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France make New Zealand work for victory

Tryscorers Kieran Read and Charles Piutau celebrate a try

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Article Published: Saturday 9 November 2013






New Zealand's All Blacks held on to their unbeaten status in 2013 but were made to work for their 19-26 victory against a resurgent France team in Paris.

The All Blacks have now stretched their winning streak over France to eight matches as the last time the French won was a 22-27 victory at Dunedin in 2009.

France launched a late comeback which saw them camped in the All Black 22 for the final few minutes as they launched attack after attack at the New Zealand tryline.

On one occasion the French went over the All Black tryline but were held up and the Kiwis managed to hang on for the victory.

Charles Piutau was the hero, scoring one try and setting up Kieran Read for a second while Brice Dulin went over for the hosts.

Dan Carter kicked 14 points for the All Blacks with Morgan Parra matching him for the hosts.

France were knocking on the door in the final minutes with a series of scrums five yards out but couldn't force their way over to potentially snatch a draw.

The rain abated before kick off but a sopping wet week meant conditions were far from ideal for free-flowing, attacking rugby.

Yet both sets of players handled the slippery ball confidently and produced some entertaining running rugby.

New Zealand almost got off to a dream start as Ma'a Nonu broke the gainline.

The ball was recycled to the right and wing Cory Jane looked to have touched down in the corner just as he was bundled into touch.

It went to the video review which showed he'd got the ball down before his foot touched out of bounds, but at the last second he'd dropped the ball and the try was disallowed.

France were a changed outfit from recent abject performances and showed great willingness to run at the All Blacks.

Fly-half Remi Tales made several half breaks and the jinking Wesley Fofana also managed to get beyond the gainline.

But several times they came up just short in their attempts to breach the tryline and had to settle for penalties.

Parra missed his first effort from halfway but knocked over the next three before missing another just before the break.

Carter also had three successful kicks before halftime, including one from almost halfway.

France looked the most likely to cross the tryline in the first half when Parra charged down a kick in New Zealand's 22. But after a couple of piercing breaks from Tales, they eventually had to settle for another penalty.

The two kickers continued to trade penalties at the start of the second half before New Zealand struck in clinical fashion.

The score came out of nothing as the ball was moved down the line to left wing Piutau, who kicked and chased.

He had the pace to beat Yoann Huget and then got a favourable bounce to take him past the covering Parra. Carter kicked the extras.

Aaron Cruden came on for Carter but missed with his first penalty attempt from wide right.

The All Blacks were well on top by now, camped inside the French half but their second try owed much to pure genius.

Piutau was the architect with an incredible pass out of the back of his hand while being tackled by two players to set Read free to scamper over in the left corner, with Cruden adding the extras.

That seemed to spark France into life, though, and they went straight up the other end, barged up to the New Zealand line with their forwards and then went left for full-back Dulin to dive over.

With 10 minutes to go the crowd could sense a comeback and France kicked a penalty to the corner rather than at goal.

Fofana and Sebastien Vahaamahina made good ground before Damien Chouly was held up over the line, and France's hopes were over.

Final Score France 19 (9) New Zealand 26 (9)

Scorers

France
Tries - B.Dulin
Pen - M.Parra 3
Con - M.Parra
Drop -

New Zealand
Tries - C.Piutau, K.Read
Pen - D.Carter 3
Con - D.Carter, A.Cruden
Drop -

Match Officials
Referee:
Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

Teams

France

Brice Dulin , Yoann Huget , Florian Fritz , Wesley Fofana , Maxime Medard , Remi Tales , Morgan Parra , Wenceslas Lauret , Damien Chouly , Thierry Dusautoir (C) Yoann Maestri , Pascal Pape , Nicolas Mas , Benjamain Kayser , Yannick Forestier

Replacements : Vincent Debaty , Dimitri Szarzewski , Rabah Slimani , Sebatien Vahaamahina , Antonie Claassen , Jean-Marc Doussain , Camille Lopez , Gael Fickou .

New Zealand

Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Ben Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Charles Piutau, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.

Replacements : Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Aaron Cruden, Ryan Crotty.

 
 
 
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