FLYING IN THE face of rugby stereotypes, Marc Lièvremont’s France side have ceded the right to wear their home strip during this Sunday’s World Cup final as mark of respect to their opponents, tournament hosts New Zealand.
Jo Maso, Les Bleus team manager, correctly called heads at the official coin toss to determine kit and dressing room selection in Eden Park, immediately after which he spurned the right to choose France’s traditional blue strip.
Speaking to the World Cup website after the event, Maso framed his decision as a gesture of respect and gratitude to the number one side in Test rugby.
“We decided to allow the All Blacks the choice to play in black. For us it is a sign of respect and a way for our team to thank New Zealanders for a remarkable World Cup.”
Maso said he would consider it “an honour” to see France take to the field against a black-clad New Zealand side at Eden Park.
For what it’s worth, Maso also won the pre-game coin toss prior to the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final between the two teams.