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France hand All Blacks historic Rugby World Cup defeat

By Finn Morton
Damian Penaud of France celebrates as Referee Jaco Peyper (not pictured) awards a penalty during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Pool A match between France and New Zealand at Stade de France on September 08, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks coach Ian Foster labelled France as “one of the clear tournament favourites” ahead of the Rugby World Cup opener, and Les Bleus more than lived up to that moniker on Friday.


Playing in front of a vibrant crowd at Stade de France, France made the All Blacks pay for failing to turn pressure into points as they recorded a somewhat dominant 27-13 win.

It was the All Blacks’ first loss ever in a Rugby World Cup pool game.

After two years of talk, build-up and anticipation, the opening Test of the 2023 Rugby World Cup was finally here. You could both see and feel it around Paris, too.

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Whether it was near the Eiffel Tower or Louvre at the Paris fan zone, or even outside the stadium in Saint-Denis, there were supporters everywhere.

French, New Zealand, Argentine and Springbok fans flocked the streets of northern Paris. Four years of waiting was finally over and the world was in union once more.

Supporters filled the stands in their droves, well before kick-off too, as they continued to sing and chant their way closer and closer to kick-off.

Points Flow Chart

France win +14
Time in lead
Mins in lead
% Of Game In Lead
Possession Last 10 min
Points Last 10 min

The Rugby World Cup began with an outstanding opening ceremony, and the Test got underway soon after.


Both teams sang their nation anthems with pride, and then the usually vocal crowd fell silent for the All Blacks’ haka. There was no response from the French, but the challenge remained just as fierce.

Referee Jaco Pyper got the game underway at 9.18 pm on Friday, and Beauden Barrett was handed the honour of kicking off the tournament. The playmaker kicked the ball high into the Paris sky as fans watched on in awe.

The All Blacks shot out of the blocks with wing Mark Telea scoring the opening try after about 100 seconds.

Centre Rieko Ioane sliced through a hesitant French defence to put the All Blacks in a commanding position early. New Zealand spread the ball wide and the rest was history.


But France wasn’t going to be kept quiet for long – especially the crowd. Les Bleus hit back just a couple of minutes later via the boot of fullback Thomas Ramos.

Les Bleus trailed by two points after a rapid opening five minutes.

It was a back-and-forth game during the opening quarter with neither team challenging their opponents’ try line.

But then, as the enthralling duel in the middle third of the field carried into the 18th minute, Les Bleus were awarded a penalty. The home fans let out a deafening cheer as Ramos added another three to the score.

New Zealand unleashed another attacking onslaught on Les Bleus’ try line soon after, tough, and they came within metres of snatching the lead back.

Stand-in captain Ardie Savea came close, and so did Scott Barrett, but France’s defensive wall stood strong. The All Blacks were denied time and time again.

But after catching their opponents offside, playmaker Richie Mo’unga nailed his first penalty attempt of the Test from a relatively easy position.


The All Blacks were in control once again, but it didn’t last long. Ramos kicked another penalty, and missed one, as France snatched the lead back 9-8.

New Zealand failed to have the last laugh before the break as Codie Taylor threw a try-scoring opportunity into touch about a minute before the break.

With just one point separating the teams at the break, fans wanted more.

The second term started much like the first. Fans felt a sense of déjà vu as Mark Telea scored in the opening minutes of the half.

But it was all France for the rest of the Test really. Les Bleus camped within the All Blacks’ 22, and it paid off with wing Damian Penaud sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Penaud, who was denied moments earlier by a desperate Richie Mo’unga in defence, scored down the right edge – the successful conversion gave the home crowd favourites a 16-13 lead.

Will Jordan was sent to the sin bin a minute later, too, which only added to the All Blacks’ woes entering the final quarter of the Test.

Fullback Ramos added another two penalties, and replacement Melvyn Jaminet scored a late try as France ran away with a historic Rugby World Cup victory over the All Blacks.


