Not everything was perfect, but that didn't matter. At the end of a difficult match, France XV succeeded in entering the World Cup by defeating the All Blacks (27-13) at the Stade de France. Although the first half went their way, the New Zealanders suffered a strong comeback from Fabien Galthiet's men in the final 40 minutes. Like striker Damien Benaud, the French rallied to inflict New Zealand's first ever defeat in a World Cup group stage.
The Stade de France saw it all on Saturday evening, as if the only major launch of the World Cup wasn't enough. The 80,000 spectators were initially frozen by the New Zealanders' thunderous start to the match and then it finally came to an end in their apotheosis. The main thing is that France got valuable points against the biggest fish in Group A.
“The first period is not far from being disastrous.”
Ramos keeps the Blues afloat
The first half could have turned into drama after the All Blacks opened the score early (the second). A move started by center Rico Ioane penetrating the blue curtain and completed by Mark Tilia. The owner of the brace (the second and the forty-third), the New Zealand winger was first and foremost a symbol of the team's attacking and fun nature. Because there was only one in the first semester.
In light of the difficulties, deprivation of the ball and suffering in defense (23 missed tackles in the first half), the French team remained afloat thanks to Thomas Ramos. The defense was almost perfect against the poles and allowed his teammates to take the lead at the break (9-8). It is enough to leave with a minimum of certainty before you completely change your face when leaving the dressing room.
It was as if the 10-minute break had reversed the roles, as the French national team approached the final 40 minutes with other ambitions. The French were more attacking and opportunistic, in turn breaking tackles and stifling the All Blacks. Benaud's effort (54th) was well served by Mathieu Jalibert with his style, the winger making this new dominance a reality. He could have scored two goals if he had controlled, after twenty minutes, a new pole that extended at his foot with his number 10.
Facing an All Blacks team under pressure and without a solution, the Blues continued to press. The yellow card received by winger Will Jordan for a foul on Thomas Ramos did not help. The Toulouse full-back went on to score penalties (17 points in total) before going off with the honours. His replacement Melvin Jaminet took over well with a great try (78th) with a pass to the feet of Maxime Loko. A way to end this encounter with celebration after an intense fight. Perfect for launching the World Cup at home.
Damien Pinault (France) vs. New Zealand, Friday, September 8, 2023./World Cup