Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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ABs lose RWC opener against France

The New Zealand All Blacks kick started its Rugby World Cup campaign with a humbling 27-13 loss to hosts France at a sold out Stade de France crowd on Saturday.

New Zealand made a late change as Captain Same Cane was ruled out due to a back injury he suffered in the final training session on Friday which saw Tupou Vaa’i coming in from the bench with Dalton Papali’i moving from blindside flanker to the openside as No. 8 Ardie Savea took over as skipper.

The All Blacks needed just 93 seconds to get on the scoreboard when Mark Telea collected a Beauden Barrett kick in the corner to score and silence the French supporters but Richie Mo’unga’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

Two minutes later, Full-back Thomas Ramos cut the score to 5-3 with a penalty after Papali’i was pinned at a breakdown.

In the 18th minute, Ramos put his side into the lead for a short while as Mo’unga responded with one to give his All Blacks an 8-6 lead.

New Zealand-born French tight-head prop Uini Antonio had the advantage at scrum time and won a penalty which Ramos slotted to make it 9-8 at half-time.

The visitors again made a quick start in the second half as Telea claimed his second try in the opposite corner from an original Savea chip kick but Mo’unga failed to convert.

The Les Blues got their first try in the tournament from Damian Penaud as fly-half Matthieu Jalibert found him in the same corner and Ramos’ touch-line conversion made it 16-13.

Things got worse for New Zealand two phases after the restart as winger Will Jordan was sent to the sin-bin for taking Ramos out in the air, with the momentum swung massively to the home side’s advantage with Melvyn Jaminet scoring their second try and Ramos landed two more penalties to seal the win.

France will take on Uruguay at 7am next Friday while New Zealand will play Namibia at 7am next Saturday.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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