Share via Email Louis Picamoles leaves the pitch knowing all of his brilliance was in vain. And thus, the hard-bitten among us will insist, not deserving of victory at all. It is not fair, but it is the way of the world. Eddie Jones: England were awful but I always thought we were going to win Read more Last time England were on a run of 14 wins, it was France who denied them, back in when England were a great team and France a good one. It was an England second team who lost by a point in Marseille, but it was a momentary slip they were apparently indifferent towards,as they resumed their campaign to win the World Cup without so much as a shrug.
Scotland's Gregor Townsend is building on foundations laid by another Kiwi - Vern Cotter - who he took over from in New Zealand aim for historic treble Full-back Beauden Barrett meets the locals in Tokyo After becoming the first team to successfully defend the World Cup in , New Zealand are aiming to land a historic hat-trick in Japan.
They begin with a stern test of their credentials, facing second-favourites South Africa in their Pool B opener on Saturday.
Is the All Blacks' era of dominance at an end? It's an exciting time, it's going to be a massive occasion and a massive game. The South Africans are going to be well and truly up for it so we can't wait," said captain Kieran Read.
However, head coach Steve Hansen believes the All Blacks' experience of the business end of the tournament could prove decisive. For some of these teams it's going to be the first time they're going to turn up and feel that pressure. It can be overwhelming when you haven't had it before," he said.
A brave new world for World Rugby France's hooker Guilhem Guirado poses with a fan Japan is the first country in Asia and the first outside of rugby union's traditional strongholds to stage the sport's premier event after seeing off competition from South Africa and Italy to host it.