French great Sebastien Chabal joked he was hoping for another New Zealand ‘accident’ at the 2023 World Cup, to be hosted by France.
The All Blacks suffered their worst performance at a World Cup when France last hosted the tournament in 2007, ousted in the quarter-finals.
It was a tournament that spat out both the All Blacks and Wallabies in the final eight, with the two teams in the semi-finals at least of every other tournament, before and since.
The All Blacks won the two tournaments that followed the France disaster, in New Zealand and England, shaking off a 24-year drought in 2011 for their second title, on home turf.
Asked whether France hosting would be a bad omen for New Zealand, Chabal said he couldn’t imagine that happening again.
“What happened to the All Blacks in 2007 was an accident,” he said.
“We’d like that accident to happen again but we’re not there yet.”
“We still have six years (until) that competition.
“By then I hope and I’m sure our French team will have improved because they’re working and on the right track.”
It was a lighter, and more left of centre, moment on a day that produced many question marks over World Rugby’s process in awarding the Rugby World Cup.
Just a fortnight ago, South Africa was recommended as the top host choice after extensive, and costly, analysis, a decision France criticised loudly, as it began lobbying council members for votes.
French rugby president Bernard Laporte said that questioning South Africa’s superiority in some areas, and speaking with World Rugby about those grievances, may have boosted their chances.
“It’s not the process that was not fair, it was some aspects of the process that we did not find fair,” he said.
“They (World Rugby) said we would do a debrief to see what was good or what was not.
“It was obvious we did dispute some aspects.
"I’m not saying that’s why we won. World Rugby replied to our letter, we communicated on the misunderstanding.
“Maybe it helped us, maybe.”
Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, before France takes the 2023 reins.