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RUGBY UNION: AT LAST.. A GOOD REASON NOT TO BEEF AT THE FRENCH; Rugby World Cup: Twickers goes crackers as 25-1ON favourites All Blacks are humiliated.

FORGET the beef war, the French rugby team were the toast of all Europe last night after sensationally hammering the All Blacks in the World Cup semi-finals.

European rugby, embarrassed by the southern hemisphere throughout the tournament, wasted no time in hailing their unlikely saviours.

And France coach Jean-Claude Skrela said: "We know we have come through as party-poopers but it is our great hope that the northern hemisphere will win the cup this time."

The Twickenham crowd watched spellbound as Skrela's side stuck 33 second-half points past the 25-1 on favourites to reach the final.

France will be given little chance of beating Australia in Cardiff on Saturday, but they were given absolutely none of beating New Zealand.

This was, quite simply, the biggest upset in rugby history.

Even two spectacular tries from Jonah Lomu are unlikely to save coach John Hart on his return home.

"We let ourselves and our fans down and we are quite devastated," said Hart. "The coach is accountable and I take full responsibility.

"We are a young side but that's no excuse. At 24-10, no way we should have lost."Story of the World CupQUARTER-FINALS:

WALES 9 AUSTRALIA 24

S. AFRICA 44 ENGLAND 21

N. ZEALAND 30 SCOTLAND 18

FRANCE 47 ARGENTINA 26SEMI-FINALS:

S.AFRICA 21 AUSTRALIA 27

after extra time

N.ZEALAND 31 FRANCE 43

THIRD PLACE PLAY-OFF

Thursday, November 4, 8pm

S.AFRICA v N.ZEALAND

at the Millennium Stadium, CardiffWORLD CUP FINAL

Saturday November 6, 3pm

AUSTRALIA v FRANCE

at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 1, 1999
Words:254
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