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ruckaa 312 days ago

geeezus ritchie wtf kick the goddam goals im starting to believe you now when you said you love playing more for canterbury than new zealand . i think now i would rather have our second best first five damian because for all his faults he has a full measure of fearlessness and guts ritchie you are retreating into your safe zone like you did at the last world cup arron smith is giving you the pill on a plate your feet are as good as anyone in the bussiness use them you homo i think back when you took lima out in a sprint effectively making you the allblack 10 lima was very good when i see you play average i think they should have stayed with lima sharpen up mf

Bob Marler 312 days ago

I thought France were poor. Definitely not favorites after that performance imho. Defence was unstructured. Score line very flattering.

dave 313 days ago

Great job well done

Nigel_72 313 days ago

ABs should not be allowed to perform Haka prior to game, unless they have won their previous game.
Boks 'played' the ABs - when they rested Malcolm Marks, etc. to pick a not-full-strength team in the second test of NZ tour to SA last year.
That fake 35-23 victory at Ellis Park in 2022 - caused the gutless and brainless NZ rugby board to keep Foster. A man who should never have got the job in the first place, and who should have been fired after the series loss to Ireland.
NZ Rugby has a losing mentality - kick first approach...
Whatever happened to 'All Black magic'?
Why is everything so slow and predictable?
NZ forwards are too small. They try - but are not good-enough to compete against the Boks, England, France and Ireland. There is no pick-and-go from ABs anymore.
Why does the 'supposedly' "world's greatest halfback" (according to NZ media) never run around the ruck?
Our backs don't have a chance. And when they do get a chance, they kick it away.
France didn't even play very well.
NZ used to beat Ireland all the time - because Ireland lacked confidence and belief (kicking when they should have run the ball).
Now, Ireland don't kick - they run, and they win...

B.J. Spratt 313 days ago

Hey Finn. New Zealand Rugby Union just a clone of World Rugby.

OMWBBAD dominate both Organisations. Scott Robertson will take New Zealand in a new direction, hopefully with a new Board and CEO.

An "Independent review" was damning of NZRFU Board and CEO.

Your man Billy Beaumont is as bent as a three dollar note. Bernard Laporte Vice chairman imprisoned for Bribery and corruption Billy's Best mate.

Northern Hemishere have more votes, so they make the rules.

England has 131,3099 Senior Rugby Players, New Zealand has 27,000, Wales has 22,000, Scotland has 11,600 and Ireland has 25,000. So really England has more players than Wales, Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand and Australia 39,000.

I don't know if you are English. You sounded like a pom.

Kiwis see things as they are Finn, not like they are told like you.

Until we get rid of "Old Men With Bad Breath and Dandruff" completely out of the game, nothing will change.

E.G A player can commit 105 Offences in the Lineout. I think football has about 12 rules?

Until we change the rules of rugby, player numbers will keep dwindling.

Tackling rules : CTE is not part of a Physical Education Degree Finn.

Mid Chest must be the Upper Limit. Maybe the waist. we just have to work out techniques for the tackler as well.

It's estimated 90% of Rugby Players who have played Rugby for 10 Years will have CTE.

Razor represents "Change" Finn. Change that is needed if "Rugby is going to survive" Unless we address CTE Rugby won't survive the next 10 years.

There is a "simple" catalyst which will change rugby.

It's called "Insurance companies" Would you play Rugby if you had to play your own 'Medical Bills"?. . .What ever they maybe?

New Zealand has lost the same as most countries over the last 10 years.

25 % of our Registered Rugby Players.

Roy 313 days ago

Put the boot in all you like detractors. This was always a nothing game that should never have happened due to the far too early lopsided draw by World Rugby. Don’t write us off just yet. We will get our key players back and then move to our must win game plans and then we will see. Al least no red cards and no injuries from what I could see.

Brian 313 days ago

May the AB are playing to Fossie’s plan to throw this game and save some gas for the QF. only problem is this losing may start to affect their psyche. I can empathize with the ABs - for so long they have been the standard all teams looked up to. So a loss for them has more connotations than a loss for any other team.
As a Boks fan, I am now confident the Boks can take on either team in the QF, depending on how they fair against Ireland. Hopefully they’ll be able to continue polishing their handling against Scotland cause that game against Ireland will be the barometer if they’re contenders or pretenders.

Guy88 313 days ago

NZ better hang onto that paddle, they are going to need it to make their way home after they meet either SA or Ireland in the quarters !

james001155 313 days ago

Such a dissapointment from the all blacks, really great patient play from france who had a clear game plan that paid off for them. The kiwis started off so good and it really felt like that win against the springboks earlier in the year but then in the second half they just gave up and showed no game plan at all, story of their past 4 years really. At least there is some consistency from the game of Ian Foster upholding his reputation by demolishing yet another all blacks record for all the wrong reasons. Great game by France in the end and another showing from the all blacks that is becoming their stock standard.

Def Kiwi 313 days ago

At least nobody can blame Sam Cane.

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