All Blacks suffer first Rugby World Cup pool match loss in history as France start with a bang
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Paris: France’s quest for long-awaited Rugby World Cup glory is on track after becoming the first team in 36 years to defeat the All Blacks in a pool match at the game’s centrepiece tournament.
All Blacks winger Mark Telea capped a wonderful first World Cup outing by bagging two tries, but it was the home side who recovered to chalk up a memorable 27-13 victory in front of a packed crowd of 82,000 at Stade de France on Friday evening (Saturday morning AEST).
New Zealand scored two tries, the same number as France, but the hosts knocked over five penalties to maintain a healthy second-half buffer after taking a 9-8 lead at the break.
In the most highly anticipated World Cup opener in decades, France and New Zealand locked horns in 28-degree heat after a spectacular opening ceremony.
Before this match, the All Blacks had won 31 from 31 pool matches since the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.
Their perfect record has been spoiled by a clinical French side who were impressive at scrum-time and led brilliantly by their dangerous captain and livewire captain Antoine Dupont.
France have made three World Cup finals – in 1987, 1995 and 2011 – but never gone all the way to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
The All Blacks won the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, but lost to England in a semi-final four years ago.
New Zealand, coming off a record 35-7 defeat to South Africa a fortnight ago, must now beat Italy, Uruguay and Namibia to secure a quarter-final spot.
The earliest the Wallabies would play New Zealand or France, providing they progress, would be a semi-final in Paris.
Damian Penaud scores for France.Credit: Getty Images
Australia’s first game is against Georgia on Saturday evening (Sunday 2am AEST) at the same venue in the French capital.
The moment of the match came in the 55th minute, with New Zealand leading 13-9, when French winger Damian Penaud scored down the right wing after a lovely piece of play-making from five-eighth Matthieu Jalibert.
Penaud had the chance to score moments earlier but had the ball knocked out of his hand, right before the line, by All Blacks No.10 Richie Mo’unga in a moment that brought back memories of George Gregan’s tackle on All Black Jeff Wilson in a 1994 Bledisloe Cup fixture.
France’s Cameron Woki catches the ball from a line out.Credit: AP
However, the French outside back ended up finding the line before substitute Melvyn Jaminet put the icing on the cake to deliver a crushing blow to world rugby’s most successful team in history.
Just hours before kick-off, All Blacks captain Sam Cane was ruled out of the match with a back injury. Ardie Savea was called in to lead the side as gun second-rower Brodie Retallick came onto the bench.
New Zealand began in stunning fashion in the second minute when No.12 Anton Lienert-Brown found a massive hole in France’s defensive line before Beauden Barrett kicked across field to Telea who dotted down the first try of the tournament.
During an opening quarter where most of the action took part in the middle of the field, France edged their way back ahead 6-5 courtesy of two penalties from Thomas Ramos.
When the All Blacks refused the chance to push for a try close to the line and pointed to the sticks, boos rang around Stade de France.
With France leading 9-8 and the game there for the taking, New Zealand outside-centre Reiko Ioane floated a long right-to-left looping pass over to Telea out wide who ran away for his second five-pointer.
France’s defenders thought the pass was forward, so effectively stopped for a whistle but didn’t get a response from referee Jaco Peyper who let play roll on.
Fans in the stands went wild as replays showed Ioane’s pass may have gone forward before Telea scooped it up on the bounce down the left edge.
It mattered little as French rugby supporters got what they came for.
They can dare to dream.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article