Often France are presented as a flighty and moody rugby bunch and then go out and underscore those observations.

They weave and wobble, play like busted golden oldies against Tonga and then man up against England.

They sag and waver against Wales but hang on with patchwork rugby against an under-manned opponent. It is panning out as the most unlikely story in Rugby World Cup history.

A bickering team with no form makes it to the final. Look at their work and attempt to explain how France will make their third attempt to claim the Webb Ellis Cup.

They were sloppy and on the rack for large portions of their opening game with Japan, they were so-so against Canada, had glimpses of form against the All Blacks and then disintegrated against Tonga in pool play.

For their quarter-final victory against England they were courageous and sharp but more fragile and favoured against Wales.

The Tricolors can just point to the record books and say they have achieved what 18 other sides have been unable to.

They have made it to the final of Rugby World Cup 2011, they have survived to compete for the title. They have overcome team ructions, long periods of reflection and public ridicule and made it to the last two.

It reminds you of those who trot out the saying "it's not how, it's how many" when some golf hacker beats a hotshot purist.

That was the attitude from French coach Marc Lievremont as he surveyed the aftermath of his side's 9-8 win against Wales to reach the final.

It does not seem right to those who have admired the work of Wales, the spirit of Ireland and the cussedness of the Springboks during this tournament but that's the way it is.

Les Tricolors are in the final, read it and weep the rest of you.

They have worked the draw, ridden their issues and used plenty of fortune cookies. If the tournament had been a round-robin format among the top eight, France would have been back on home soil weeks ago.

Now they are talking about the gods and fates being in alignment, and perhaps, just perhaps, one more shock next Sunday.

France made 126 tackles against 56 from an under-manned Wales side, they were well down on the territory and possession figures, yet when referee Alain Rolland blew fulltime they were a precious point ahead.

When Welsh centre Jamie Roberts spilled the ball the French had defended for almost 30 phases and actually pushed Wales back towards halfway.

Almost to the spot where Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny's only magnificent penalty attempt started then finished half a metre under the bar.

It was the "best" miss out of a collection of six penalty and dropped goal mishaps from James Hook, Stephen Jones and Halfpenny.

In the blue uniform, Morgan Parra kicked three penalties and missed a drop as did Maxime Medard.

Parra's selection has been a whimsical topic for the French. After years of backing Francois Trinh-Duc as his five-eighths, coach Lievremont switched Parra from halfback to those duties against the All Blacks.

It is working. Parra is calm and resourceful. And France are winning at the right times. Eighteen other teams cannot say the same.