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.

NZ Rugby World - - Contents -

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.

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