Englishman Ben Ryan took charge of Fiji sevens in 2013 and has written an extraordinary book detailing his time in the Pacific. We couldn’t resist having a look at 10 iconic moments that have occurred in games between the All Blacks and France.
IT IS NEVER DULL WHEN THE FRENCH PLAY THE ALL BLACKS. WE PICK OUR 10 ICONIC MOMENTS FROM PREVIOUS TESTS. CAPTAIN CAVEMAN BREAKS ALI WILLIAMS
The French brought a second rate squad to New Zealand in June 2007. They had no appetite for a two-test series, two months before they hosted the World Cup so coach Bernard Laporte brought 30-odd players he didn’t imagine he would be using at the World Cup and told them to prove him wrong.
Only one man took up that challenge and it was Sebastien Chabal. The man, nicknamed Seabass, was unmissable and not just because of the notorious caveman look with the long, black straggly hair and the unkempt beard.
He was unmissable because he played superbly. He brought physical intensity and desire with him and he pulled off two of the biggest hits seen in recent years. The first was on All Blacks No 8 Chris Masoe who had to jump in midfield to take a long pass. As Masoe’s feet hit the ground, Chabal hit him. The French N0 8 having come from 10 metres back at real pace. Chabal’s shoulder drove into Masoe and the All Black was smashed back five metres and drilled into the turf, his head thumping off the ground.
The other hit was on Ali Williams. Chabal gathered a kick from deep and was running it back when Williams came to make the tackle. The Frenchman lowered the shoulder and hit Williams with everything he had. The outcome was Williams went sprawling back and stood up shakily with blood pouring from his mouth. His jaw was broken and his game over.
Williams ended up losing 8kg as he was unable to eat solid food for six weeks, but made it back to the World Cup where he spoke about that collision.
“I had a look at the tackle and there’s a few things I’d change obviously. I’d put my jaw in a different place.
“He came back on me and I mistimed it. It happens in a lot of tackles but they don’t always turn out like that.”
JAW BONED This was the moment Ali Williams felt the power of Sebastian Chabal.