The French team won the opening match of the Rugby World Cup at a sold-out Stade de France beating New Zealand 27-13 Friday as Thomas Ramos secured 17 to help the team bag victory.
Thomas Ramos was impressive with the boot as the hosts, leading contenders for the title, started the tournament in style.
Winger Mark Talea claimed two tries for three-time winners All Blacks, who had led 13-9 with more than half an hour to play in hot and humid conditions in Paris.
“We found it hard to get going especially with the pressure of an opening match at home and everything that followed,” France captain Antoine Dupont said.
“There was an All Black team who put us under a lot of pressure at rucks but we managed to be serious and rigorous throughout the match and we finished it well.”
After a colourful opening ceremony, the All Blacks’ Haka was well respected by the sold-out Stade de France crowd as well as by Les Bleus.
New Zealand made a late change as captain Same Cane was ruled out, 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, leaving Ian Foster’s side light at the breakdown.
But the All Blacks needed just 93 seconds to lay to bed any idea of a hangover from last month’s record defeat by South Africa as Telea collected a Beauden Barrett kick in the corner to score and silence the French supporters.
Ramos then cut the score to 5-3 with a penalty after Papali’i was pinned at a breakdown after five minutes.
After a frantic opening quarter, Ramos put his side into the lead with a second penalty before Mo’unga responded with one of his own to make it 8-6.
After 25 minutes, the players benefitted from the first of two water breaks with temperatures reaching 29 degrees Celsius (84.3 degrees Fahrenheit).
New Zealand-born France tight-head prop Uini Atonio had the advantage at scrum time and won a penalty that Ramos slotted to make it 9-8 at half-time, with the players seeming happy to have the break due to the sauna-like conditions.
Telea claimed his second of proceedings in the opposite corner, from an original Savea chip kick just three minutes into the second period.
Mo’unga missed another conversion as the home supporters voiced their displeasure at playmaker Mo’unga’s assist for Telea, claiming a forward pass, but New Zealand led 13-9.