Who wouldn’t want to relive the Rugby World Cup 1999 semi-final between France and New Zealand other than the most die-hard All Blacks supporters?

The game had everything: stunning tries, brilliant individual performances, a remarkable fightback and a victory for the underdog that no-one saw coming.

You can watch the match, and Christophe Dominici's contribution to it, in all its glory via the official World Rugby YouTube channel.


France had been beaten 54-7 in Wellington only a few months earlier. But, not even the great Jonah Lomu (pictured), who scored two trademark solo tries, could prevent the unfancied Les Bleus from completing a 43-31 victory that had the Twickenham crowd on its feet.

With the game 46 minutes old, and following the second of Lomu's bulldozing tries, France trailed 24-10 and looked down and out.

France Best Bits: Dominici scores stunner v New Zealand at Rugby World Cup 1999

However, out of nowhere, they conjured up some of the best rugby ever seen at Twickenham to score 33 points to the All Blacks’ seven.

“Despite the fact we were losing, we still had the feeling that we could really do something, against these players, against this team. I don’t know why but we felt that way, even though we were quite far behind them,” said Fabien Pelous, now a World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee.

France had scored the match's opening try as fly-half Christophe Lamaison finished from close range following a scything run from Dominici. And, after Lamaison had kicked Les Bleus back into contention, it was the winger who produced a stunning try to put them in front.

Dominici snuck in between Taine Randell and Andrew Mehrtens on the touchline, to pluck the bouncing ball out of the air and sprint over the goal line.

Richard Dourthe and Philippe Bernat-Salles both subsequently touched down, the latter grinning from ear-to-ear with arms raised aloft as he did so in the 74th minute. It was only then that everyone inside the ground dared to believe the unthinkable was happening.

As was the case in 1987 the unpredictable French were unable to back up the performance in the final, against Australia, but the greatest comeback in Rugby World Cup history – if not the biggest deficit overcome, as that honour later belonged to Romania against Canada at RWC 2015 – is still theirs.

Dominici would go on to win 67 caps for France, scoring 25 tries and appearing at the next two Rugby World Cups. At RWC 2007 he contributed, as a replacement, to another stunning defeat of the All Blacks in the quarter-finals, and played his final match for Les Bleus in the bronze final defeat to Argentina.

"Small in stature but a titan on the field, Christophe Dominici we will never forget you," the All Blacks tweeted on Tuesday. "Rest In Peace dear friend."