The 2023 Rugby World Cup got off to a thrilling start on Friday evening as hosts France and New Zealand played out a pulsating match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. The All Blacks got off to a fast start after Mark Telea scored a try in just the second minute, but thereafter it was a very tight and tense encounter with France ultimately having too much for their opponents.

Hosts France beat New Zealand 27-13 in an entertaining opening game of the Rugby World Cup in Paris, with the boot of Thomas Ramos playing a central role.

New Zealand started quickly and needed fewer than three minutes to score a try; Mark Telea touched down on the left wing after collecting a Beauden Barrett crossfield kick on the bounce.

France’s response was just as rapid, with Ramos kicking over a penalty they won almost direct from the restart, and two more Ramos penalties had France 9-8 ahead at the interval, despite losing the territory battle.

Telea touched down again shortly after the restart, collecting a brilliant, flat Reiko Ioane pass – again on the bounce – to round off a lethal All Blacks attack.

They did not lead for long, though, as Damian Penaud, who minutes earlier had fumbled with the try line beckoning, was masterfully set up by Matthieu Jalibert to score a smooth French try which sent the Stade de France wild.

A conversion and two more Ramos penalties – one while New Zealand’s Will Jordan was in the sin bin for taking out an aerial player, one after – grew the lead to two scores.

Replacement Melvyn Jaminet applied the final dagger with a 78th-minute try, gathering Maxime Lucu’s box kick before touching down.

The win leaves France top of Pool A and in pole position to win a group both sides are expected to qualify from.

Via –