In a thrilling opening match of the Rugby World Cup, France overcame conceding early tries at the beginning of each half to secure a momentous victory over New Zealand with a final score of 27-13. This dramatic win marked the end of the All Blacks’ remarkable streak of 31 consecutive victories in the pool stage.
France’s prolific right winger, Damian Penaud, delivered a pivotal try 15 minutes into the second half, and from that point onward, France maintained their lead. Fullback Thomas Ramos capitalized on New Zealand’s mistakes, accumulating an impressive 17 points from six of eight successful kicks.
The game began with Mark Telea scoring a try for New Zealand just 93 seconds into the match, providing them with an ideal start at Stade de France. He repeated this feat three minutes into the second half. However, replacement fullback Melvyn Jaminet sealed a memorable night for France with a try in the final seconds, giving coach Fabien Galthie and the French team renewed hope of securing their first-ever World Cup title after suffering three previous losses in the finals.
At halftime, France held a somewhat flattering 9-8 lead. Penaud’s crucial try came in the 55th minute when he capitalized on a nimble pass from flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert, diving into the right corner, shortly after recovering from a near loss of possession as he reached for the tryline. Jalibert, who stepped in for the injured star Romain Ntamack, celebrated this moment with triumphant gestures.
Ramos extended France’s lead to 16-13 with a successful conversion as the game approached the one-hour mark, while the excitement in the stadium reached a fever pitch when right winger Will Jordan received a sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Ramos while he was in the air.
Both teams faced injury challenges throughout the match, with All Blacks captain Sam Cane withdrawing shortly before kickoff, and France’s hooker Julien Marchand leaving the field after just 12 minutes due to a thigh injury. Notably, the French team chose not to defy the traditional haka, standing in respectful silence.
Telea’s second try came after the All Blacks executed a successful lineout, with Ardie Savea’s chip collected by Jordan and a well-timed pass from center Rieko Ioane to Telea, who showcased his exceptional vision as he sprinted away to score.
Meanwhile, Ramos continued his impressive performance, slotting two more penalties to secure France’s lead. Jaminet’s late try sealed the deal, marking France’s second consecutive home victory over the All Blacks in Paris, following their 40-25 triumph two years ago.