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France hand All Blacks their first-ever World Cup pool defeat

MATCH REPORT: The All Blacks lost their first-ever World Cup pool match when they went down 13-27 to hosts France in this year’s opener in Saint-Denis on Friday.


Both sides scored two tries in hot and humid conditions at the Stade de France, but France fullback Thomas Ramos contributed 17 points with his boot, which proved to be vital.

Mark Telea scored a brace for the All Blacks, while Damian Penaud and Melvyn Jaminet crossed the whitewash for the French.

The French had a 9-8 lead at the break, but they were a different beast in the second half.

Ian Foster’s side also had a setback before the game with captain Sam Cane being a late withdrawal.

Cane, 31, is replaced by Tupou Vaa’i in the starting line-up with Dalton Papali’i moving from blindside flank to the openside.

It was an amazing start for the All Blacks and it all started with a great clean break by Rieko Ioane in the midfield.


After a few more phases which included a quick-tap penalty, wing Mark Telea was over for a try in the corner in the second minute after he collected the ball after a cross-kick from Beauden Barrett.

Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga could not land the conversion from out wide.

France managed to reduce NZ’s lead to just two points in the fifth minute with a Thomas Ramos penalty.

The French then found themselves in front in the 20th minute when Ramos converted a scrum penalty into three points.


However, the All Blacks regained the lead in the 26th minute when they were given a penalty after putting France under immense pressure inside their own 22. Mo’unga was on hand to secure the three points.

The scrum was an issue for the visitors and they conceded another penalty in that area a few minutes later which gave Ramos a chance to give his team the lead again. The fullback showed his pedigree by landing a three-pointer from 50 metres out.

The All Blacks were threatening to have the final say in the first half, but they just didn’t have enough patience on attack.

However, they did manage to score first again in the second half with Telea getting his second try of the game in the 43rd minute. The big wing showed his speed when he collected the ball after a long pass from Ioane before sprinting in for the score. Mo’unga was unsuccessful with the conversion.

France needed a spark in the match and they nearly got it when Penaud collected the ball from a kick-pass before sprinting to the tryline. However, the French wing lost the ball forward before the tryline after some great cover defence from Mo’unga.

But that didn’t stop the French momentum and Penaud eventually got his try in the 55th minute when, after some great passing, he was put into space down the touchline to race away for the score.

From a tight angle, Ramos was able to convert the try to give France a three-point lead.

Things got worse for the All Blacks in the 58th minute when Will Jordan was shown a yellow card for tackling an opponent in the air.

Moments later Ramos had an opportunity to extend his team’s lead with a penalty, but he pushed the ball wide of the upright.

He did get it right in in the 65th minute with a much easier kick to give his team a six-point lead.

The French seemed to be in control of the match in the final 10 minutes and it was that man Ramos who gave his team a nine-point lead in the 74th minute with another penalty.

The game was put to bed in the 78th minute when the All Blacks failed to deal with a French kick before replacement Melvyn Jaminet gathered the loose ball to score.

Man of the match: Mark Telea was a handful for the French and he scored two tries as well. For France, Damian Penaud was so hard to bring down and he just had a great eye for the gap. Charles Ollivon was a colossus in open play, especially on defence. However, the award goes to France No.8 Gregory Alldritt. He was powerful with ball in hand and he made his presence felt at the breakdowns as well.

The scorers:

For France:
Tries: Penaud, Jaminet
Con: Ramos
Pens: Ramos 5

For New Zealand:
Tries: Telea 2
Pen: Mo’unga

Yellow card: Will Jordan (New Zealand, 58′ – foul play, taking out an opponent in the air)


France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Reda Wardi.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifienua, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Maxime Lucu, 22 Arthur Vincent, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’Unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea (captain), 7 Dalton Papalai’i, 6 Tupou Vaa’i, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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