France outclass a shell-shocked All Blacks
REPORT: France made a statement by beating New Zealand by a record margin, 40-25, on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for the opening game of the 2023 World Cup.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Les Bleus claimed a first win over the All Blacks since 2009 thanks to Peato Mauvaka’s double and efforts from Romain Ntamack and Damian Penaud as well as Melvyn Jaminet’s points from the boot.
New Zealand lost a second game in the space of seven days after the defeat to Ireland last weekend and conceded 40 points or more for the second time in two years.
“I don’t if we’ve realised what has happened. The score is there at the end, with style. It’s incredible,” Les Bleus captain Antoine Dupont told France Televisions.
“We always had this game in the back of our minds. Even if we had to focus every weekend, everyone had it in their heads.
“It will stay in the memory. We’ve had some good wins with the squad and this one we’ll remember, that’s for sure,” he added.
France head coach Fabien Galthie moved Romain Ntamack back to flyhalf with powerful centre Jonathan Danty brought into midfield.
All Blacks head coach made seven changes from last weekend’s loss at Ireland with Richie Mo’unga starting instead of Beauden Barrett, who suffered a concussion in Dublin.
Hooker Peato Mauvaka, born closer to Auckland than Paris in New Caledonia, claimed his fourth try in three Tests this November, profiting at the back of rolling maul after less than three minutes.
Visiting full-back Jordie Barrett closed the gap to a point with two penalty goals before the noise in northern Paris lifted by another octave.
Les Bleus progressed from their own half with a succession of one-pass phases before Romain Ntamack stepped off his right foot inside opponent Mo’unga to dive over, justifying Galthie’s decision to move him back to flyhalf.
All Blacks fight back
Jaminet’s second conversion made it 14-6 to cap off a thrilling opening quarter before Danty justified his selection at inside centre by bulldozing over 122kg, 2.04m lock Brodie Retallick with ease.
Mauvaka had further reason to celebrate after half an hour after repeating his feat from earlier in the half to crash over from a rolling maul.
Trailing 24-6 at the break the All Blacks came out of the changing rooms early after the interval and gained some momentum by copying the hosts’ first half tactic of one-pass phases before Barrett found a way over in the corner.
The fullback, however, who had had a poor first half failed with his touchline conversion.
Les Bleus’ lead was cut again with half an hour remaining as centre Rieko Ioane sprinted over from 40m and Barrett’s conversion made it 24-18, setting up a tense final 30 minutes.
The ominous signs of an All Black comeback were increased on 58 minutes as Ardie Savea charged over from short range, Barrett again converting to make it 27-25.
The home support rediscovered their voices with 17 minutes left as Ntamack escaped from his own tryline and Jaminet kicked a penalty two phases later to stetch the lead to five points.
With 12 minutes left, New Zealand attempted to run the ball from their own 22m but Damian Penaud intercepted David Havili’s looping pass to cross unopposed under the posts.
Leading 37-25, Les Bleus closed out the game in clinical fashion as Jaminet took his tally for the night to 20 points with a penalty goal with the clock in the red.
It closed a bad day for southern hemisphere teams as Australia lost 29-28 to Wales, world champions South Africa went down 27-26 by England while Japan were beaten 29-20 by Scotland.
Tries: Mauvaka 2, Ntamack, Penaud
Cons: Jaminet 4
Pens: Jaminet 4
For New Zealand:
Tries: J Barrett, R Ioane, Savea
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: J Barrett 2
Yellow card: Ardie Savea (New Zealand, 62 – Deliberate foul)
France: 15 Melvyn Jaminet, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere; 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain); 8 Gregory Alldrit, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Francois Cros; 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Cameron Woki; 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Gaetan Barlot, 17 Jean-Baptise Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Thibaud Flament, 21 Dylan Cretin, 22 Maxime Lucu, 23 Matthieu Jalibert
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Samison Taukei’aho, 17 George Bower, 18 Osa Tuungafasi, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Brad Webber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 David Havili.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)