Rugby World Cup: Paris braced for rugby showpiece as All Blacks v France opener looms

Rugby World Cup fever has hit Paris, with the tournament promising to be the biggest so far.

Just a week out from the opening clash between the All Blacks and France, the French capital is filling with fans from around the world, as businesses and officials race to get everything in place before the first whistle.  

There’s always plenty of love in the Parisian air, but this week, the World Cup opener is the hottest date in town.

Fans are already arriving in the French capital. Some have packed bold predictions, others have slightly more worrying ones

Among the home crowd of 'Les Bleus', New Zealand supporters are hard to find - but you do find them.

Rugby fans descend on Paris for the World Cup opener.
Rugby fans descend on Paris for the World Cup opener. Photo credit: Newshub

In the heart of the city, the finishing touches are still being placed on the fanzone, which will welcome almost 40,000 ticketless punters for Saturday's (NZ time) opener. Thousands more will pack out the bars of Paris and Wellington's Duncan Paterson is bracing for impact.

"We’re absolutely petrified, to be honest, because we're excited, but we'’re a bit nervous," he told Newshub.

Paterson is nervously managing the mounting reservations at Black Sheep Society - a Kiwi haven he's owned since the last World Cup. The two-month tournament promises to be a winner for business at the very least.

"We are going to fill it up, take out the seats and tables, and try and crush as many Kiwis in here to get a good atmosphere, and have a wave of black," he said. "We're amped, we’re looking forward to it."

The tournament is already breaking ticket sales records and should be the perfect party, as the world celebrates 200 years of rugby.

France did co-host the World Cup in 2007, a time most Kiwis would rather forget, after their team were ousted in the quarter-finals by the French, but All Blacks fans hope this year, Paris will deliver happier memories.

Six sleeps until the first showdown and the Web Ellis Cup is in sight. 

Join Newshub at 7am Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v France World Cup opener