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Penaud inspires France to winning start at Rugby World Cup against All Blacks

  • Pool A: France 27-13 New Zealand
  • Ramos scores 17 points to hand All Blacks’ first-ever pool loss

Rugby World Cups are not won or lost on the tournament’s first night but the opening fixture can often set the tone. On a sweltering evening in Saint-Denis, this was a game played in the most electric of sporting atmospheres, an early clue as to what awaits in the knockout stages. If the crowds for the rest of this competition are half as enthusiastic as this, it is going to be a truly thunderous event.

And the game? France will be relieved to claim the initial spoils but, despite the scoreline, will know they can perform appreciably better. This is going to be the most competitive World Cup of them all and here was early confirmation. While France emerged triumphant through second-half tries from Damian Penaud and the replacement Melvyn Jaminet plus the prolific boot of Thomas Ramos, it took a long time for them to break down a spirited All Black side.

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