Hosts France won the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, beating fellow tournament favorites New Zealand 27-13 on Friday.
Damian Penaud’s second half try sparked a second half French scoring flurry in the hotly-contested clash in Paris, while Thomas Ramos added five penalties with his boot.
New Zealand winger Mark Telea scored twice, both times in the first few minutes of each half,
but it wasn’t enough as Melvyn Jaminet’s late try sealed the win and gave France the perfect beginning to its World Cup campaign.
“We were expecting really hard opposition and it was a massive game. I’m proud to be French tonight,” France’s Gregory Alldritt said afterwards.
“It’s a great night for us … We are not champions now. We need go step by step.”
France next plays Uruguay in Lille while New Zealand attempts to claim its first points of the tournament as it takes on Namibia in Toulouse.