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- France take the lead
- All Blacks stun with early try
- The view from inside the stadium
- Good morning and welcome
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France take the lead
19 min: France have taken the lead after winning a scrum penalty, and the superboot Tomas Ramos had no problems with the 35 metre penalty goal.
France 6 New Zealand 5
Softening up and heating up
The early points have given way to more of an arm-wrestle, and both sides firm up defences and try to figure each other out. There has been lots of mid-field kicking and a fair bit of nervousness, from both teams.
One thing to point out is the heat is stifling in Paris, still, and its 9.30pm. Dr Google tells us it is still 29 degrees, and the forwards are certainly showing.
Rieko Ioane breaks away from Damian Penaud.Credit: Getty
Let’s use this moment for a crazy stat: New Zealand have never lost a pool game at the Rugby World Cup. In 31 pool games since the inaugural tournament in 1987, they’ve won every pool game by an average of 58-11.
France have won 23 of their last 24 games on home soil – including the last 14 straight, which a record streak.
France respond with a three-pointer
4 min: France didn’t waste any time in responding with an easy penalty goal for Tomas Ramos. That will settle the nerves of the French team …. and most of the 80,000-plus crowd too.
New Zealand 5 France 3
All Blacks stun with early try
2 min: New Zealand have almost silenced the stadium after scoring a try through Mark Telea after just 90 seconds.
A superb linebreak form Rieko Ioane after the opening lineout saw the All Blacks go on attack straight away, and a lovely cross-kick from Beauden Barrett found Telea open on the left wing.
New Zealand’s Mark Telea scores the opening try.Credit: AP
New Zealand 5 France 0
An epic haka showdown
Dressed in their traditional black jerseys, New Zealand put down a spine-tingling version of the transition Ka Pango haka.
Unlike in 2011, when they walked forward towards the haka (and were later fined), France stood impassively on and stared down their rivals.
Now for the real action ….
Black and blue – the greatest Rugby World Cup rivalry
New Zealand and France has been described as the greatest rivalry in Rugby World Cup history and it’s hard to argue the toss with that call.
The All Blacks and Les Bleus have played seven times in World Cups – the joint most of any pair of teams, along with Australia and Wales. The Kiwis and the French have met in six playoff matches, and two finals: in 1987 and 2011. Both were at Eden Park in Auckland and both were won by New Zealand.
Early exit: The New Zealand players are dejected following defeat in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final against France.Credit: Laurence Griffiths
But France were New Zealand’s bogey team for a long period in between.
In the semi-finals in 1999, the French fell behind early but scored 31 unanswered points and overwhelmed the world no.1 New Zealand side in a major upset.
In 2007, the French did it again by pulling off a major upset in the quarter-finals. That win stretched the Kiwi’s World Cup drought to 20 years forced a major reckoning in New Zealand rugby.
New Zealand won their other clashes at World Cups in a 2015 quarter-final, a pool game in 2011 and a bronze medal game in 2003.
Fans at Stade de France.Credit: AP
France have lost 14 of their last 15 Tests against New Zealand but the solitary win came in their most recent clash, when France won 40-25 in 2021 in Paris.
Overall, France have won 13 of 62 Tests against the All Blacks. No other European side has beaten New Zealand more than eight times.
The view from inside the stadium
Morning to those up bright and early for this Rugby World Cup opener. Am sitting in the very back row at Stade de France as the teams warm-up. We’ve just witnessed a very cool opening ceremony of sorts. Dancers, an Eiffel tower, chefs, flags, you name it.
There is not a seat free in the stadium and you can barely hear yourself think. Standing a few rows down from me is the Stan Sport crew, with lead commentator Sean Maloney, who will bring you all the action back in Australia.
This is not Tom Decent. The French fans are great fun.Credit: AP
The big injury news from Paris is that All Blacks skipper Sam Cane is out of the opening match. He has hurt his back during New Zealand’s captain’s run yesterday. They did well to keep that quiet 24 hours out from kick-off against the red-hot hosts.
Dalton Papalii will wear the No.7 jersey, Tupou Vaa’i shifts to No.6. Ardie Savea will captain the All Blacks, while Brodie Retallick, a stalwart of this team, comes onto the bench. What luxury New Zealand have to bring a player of his calibre on.
Late change for New Zealand
Let’s get straight to the team news … and New Zealand have suffered a late blow with the withdrawal of captain Sam Cane with a back injury.
Dalton Papali’i has moved to openside side, Tupou Vaai’i has come into the side and Ardie Savea has become the new skipper.
So here are the teams, and the officials:
France: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Yoram Moefana, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Thibaud Flament, 4 Cameron Woki, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Reda Wardi.
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Taofifienua, 20 Paul Boudehent, 21 Maxime Lucu, 22 Arthur Vincent, 23 Melvyn Jaminet.
All Blacks: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea (c), 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tupou Vaai’i, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 David Havili, 23 Leicester Fainga’anuku.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
Good morning and welcome
Good morning, kia ora and bonjour … and welcome to the 2023 Rugby World Cup. My name is Iain Payten and I will be with you for the first epic clash of the tournament between hosts France and three-time champions New Zealand at Stade de France in Paris.
France is absolutely heaving with the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and the opening ceremony unfolded in great colour and ceremony earlier this morning at Stade de France.
A replica of the Eiffell Tower was erected in the middle of Stade de France.Credit: Getty
There is not a spare seat at the joint and it won’t surprise you to know the majority of the fans are decked out in Les Bleus.
Fans wait for the start of the World Cup opener between France and New Zealand at Stade de France.Credit: Getty Images
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