France hosted last year's World Cup having won over a nation backing Fabien Galthie's team for home glory and a first-ever Webb Ellis Cup.

An opening, comprehensive 27-13 victory over New Zealand set alight patriotic fervor in the belief that skipper Antoine Dupont could lead France to victory on home soil.

But those hopes were cruelly dashed at the quarter-final stage, eventual winners South Africa sealing a nail-biting 29-28 victory to unceremoniously dump Dupont and his side out of the competition.