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Five key moments as France beat New Zealand

Five key moments as France beat New Zealand


France ended their Autumn Nations Series in historic fashion in Paris, defeating the All Blacks for the first time since 2009, and the first time in the capital since 1973.

It was deemed by many to be the game of the Autumn Nations Series before a ball was kicked three weeks ago, with the two sides promising a sensational game of rugby, and both in excellent form.

New Zealand were defeated last week by Ireland and many expected them to come flying out of the blocks, but it was France who asserted themselves, Running out 40-25 winners over the All Blacks at the Stade de France.

It seemed that all the key moments went France’s way on the night, something which the All Blacks are used to having themselves, but for the second consecutive week, it was not to be.

So what were those key moments?

Mauvaka sets the tone early 

France came all guns blazing right from the first whistle and were on the front foot immediately.

That French intensity simply could not be stopped by the All Blacks, with phase after phase of early French pressure.

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After a Romain Ntamack break set up field position for a rolling maul, hooker Peato Mauvaka bundled his way over the line, to keep up his sensational try scoring form for France.

That try from the hooker set the tone from France very early on, with their intensity rarely dipping below what they started with in the build-up to that try.

Ntamack piles pressure on All Blacks 

Romain Ntamack’s try just ten minutes after Mauvaka’s piled the pressure onto the All Blacks and showed just how much France meant business.

Damian Penaud broke through in midfield and when the ball was recycled to Ntamack, he stepped off his right and scampered over with his dive over the line met with a loud Parisian roar from the Stade de France crowd, and put Les Bleus 14-6 up after the conversion, after the All Blacks had crept back to just a point behind with two Jordie Barrett penalties.

France’s ability to get over the try line early put the pressure on the All Blacks from virtually minute one, with All Blacks’ minds immediately cast back to a week ago in Dublin, when the Irish intensity caused them similar problems.

Romain Ntamack France

Ridiculous break and Savea yellow 

Ntamack’s try was not his highlight of the match though, that came midway through the second half when New Zealand had reduced the 24-6 half-time deficit to just 27-25, with three tries in 12 minutes.

A chip over the top forced Ntamack to scoop the ball up as he retreated into his in-goal area, but in France’s incredible new style, panic he did not, breaking away and almost starting what would have been one of the great tries in Test match rugby.

The break found full-back Melvyn Jaminet on the 22, before Jaminet found Antoine Dupont, who was stopped with a good tackle.

The pressure continued though from Les Bleus, and eventually with the ball deep in the All Blacks 22 and on the far side, referee Wayne Barnes penalised New Zealand No.8 Ardie Savea for handling in the ruck, sending him to the sin bin in the process. From potentially losing the lead, France were up a man and five points clear.

Penaud intercept extends lead 

New Zealand did not appear hugely phased by the yellow card, now finding themselves 30-25 down, they were just in the process of starting another counter-attack after Jonathan Danty had the ball ripped from him by Sam Cane

A great read from winger Damian Penaud though turned a potentially dangerous New Zealand attack into a French score, with Penaud picking off David Havili’s pass and diving under the sticks to extend the French lead to 37-25 with the conversion.

That Penaud try was essentially the nail in the coffin for the All Blacks, although with 12 minutes on the clock, New Zealand would have still believed.

Big scrum finishes game off for France 

New Zealand were still in a position to win with five minutes to go, before a scrum which the French pack will be very happy with indeed.

The All Blacks had a five-metre scrum on their own line but had no answer as France splintered their front row. That New Zealand got the ball out was incredible but the defensive pressure from France forced them back over their line to give Les Bleus a five-metre scrum instead. The All Blacks’ slim hopes ended in that huge shove.


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