their opponents on the pitch.
"When one is under pressure it is not possible to play the same style of rugby."
* RWC final odds on BET.CO.ZA: New Zealand vs France