France full-back Thomas Ramos kicked 17 points as the hosts overcame New Zealand in the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2023 at the Stade de France.
The All Blacks scored after just 92 seconds when Mark Telea touched down Beauden Barrett’s precise cross-kick, but three Ramos penalties helped Les Bleus into a 9-8 half-time lead.
Telea’s second try, from Richie Mo’unga’s floated pass, put New Zealand back in front but after Damian Penaud was denied a try by Mo’unga’s tackle, France seized the momentum.
Penaud took Matthieu Jalibert’s pass to score his 30th test try and after a yellow card for All Blacks wing Will Jordan, two more Ramos penalties and a late Melvyn Jaminet try kicked off a party in Paris.
"We were expecting really hard opposition and it was a massive game. I'm proud to be French tonight," Mastercard Player of the Match, Gregory Alldritt, said.
France's general manager Raphael Ibanez praised their team spirit: "In a World Cup game, especially on the opening day, [that's] what matters most. That was the case today against a beautiful and fabulous All Blacks team."
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"Playing France here in the opening game was pretty special but they were just a bit too good," New Zealand coach Ian Foster said. "I thought they squeezed us in that second half and we struggled to really get a lot of momentum. We’ve got to find another pathway now."
Ardie Savea captained New Zealand after Sam Cane's late withdrawal through injury. The number eight said: "It's tough when you lose your skip but I thought the boys that came in filled the job right.
"In that last 20 [minutes] our discipline let us down and we weren't clinical enough. We've got to regroup and keep going forward."
France head coach Fabien Galthie was happy with the way his team bounced back. "They scored very early, rather easily," he said. "Then we lost [hooker] Julien Marchand. We started the match in the worst possible way - but that’s all part of the game.
"At the end of the day, it's a heavy score in our favour."