Thierry Dusautoir has opened up about French tactics in the Rugby World Cup final and how he believed the All Blacks didn't respect his side ahead of the match.

In an interview with IRB rugby show Total Rugby, the French skipper talked about the difficult time France had in New Zealand and how the local media wrote 'disparaging' articles about his side.

"We didn't know what the New Zealand players thought about us but around them we certainly weren't respected," he said.

The 2011 IRB Player of the Year scored his side's only try in the 8-7 defeat and said despite the All Blacks playing at a different level throughout the tournament, France were still mentally prepared for the final.


"Our strategy in that match was to resist as long as possible. Having seen the way we were playing throughout the tournament we were aware that we were not at the same level as the All Blacks. That was pretty obvious. But by this time we were sure we were mentally prepared and we were ready to make the most of the opportunity."

The 49-test veteran says an uncomplicated gameplan surprised the All Blacks as France fell one drop goal attempt short of causing the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup final history.

"During the match we played well but we would have liked to have scored a drop goal on top of the great defence we produced. But we played an uncomplicated game and that is ultimately how we managed to surprise them so much.

"Talking about this now makes me think of the close bond I had with my teammates in New Zealand. We were so far away from home and so heavily criticised. I think we became more than just friends at that time, in that moment and I don't know whether there are any other team sports that can give you that same feeling."

Dusautoir also talked about the New Zealand media coverage of the French during the World Cup, in particular a Herald on Sunday headline which possibly got lost in translation.

"It was a memorable time. We were under huge pressure. In the week before the final there were many disparaging newspaper articles written about us.

"Even though most of the team was not bilingual we understood some of the words, some of the play on words. I remember that after the semifinal there was a picture in the Herald where it was written '80 minutes before laughing'. That annoyed us."

However it seems the flanker misinterpreted the headline which wasn't in reference to the French but to the semifinal later the day between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.


The Herald on Sunday headline Dusautoir refers to was under an image of a laidback Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg enjoying a laugh during the captain's run ahead of the semifinal at Eden Park.

The headline '80 minutes and we're laughing' included a caption that read "Pressure? What pressure? Israel Dagg and Sonny-Bill Williams reflect the extremely laidback nature of the All Blacks' captain's run yesterday".