France’s reward for topping Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2010 was the unenviable task of taking on New Zealand in the semi-finals.
The Black Ferns arrived at Twickenham Stoop on a 17-match winning run at RWC, their last defeat coming at the hands of the USA in the inaugural tournament in Wales in 1991.
Australia, South Africa and Wales had been beaten in the pool stage with an aggregate score of 128-16.
It was clear that the side captained by Melissa Ruscoe and featuring future World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Anna Richards at fly-half would provide a colossal test.
France had found the pool stage much harder work, although there were signs that the team was hitting its stride as it signed off from Pool C with a 23-8 defeat of RWC 2006 semi-finalists Canada.
The match served as a curtain-raiser for the last-four action at The Stoop and although the Black Ferns wore unfamiliar white shirts due to a kit clash, they began the contest with their customary efficiency.
Hohepa at the double
Carla Hohepa, who would be named the World Rugby Women’s Personality of the Year 2010 four days later, scored two tries in the first half — either side of efforts for Victoria Grant, Huriana Manuel and Renee Wickliffe — to help give New Zealand a 31-0 lead.
France refused to give up, however, and were rewarded for their hard work on the stroke of half-time as Laetitia Salles crossed the whitewash.
But hopes of a French comeback were dashed within four minutes of the restart as fly-half Richards — a survivor of 1991 who was playing in her fifth RWC — scored New Zealand’s sixth try.
With just under 15 minutes remaining replacement forward Joan Sione touched down for the Black Ferns’ seventh and final try, to complete the scoring.
Both teams would return to The Stoop four days later, when New Zealand claimed a fourth successive RWC title with a 13-10 victory over hosts England. France, meanwhile, would finish RWC 2010 fourth having lost 22-8 to Australia in the bronze final.
Re-live New Zealand’s stunning performance on Sunday courtesy of our live stream service, which will broadcast the entire match, at 19:00 BST, via the official Rugby World Cup Facebook page and World Rugby’s YouTube channel.