Successive French teams have enriched each of the men's world cup tournaments in their own inimitable style since the historic initial tournament in Australia and New Zealand in 1987.
France travelled to the tournament in May 1987 as the Five Nations grand slam champions. Their squad contained some of the greatest names in French rugby history and a mesmeric backline including Serge Blanco at full back, Philippe Sella in the centre and Pierre Berbizier at scrum half.
After the opening match in their group at Christchurch in which they were lucky to hold off Scotland in a 20-20 draw, they moved through the two other pool matches with ease before facing a rugged Fiji in the quarter-finals. A hard-fought affair, the control and kicking expertise of fly half Guy Laporte saw them through to a semi-final against Australia at the Concord Oval in Sydney.
This was the first of the great World Cup matches. Desperately close though with the lead constantly changing, France won the day 30-24 with a sensational try by Serge Blanco in the left-hand corner deep in injury time.