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Hosts France Win Opening Game Of 2023 Rugby World Cup, Beating New Zealand 27-13

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The 2023 Rugby World Cup hosts, France, won the opening match by defeating fellow tournament favorites, New Zealand, 27-13, on Friday.

In the fiercely contested match in Paris, Damian Penaud’s try in the second half ignited a second-half French scoring spree, and Thomas Ramos added five penalties with his kicker.

Mark Telea, a winger for New Zealand, scored twice, once in each half’s opening minutes, but it wasn’t enough as Melvyn Jaminet’s late touchdown sealed the victory and gave France the ideal start to its World Cup campaign.

France will play Uruguay, and in Toulouse, New Zealand will play Namibia in an effort to earn its first points of the competition in Lille.

It was clear there was a Rugby World Cup in town in Paris from hours before kickoff. The opportunity to witness two of rugby’s elite teams square off was especially alluring for spectators inside the Stade de France, creating an electrifying atmosphere.

The All Blacks’ traditional Haka performance just before the game began only served to amp up the energy. The Stade de France erupted in cheers at its conclusion.

However, it was New Zealand who got the game underway in style after just 93 seconds, when Telea touched down and opened the scoring with a try after some attacking pressure led to Beuden Barrett’s magnificent cross-field kick being collected by Telea on the wing.

Ramos’s penalty brought the hosts back within striking distance. Midway through the first half, a second Ramos penalty gave France its first lead following some fierce back-and-forth between two of rugby’s top sides minutes later.

Prior to the players’ well-earned water break in the sweltering Paris heat, Richie Mo’unga’s penalty gave New Zealand a slim advantage once more.

Ramos scored his third penalty of the game, driving it in from the halfway line as France once more took the lead midway through the first half.

It was nearly a mirror image of the first half after the halfway break, with New Zealand scoring a try in a matter of minutes when Telea again touched down to finish off a sweeping move from one end of the field to the other.

In a brilliant display of rugby, though, Penaud was let free down the wing after a rapid break, and it appeared as though he would score. though, New Zealand’s flyhalf Mo’unga appeared out of nowhere to remove the ball with a try-saving intervention.

However, France did succeed in breaking through shortly after applying consistent pressure, with Penaud touching down as Les Bleus regained the lead.

Time was running down, and New Zealand was trailing on the scoreboard, so they tried to exert some pressure. However, it was too much, as Will Jordan was given a yellow card and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes after colliding with a French player in the air.

Ramos’ fourth close-range penalty of the game gave France the man advantage and increased their lead to six points.

Even though the team made an effort to find a way to get back into the game, Ramos’ fifth penalty of the contest ultimately sealed the outcome by bringing the score to two.

Following several fortunate bounces, Jaminet’s late attempt sent the home crowd into raptures as they were finally allowed to celebrate a significant victory and one that almost probably ensured it a favorable draw in the tournament’s following round.

In contrast, New Zealand will have to earn its fourth World Cup victory the hard way because, barring any unexpected results, the loss will likely cause it to finish second in Pool A behind France. As a result, it will face the winner of Pool B, which will either be South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, or Romania.

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