Former French lock Sebastien Chabal has revealed the aggressive response to the All Blacks' haka before stunning the favourites at the 2007 Rugby World Cup was a last minute decision.

The French side confronted the All Blacks by standing right in their faces as they performed the haka before the quarter-final clash in Cardiff.

France went onto upset the All Blacks 20-18.

"The quarter-final was something special because we beat the All Blacks. I still have goosebumps now," Chabal, an ambassador for France's 2023 World Cup hosting bid, told the Sunday Times.

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"We had not prepared to react to the haka in that way but just before going out on to the pitch they told us to act like it was a war, to show them that we were ready for a good fight."

Four years later when the two sides clashed in the 2011 World Cup final, officials made sure the French side remained within 20 metres of the All Blacks during the haka.

Despite upsetting the tournament favourites in 2007, France crashed out of the World Cup a week later, losing to England 14-9 in the semifinals.

"How can I say now that it was something huge? Because it was not the end of the competition. We didn't win anything," Chabal added.

France is competing against Ireland and South Africa to win the hosting rights to the 2023 tournament.

Chabal told the Telegraph that the number of foreign players in French rugby is hurting the international side. France have fallen to eighth in the World Rugby rankings and have won the Six Nations just once in the past decade.

"When I watch the Top 14, I can't believe there are so many foreign players," Chabal told the Telegraph. "We have some good kids, but now rugby has a big economy and the clubs do not have time to lose. They want results right now, which is why they go to buy players from abroad. It is a huge problem for us.

"I think as well that our league is strong but the rugby we practice is not right at the minute. Now, you have to play. You have to move the ball around. In France, for too long it was collisions, big impact. We had to be strong and defence was the key.

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"You only have to watch the All Blacks. Why do they beat everybody? They do everything better than any other team but they move the ball around and have good skills. We forgot our skills.

"Sometimes I go to junior rugby clubs and when I see kids play they just go 'boom, boom, boom' because they do what their role models are doing. Bernard Laporte has started to do a big job with his politics, but it will only pay in 10 years, maybe...maybe in time for 2023 and we can be competitive."