France blank out 2011 shock as Tonga loom again

Romain Ntamack says Les Bleus have not even spoken about one of the World Cup's biggest upsets.

KUMAMOTO, 4 Oct – France fly-half Romain Ntamack has revealed that his team are refusing to look back to the last time they met Tonga in the Rugby World Cup.

With the sides set to clash at the Kumamoto Stadium on Sunday, memories are surfacing of when the Pacific Islanders defeated Les Bleus 19-14 in Wellington in 2011, one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history and pictured above.

Ntamack's father, Emile, was among Marc Lievremont's coaching team that year, while Maxime Medard, Louis Picamoles and captain Guilhem Guirado were in the squad.

Despite the chance to consider where they went wrong eight years ago, there has been no discussion of a match that was followed by France reaching the final, where they lost to New Zealand.

"We do not talk about it at all," Ntamack said. "It has never been on the table. It is not a debate that has been started.

"I believe there are three players who experienced this match and none of them have spoken about it. It's not something we look at.

"My father has not told me anything about it."

France are chasing a third win at Japan 2019 following victories over Argentina and the USA.

Ntamack played the full 80 minutes of the 23-21 win over Los Pumas, but only featured off the bench in the 33-9 win over the USA.

He returns to the starting line-up against Tonga for what will be his 11th international cap.

"We will take this team seriously, as was the case against the United States and Argentina, and try to win this game," he said.

"Of course, there is danger everywhere. We know their strengths and weaknesses and we will try to counter them and play our very best.

"It's a game we are taking seriously. We are very focused, and we will try not to fall into a trap."

RNS ji/sg/pp/ajr