Rugby World Cup 2019: France

World ranking: Eighth

Qualification: 2015 quarter-finalists

Best result: Runners-up 1987, 99, 2011

TAB odds: $26

Chances: Probably the best team never to have won the World Cup and a real thorn in the All Blacks' side over the years.

France's fate really depends on which version turns up to play. Their odds have lengthened since their disappointing Six Nations campaign, but discount them at your peril.

Leading players:

Louis Picamoles 

The No.8 is heading to his third Rugby World Cup, but his first as a guaranteed starter for 'Les Blues'. A barnstorming ball runner, Picamoles tackles like a truck and is a handy lineout forward. 

One of the best loose forwards in world rugby.

Wesley Fofana 

The midfielder has 15 tries in 48 tests. He has pedigree against the All Blacks, as the best player during their New Zealand tour 12 months ago. 

He is quick, powerful and elusive. 

Romain Ntamack

Described as the future of French rugby, Ntamack is the talented offspring of former international Emile N'tamack. The first-five is predicted my most French scribes to end the tournament as Les Blues' first-choice No.10. 

This World Cup could be his coming-out party.

Squad:

Forwards: Jefferson Poirot, Cyril Baille, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Camille Chat, Peato Mauvaka, Emerick Setiano, Rabah Slimani, Demba Bamba, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Bernard Le Roux, Paul Gabrillagues, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Charles Ollivon, Grégory Alldritt, Louis Picamoles.

Backs: Antoine Dupont, Baptiste Serin, Maxime Machenaud, Romain Ntamack, Camille Lopez, Wesley Fofana, Gaël Fickou, Virimi Vakatawa, Sofiane Guitoune, Yoann Huget, Damian Penaud, Alivereti Raka, Thomas Ramos, Maxime Médard.

Pool draw
September 21
France v Argentina, Tokyo, 7:15pm (live updates)

October 2
France v USA, Fukuoka City, 8:45pm

October 6
France v Tonga, Kumamoto City, 8:45pm

October 12
England v France, Yokohama City, 9:15pm (live updates)

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Rugby World Cup 2019 Dictionary

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