The Blues are one of the favorite teams of the 2023 World Cup because the young players of the XV of France "are not afraid", said former New Zealand center Sonny Bill Williams before the opening match on Friday. The XV of France have won the last three editions of the Under-20 World Cup and "the young players who are not afraid and who arrive (in the A team) represent what France is", explained AFP Williams, who retired after the 2019 World Cup. "That's why they're scary, (and) that's why in my opinion they are among the favourites," he said, adding Ireland to the list of candidates for the world title.
The former treiziste, who came to rugby union while playing in France, at RC Toulon, and double winner of the World Cup in 2011 and 2015, also tried his hand at boxing and compares French captain Antoine Dupont to the former mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia. "He's a special player", "I like his very physical style", added Williams. "It is the symbol of these young French people who are scary and who are the product of the French system", explained the 38-year-old former international.